Fortis (Swiss watchmaker)

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Privately held company
IndustryLuxury Watches
FounderWalter Vogt
Key people
Owner and CEO - Jupp Philipp
ProductsWristwatches, accessories

FORTIS Watches AG (formerly FORTIS Uhren AG), located in Grenchen is a  luxury Swiss watches manufacturer that was founded by Walter Vogt in 1912. The brand is particularly known for its space watches which are worn by the Russian ROSCOSMOS. The owner and CEO of Fortis is Jupp Philipp.[1][2][3][4]


Fortis was founded by Walter Vogt in 1912. Twelve years after its establishment, Vogt set up production with John Harwood, inventor of the automatic wristwatch. In 1926, Fortis released the patented Harwood Automatic, the first self-winding wristwatch, at Baselworld. In 1937, Fortis commemorated the company's 25th anniversary by manufacturing and marketing its first chronographs, including the Rolls and the Autorist. The Autorist was also designed by John Harwood and used the movement of the strap to power the watch. By 1943,

Fortis introduced some of the world's first waterproof watches with the Fortissimo models.[5]

Official Cosmonauts Chronograph Automatic photo. Lemania 5100 movt.
Fortis B-42 Marinemaster, Official Cosmonauts 20 ATM , PVD Titanium coated , carbon fiber dial, Powered by Automatic ETA-2836-2

In 1962 the Spacematic automatic was constructed to hold up in extreme conditions and temperature changes. The watch was tested by the seven members of a US space mission.[6] In 1994 Fortis introduced strict endurance tests. This same year the Star City Training Center chose the Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph as part of its issued equipment. Fortis automatic wristwatches have proven their space capability inside and outside of the protection of the space station. Since 1994 Fortis has been the exclusive supplier of manned space missions authorized by the Russian Federal Space Agency.[7] In 1997 the same watch, the Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph, became the official watch of the German-Russian space mission MIR 97.[8]

During Fortis' 75th anniversary year, it introduced a new edition of the Flieger automatic collection.

In 2004, the Flieger Chronograph was awarded the inaugural trophy of the European Aviation Watch of the Year.[9]

Fortis has supplied unique watches to many military squadrons worldwide, including:[10]

  • Jagdgeschwader (Germany)
  • Swiss 11 Fighters (Switzerland)
  • Hellenic Tigers (Greece)
  • NATO Forces (Hungary)
  • Immelmann 51 (Germany)
  • Thunder Tiger Aerobatic Team (Taiwan)
  • Papa Squadron (Hungary)

In 1994, Fortis became the equipment supplier of the Juri-Gagarin-Kosmonautentrainingszentrums, which is a cosmonaut training centre in Russia. During a docking manoeuvre of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis in September 1994, the model "Official Cosmonauts Chronograph" was worn on the space station Mir by the cosmonauts during the mission Sojus TM-19.

In 1998, FORTIS launched the development of the world's automatic chronograph with mechanical alarm function, which was patented with the patent number EP 0806712. The construction of this watch was done by Zurich watch engineer Paul Gerber.[11]

In 2017, FORTIS experienced some financial difficulties. The company filed for definitive debt restructuring moratorium.[12] Soon afterwards, the company brand and location was taken over by a private investor and FORTIS fan, Mr. Jupp Philipp. This led to the renaming of FORTIS Uhren AG into FORTIS Watches AG.[13]


  • 1956: Swiss Chronometer Award (Manager Alarm)
  • 1988: iF product design award (Logo Swiss, Edition Blaupunkt)
  • 1988: iF product design award (Fever Collection)
  • 1994: GCTC Certificate (Space Certification) (Cosmonauts Chronograph)
  • 2001: Medal of Honour: Star of the Blue Planet
  • 2001: International Watch Award ('Official Cosmonauts Chronograph)
  • 2001: Watch of the Year 4th (Aviation Chronograph Alarm)
  • 2001: Goldene Unruh 2nd place (Watch Magazine & Focus Aviation Chronograph)
  • 2001: Watch of the Year 7th (B-42 Aviation Chronograph)
  • 2003: Goldene Unruh 3rd place (Watch Magazine & Focus B-42 Pilot Professional Chronograph Alarm)[14]
  • 2004: European Aviation Watch Award 1st & 2nd, Volez! (Aviation Chronograph & Aviation Chronograph Lady)
  • 2004: European Aviation Watch 2nd, Volez! (B-42 Official Cosmonauts Chronograph')
  • 2008: Best Brands 3rd, Flugrevue Aviation Watches
  • 2009: Good Design Award (Spaceleader Chronograph)
  • 2010: Focus Open Silver (Spaceleader Chronograph)
  • 2011: German Design Award Nominee (Spaceleader Chronograph)
  •  2012: red dot design award (B-47 Big Black)
  • 2013: German Design Award Nominee (B-47 Big Black)
  • 2013: Chrono Award - Premium Class (F-43 AVIATION Alarm GMT Certified Chronometer)


  • Watch dictionary big watch dictionary ; Author: Fritz von Osterhausen; Heel Verlag 2005 ISBN 978-3-89880-430-1


  1. ^ "Fortis mit neuem Gesicht und klarer Vision". (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  2. ^ WatchBuys Named Fortis North American Distributor May 16, 2016
  3. ^
  4. ^ Haworth-Maden, Clare (1998-06-01). Watches. Grange Books. ISBN 9781840131260.
  5. ^ Horological Journal. Brant Wright Associates Limited. 1969.
  6. ^ "A guide to astronaut watches". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  7. ^ Mawaqaa. "FORTIS". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  8. ^ "Fortis: 100 years in the making - WatchPro". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  9. ^ "European Aviation Watch of the Year". Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  10. ^ Strandberg, Keith W. "From Switzerland to space – Fortis's journey". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  11. ^ "Paul Gerber". Luxury Insider. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  12. ^ "Grenchner Uhrenfirma Fortis ist am Ende". Tages-Anzeiger, Tages-Anzeiger (in German). 2017-11-27. ISSN 1422-9994. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  13. ^ "Deutscher Geschäftsmann hat Uhrenmarke Fortis gekauft". az Grenchner Tagblatt (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  14. ^ "Fortis Watches - First Class Watches Blog". First Class Watches Blog. 2017-05-03. Retrieved 2018-11-09.

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