Founded in 1912 in Grenchen, Switzerland, Fortis is a watch brand that offers outstanding time pieces for all occasions: sport, dress, aviation, maritime and space. …Wait, what? Yes, space. Fortis is a watch company with an accomplished history, from producing the world’s first automatic wristwatches to becoming the exclusive supplier of wristwatches to the Russian Federal Space Agency. Not to mention that much of their current and past collections are absolutely gorgeous and supremely well designed.
Founded by Walter Vogt in 1912, Fortis took a huge step forward as a watch company in 1926 by releasing the first automatic wristwatch designed by John Harwood. While Harwood set up partnerships with a number of Swiss watch manufacturers to implement his revolutionary watch movement, Fortis was the first. More importantly, this innovation set the wheels in motion for Fortis to become a leader in the watch world, and a company known for innovation and technical achievement. In 1956, Fortis released the first “highly accurate” waterproof alarm wristwatches. Most significantly, in 1994, Fortis became the exclusive supplier of wristwatches to the Russian Space program and as a result, in 1998 produced the the first Automatic Chronograph Alarm designed by Paul Gerber.
But Fortis is much more than history and reputation, incorporating superb design and craftsmanship into their timepieces. Take for example this MarineMaster, that so elegantly combines function and style. Here’s another version in red. The MarineMaster is powered by a swiss automatic movement, and features a date function, rotating internal bezel and decompression gauge (don’t ask me how that works). The bottom line is, function not only doesn’t inhibit fashion, it encourages it.
From their current line of watches, I really love the B-42 Marinemaster in white. It features a 26 jewel swiss automatic movement (with day/date function), housed in a 42mm brushed stainless steel case. Unfortunately, the Fortis site doesn’t allow for direct linking to their products, but here are some great pictures of the B-42 on a metal bracelet. It also looks great here on a blue silicone strap. I also really love the Black PVD Pilot Professional, again with a swiss automatic movement. This thing is just amazing.
For more great shots of some other beautigul fortis models, check out this “show us your Fortis” thread on watchuseek.