Fortis Reveals New, Space Tested Automatic Chronograph Caliber Werk 17

Fortis has been busy with the development of new manufacturer movements with the help of Kenissi and most recently, La Joux-Perret who helped them with the production of the Werk 17 seen here. The latest caliber, a column wheel equipped automatic chronograph, went through testing in the earth’s stratosphere thanks to a new partnership with the Swedish Space Corporation in an effort to establish just how tough an environment these new movements can withstand. As of yet, it is unclear which watch or watches that will eventually house the Werk 17, but the brand has a bit of a reputation for their Cosmonaut collection, which feels right at home for a movement advertised as “space tested”. 

Check out the dramatic video of Fortis and the Swedish Space Corporation performing the testing apparatus to send the movements to the stratosphere, and record the sensitive data captured in the process.

The idea here is to gather as much data as possible about what these conditions will mean for the long term accuracy and reliability of the movement, not just the mere survival of exposure. To that end, each of the movements sent up with the balloon will be disassembled and any fail points re-evaluated prior to further testing, which will include a rocket into “open space” in the near future. 

This means that the movements which underperformed post testing will be of most value, as they’ll provide critical information about any potential weak points within. Think oils used, vibrations withstood, and pressures (or lack thereof) bested. The Werk 17 is a certified chronometer, so their goal is for the watches to maintain that standard even in the face of something like a trip to mars.

Just what considerations were given to the design of the movement in order to handle the conditions of space or unclear, other than a “custom designed traversing bridge offers ultimate, space-proof robustness.” That bridge looks very similar in shape to the one seen on the Porsche Design Werk 01.140 used in their new Chronograph 1. Near the end of the video, Fortis owner Jupp Philipp alludes to this being simply the first step, and with a rocket launch planned for next year, that leaves a lot for the imagination to ponder on. 

You can learn more about the new Werk 17 from Fortis right here, and keep on eye out for more information on actual watches utilizing the movements coming soon.


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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.