Fortis is one of the old watchmanufacturers based in Grenchen in the German speaking part of Switzerland. They are just a few miles away from Biel where many watchmanufacturers are located including Rolex and Omega.
When you visit the manufacture of Fortis, you walk up stairs lined with posters from past advertisements and watches on the walls. My favorite watch on these posters is this chronograph with black dial.
Grenchen is also home to Breitling. And the small airport gives you an immediate impression that it has to be home to Breitling as an aviators watch.
Fortis is a company with a very long history since 1912, an uninterrupted history.
Fortis made itself a name with the first automatic timepiece under the name of Harwood in the early 1920s. Later they made some wonderful chronographs and watches for aviation and for Russian space exploration (official watch of Russian Space Program (Roscosmos) since 1994). Beyond that, Fortis holds the record for the longest operation in weightless conditions. Fortis is also worldfamous for its watches used in Aviation.
Nowadays, Fortis is lead by Maximilian Spitzy, himself being an Austrian citizen and CEO of Fortis who is supported by a young and very spirited team. They took Fortis silently over in 2014. Since then they have organized and structured the company and created four major lines of watchpieces:
The names of the collections indicate the use of the watches.
Fortis introduced a webshop where anybody anywhere in the world can place their direct order and pay for their timepiece. I think that was a very smart move as the internet cannot be ignored any more.
Fortis is backing famous aerobatic pilot Castor Fantoba, and since Fortis is so famous for their timepieces used in aviation, this is a very natural step.
Fortis is becoming increasingly collectible again among vintage watchcollectors around the globe as the company is moving more and more into the forefront and eyesight of chronograph collectors and people who love some of the old chronograph designs with famous movements like the Valjoux 72 and 7750.
The below Cosmomautis chronograph is probably one of the most sold pieces of the Fortis collection. It can be had with silver dial or black dial.
Here it is with black dial:
On another note, I have a favorite Fortis which I would love to call my own some day, it is called the Fortis Andorra 659.27.92 M, this timepiece has the reference number 659.27.92, limited to 100 pieces, made of Titanium in a large 44m case, take a look below:
(I found the picture of the Andorra somewhere through Google, if you are the owner of the picture, please let me know and I will add the link of your ownership. I am using the picture to find this watch possibly for myself)
Everytime I saw one for sale, I was too late. This is a cool piece, a bit Warhol like.
Should you ever come across one, please do not hesitate to contact me.