From March to September 2014, anyone visiting the Museum of Cultural History in Grenchen, Switzerland, could have enjoyed an in-depth look at one century’s worth of Fortis. The exhibition was appropriately called “From Grenchen into Space.” And knowing Grenchen, that is quite a step.

The 102-year history of the Fortis brand has been marked by many memorable events. The biggest milestone dates to the 1920s, when the company began the first seial production of wristwatches with automatic winding. The word Fortis comes from the Latin term for “strong”. With its striking and sturdy watches, the brand itself has always enjoyed a reputation for reliability and consistency. But perhaps its greatest claim to fame comes from the clients it serves: These days, if you say “Fortis,” the first thing that springs to mind is aeronautics and space travel. For the past seventeen yeaers, Fortis has been collaborating with specialists from the European space agency to test how the company’s first generation of space chronographs would hold up in truly extreme conditions. This resulted in approval for use aboard the Russian space station Mir. Since then, Fortis chronographs have been become part of the official equipment of the Russian space program and, from there, on the International Space Station.

The competencies acquired from work in space continue to flow back into the company’s wristwatches. It’s hardly astonishing that many international squadrons wear Fortis watches. Aside from such high-performance, space-travelling timepieces, Fortis also regularly enjoys creating limited edition art and design timepieces in collaboration with artists.

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