History of Fortis Watches

Founded by Walter Vogt in Grenchen, Switzerland, in 1912, the Fortis watch company first began to make watchmaking history 12 years later when it set up production with John Harwood, inventor of the automatic wristwatch. The patented Harwood Automatic was released by Fortis in 1926, becoming the world’s first automatic watch in a series production. Maintaining a strong reputation for functional and reliable watches in the following years, Fortis also launched the world’s first waterproof watches in 1943.

By 1962, Fortis was beginning its relationship with the space industry, with seven members of a US space mission testing its Spacematic Automatic. Following strict endurance tests in 1994 that proved the capabilities of Fortis watches in the most extreme conditions, the Star City Training Center chose Fortis to become part of their Official Cosmonauts’ equipment. The Swiss brand has been the official watch supplier to the Russian Space program since 2004, and was the official supplier to the Mars 500 mission in 2010..

These ongoing and intensive collaborations with space travel experts resulted in another world first for Fortis: the creation of the world’s only chronograph automatic alarm. With expert knowledge and Fortis innovation, the company developed the very first patented watch complication to unite the three basic functions of time measurement: the display of hours minutes and seconds; precise time measurement facilitated by a chronograph; and specific time reminders provided by an alarm function.

Inspired by new technologies and the desire for innovation, Fortis continues to invest in new, modern developments to stay ahead in an ever-changing watch industry.