The name Fortis comes from the Latin for strong, powerful, lasting and solid. In 1912 Walter Vogt founded the company Vogt & Co. and planned to build a factory in Grenchen, Switzerland.
From day one the demand for (pocket)watches was high and in 1917 the factory had to be extended. This building in Grenchen is still the head office for FORTIS Watches Ltd today.
At the Basel Fair of 1926 FORTIS presented the world's first mass produced collection of wrist watches called Harwood, after the inventor of the movement. Surprisingly these watches were not bought by men, but by women. Due to the economic crisis of 1929 and the invention of the rotor, the international success of the Harwood watch came to an abrupt halt.
In the 1940s Fortis offered a complete range of wrist watches which included sports chronographs, elegant hand-winders and automatic watches. With the first water-resistant wristwatches named Fortissimo, the range was completed. The credo ‘best quality at affordable prices’ Walter Vogt revived the international success of the brand.
In 1967 Fortis scored the next best seller. They created a plastic diver called the Flipper. This watch was water-resistant up to 200 meters. The affordable and colourful designs were an instant hit in that era. The Flipper success lasted well into the 1980's.
In the 1980s, Fortis produced its first pilot watch. In 2004 they were awarded the European Aviation Watch Award. According to the jury, the watch had a classic and timeless design and contained the highest functionality. For a pilot a watch needs to be sober and functional and highly reliable. Fortis watches are still used by many different squadrons around the world.
The current focus of Fortis is less on mass production but on quality watches for those who can appreciate Swiss haute horlogerie. The current collection has 4 main areas with excelling watches; on land, in water, in the air.... and in outer space.
Every Fortis watch is hand-finished. The tests for accuracy, performance and water resistance are the only processes which are automated. Nothing can replace the skill and experienced hands of a watchmaker.
The Fortis watch brand has a lasting heritage of quality Swiss watches and continues in the words of Fortis’ founder Walter Vogt to “Perfect the Perfection”.