Fortis Swiss Watches First 100 Years 1912-2012

The first Fortis factory began commercial watch production in 1912 opposite the Grenchen train station in Switzerland.

During their first 100 years, Fortis hasn’t just gone faster, further and deeper than other watch companies; they’ve re-defined horology.

Fortis WatchesStarting in March 2012, Fortis will celebrate their 100 Year Jubilee. There is certainly plenty to celebrate. The history of Fortis is a history rich with innovations and accomplishments. As far back as 1926, this 100-year-old company was surprising the world with technical achievements that both amazed watch aficionados and delighted customers.

Fortis Develops First Automatic Watch

Fortis was the first in the world to develop a practical self-winding automatic watch movement. The revolutionary Harwood Automatic became such a classic that Fortis has reissued it twice over the years.

John Harwood Inventor
of the Automatic Watch
Lady Hay Wears Hammond Automatic Watch on
Count Zeppelin 1929 Around the World Journey
Lady Drummond Hay
Glancing at the Time
John Harwood Inventor of the Automatic Watch Lady Hay Wears Hammond Automatic Watch on Count Zeppelin 1929 Around the World Journey

Lady Drummond Hay Glancing at the Time

Harwood Prototype
Front View
Harwood Prototype
Back View
Harwood Prototypes on
Blueprint Background
Harwood Prototype - Front View

Harwood Prototype - Back View Harwood Prototypes on Blueprint Background

Fortis Invents Automatic Chronograph Alarm Watch

As the company grew, more innovations followed. Fortis brought the first waterproof Swiss watches to the world with their popular Fortissimo models. Fortis began manufacturing their first chronographs in 1937 and it wasn’t long before they mastered these complex mechanisms. In 1997, 60 years after their first chronograph, Fortis patented the world`s first automatic chronograph alarm watch. This beautifully complex mechanical alarm watch is still highly prized by collectors today.

Fortis Fortissimo Automatic Bumper Watch Fortis Impression Alarm Chronograph Watch
Fortis Fortissimo Automatic Bumper Watch Fortis Impression Alarm Chronograph Watch

Fortis Blasts Off into Space

As Fortis solidified its reputation as a technical leader, people began to notice. A Fortis timepiece became an essential piece of equipment for discriminating pilots and aviators. When these aviators became astronauts and ventured into the new frontier of space, Fortis came along for the ride. Some of the original Mercury astronauts chose to wear the Fortis Spacematic watch.

Original Mercury Astronauts
Fortis Mercury Astronauts

During the Russian-German space mission to the MIR space station in 1997, the Fortis Cosmonaut Chronograph was the mission’s official timepiece. To this day, all cosmonauts and astronauts leaving the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia receive a Fortis watch as part of their official space equipment. Fortis also still has the distinction of being the first watch worn in open space, after a Fortis watch was worn outside the spacecraft on an early Russian spacewalk.

Fortis Watches in Space


Fortis has already let it be known that it would enjoy being the first watch on Mars, with the release of their spectacular Mars 500 commemorative edition.

Fortis Mars 500

Fortis Flipper World’s First Fashion Watch

At the same time that the space race was changing the world of technology, pop culture was changing society itself. Fortis was at the forefront of this cultural shift with it’s innovative new Flipper watch. Fortis Flipper Black Dial WatchWhile other Swiss watch companies were going out of business with the advent of new inexpensive quartz technology, Fortis embraced the quartz watch and created one of its most popular models ever.

The innovative Flipper was an instant hit with its colorful plastic case and interchangeable bezels. The watch became a cult classic when celebrities like The Rolling Stones, Roman Polanski, and the late Leonard Bernstein began wearing it.

Some say the watch was even instrumental in the election of the late former American president Ronald Regan. The popular Flipper was the world’s first fashion watch and became a top seller in over 40 countries.

I Like Flipper Campaign Fortis Ronald Regan Flipper Watch
I Like Flipper Fortis Ronald Regan Flipper Watch
Colorful Assortment of Fortis Flipper Watches
Large Assortment of Colorful Fortis Flipper Watches

Preeminent Fortis Pilot Watch Collections

Even though the company was producing one of the world’s most popular quartz watches, Fortis was not content to rest on its laurels. On the company’s 75th anniversary, Fortis began an ambitious program to re-launch the mechanical watches that had established the company’s reputation.

Not only was the historic Harwood automatic successfully reintroduced, so were many of the legendary pilot’s watches that had made the company a favorite with aviators worldwide. The result was a whole new generation of pilots who began wearing a Fortis watch on their wrist. The Fortis success in reintroducing the mechanical wristwatch did not go unnoticed in the industry. Many say that this Fortis initiative, which began in 1987, marked the beginning of the current renaissance of mechanical watches.

Fortis Mens 638.10.11.M B-42
Official Cosmonaut
Black Dial Chronograph Watch
Fortis Mens 635.10.11.L.08 B-42
Pilot Professional
Black Dial Chronograph Watch
Fortis Mens 635.10.12.L.01 B-42
Flieger Automatic
White Dial Chronograph Watch
Fortis Mens 638.10.11.M B-42 Official Cosmonaut Black Dial Chronograph Watch Fortis Mens 635.10.11.L.08 B-42 Pilot Professional Black Dial Chronograph Watch

Fortis Mens 635.10.12.L.01 B-42 Flieger Automatic White Dial Chronograph Watch

Fortis Limited Art Editions

100 years after it was founded in Grenchen, Switzerland, Fortis continues to set the pace for other watch companies to follow. There are Fortis watches on board the International Space Station. Fortis watches were part of a real time Russian simulation of a flight to Mars to see if man can withstand the rigors of extended space travel. Even internationally renounced artists like Michael Mattern, Andora, Rolf Sachs and Frank Burmann have gotten on the Fortis bandwagon, creating spectacular limited “art editions” for the company.

Where is Fortis going next? It’s impossible to say. One thing is certain though. The next 100 years will be even more exciting than the first. Fortis will continue to follow man into space. They will continue to lead the world in technical innovation. There are even rumors that the popular Flipper will be returning soon.

Gevril Group US, Canada and Caribbean Fortis Watches Agent

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the sole US, Canada and Caribbean agent for Fortis Watches and the official Fortis watch repair service center. Contact us by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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Orange is the New Black


by John Sealander  

Now that everyone from Michael Kors to Donna Karan has declared opulent orange to be the hot new fashion color for 2012, don’t you wonder where they got the idea?

Orange is the New BlackOrange is in this year! Top fashion designers including Michael Kors, Cynthia Rowley, Max Azaria and Donna Karan have all made this hot new color a big part of their Spring 2012 ready to wear collections. Pantone, the color authority for designers around the world, has even declared that Tangerine Tango is the 2012 color of the year.

Where do you think all these designers discovered the opulence of orange? They might have just looked at their wrist. Many of the world’s most popular wristwatches were incorporating this color in their designs long before the fashionista’s discovered it.

Maybe these designers noticed the sporty looking orange Haurex Caimano. This spectacular Italian design features a two-tone orange color scheme with a dark orange dial and lighter orange plastceramic case and strap. This distinctive 45mm diver style is powered by a quality quartz movement and is water resistant to 100 meters.

It is just as likely that they might have seen something in the innovative new Haurex Ink collection. These beautiful watches feature colorful anodized aluminum cases in a wide variety of colors, including a spectacular women’s Ink model in bright orange.

High visibility orange has always been a popular color for diver’s watches. Just look at the new Swiss Calibre Marine Orange Rubber Date Watch. With a bright orange rotating bezel and matching silicon strap, this watch is hard to ignore.

The Swiss Calibre Immersion Orange Dial offers another view of how watchmakers utilize this popular color. This handsome watch utilizes a bright orange dial with contrasting bar-shaped indices to provide maximum visibility under any conditions.


More Orange Watches

3H Italia
Ref. 441AN
Haemmer
Ref. HC-07
Johan Eric
Ref. JE5001-04-001.79
3H Italia  441AN Haemmer Mens HC-07 Invader Orange Accents Oversize Black Dial Chronograph Watch Johan Eric JE5001-04-001.79

 

Fortis
Ref. 647.11.42.SL.20
Viceroy
Ref. 432099-45
Paris Hilton
Ref. 138.4320.99
Fortis 647.11.42.SL.20 Viceroy Ref. 432099-45 Paris Hilton Ref. 138.4320.99

 

We can’t tell you exactly how long you’ll be seeing orange on the world’s fashion runways. Like Heidi Klum always says “one day you’re in, and one day you’re out.” We can tell you where to find next year’s hot color however. Just look at your wrist. Maybe it’s yellow, or purple, or green. These days, it’s almost certain that you can find your favorite watch in any color under the rainbow.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog.

Edox Miss Geico Enjoys Highly Successful 2011 Racing Season


by Ivo Jackson

Miss Geico Triple Crown LizardHeralded as one of the fastest powerboats in the world, Miss GEICO Racing dominated the 2011 US offshore powerboat racing season with eight first place victories. The world-renowned 50-foot neon green catamaran is probably the most recognized powerboat in racing today, with a superior team at the helm pushing Miss GEICO, and American offshore powerboat racing, to a new level.

Marc Granet - Scott BegovichOne of the winningest teams in offshore powerboat racing, the Miss GEICO racing team — founded by Yellow Pages heir John Haggin — and piloted by driver Marc Granet and throttleman Scott Begovich, is committed to excellence, and this commitment translates into superior performance in every race. This winning strategy has won myriads of fans to the electrifying Miss GEICO powerboat and racing team.

This year, the Miss GEICO racing team won almost every race in which they competed, with eight total wins including the Super Boat International (SBI) World Championship and the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) World Championship races. The Miss GEICO powerboat racing team are five-time SBI world champions and seven-time OPA world champions. The 2011 racing season didn’t disappoint, with wins throughout and a stellar finish.

The Miss GEICO 2011 Racing Win Record

May 20-22 – SBI Cocoa Beach, Florida – First Place
June 17-19 – OPA Sunny Isles, Florida – First Place
July 1-3 – SBI Sarasota, Florida – First Place
July 29-31 – OPA Saint Clair, Michigan – First Place
September 23-25 – OPA Solomon’s Island, Maryland – First Place
September 30-October 2 – SBI Clearwater, Florida – First Place
October 6-9 – Orange Beach, Alaska (OPA Worlds) – First Place
November 7-13 SBI (SBI Worlds) Key West, Florida – First Place

Edox Miss Geico Racing Limited Edition Chronograph

Edox Swiss WatchesAlso known for precision and superior performance, Edox is the official watch of the Miss GEICO racing team. Made with the finest materials and the most advanced Swiss engineering, Edox high-performance water resistant sports timepieces are popular with both competitors and their fans, and for good reason. The exemplary style and function of Edox watches surpasses all competition, as does the Miss GEICO offshore powerboat and racing team.

Miss Geico No. 113 Edox Miss Geico
Miss Geico 113 Edox Miss Geico

Now, Edox has introduced the Edox Miss Geico Racing Chronograph, limited to only 113 pieces worldwide, with the ambition of capturing the spirit of the Miss Geico offshore powerboat in every respect, from precision to performance.

Edox Mens 10304 37NJ NJ Miss Geico Racing Limited Edition Chronograph Watch


About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog.

Fortis Extends Private Label Watch Business to North America

by Bill Shuster

Fortis WatchesFortis, one of the world’s leading fine watch brands, is expanding its successful private label business to companies, retailers, schools, teams, clubs, and other groups in the US and Canadian markets and is attracting them with very competitive pricing.

The respected Swiss brand, which marks its centennial in 2012, made the world’s first automatic watch and is known for technically-precise pilots watches and chronographs. Fortis watches are the official timepieces on the International Space Station, both for Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts; the authorized watches of the Hungarian Air Force; used by professional pilots, and airman in US flying squadrons. Those squadrons, until recently, were the primary American customers of Fortis’ long-established private label business, which represents 25% of its total production, making watches for clients worldwide.

Porsche Private Label Watches Ducati Private Label Watches
Porsche Private Label Watches Ducati Private Label Watches

 

Now, Fortis is opening up its Private Label Program to any US or Canadian business or group wanting fine Swiss timepieces for members, staff, or clients at costs far below their respective retail prices.

“Not only does a client get a top-level watch with a 100-year rock-solid reputation,” said Miriam Tress, Fortis Brand Manager at Gevril Group, “but buying in bulk gets a great price. We reduce prices substantially for our private label customers. Of course, the final cost will depend upon quantity required, colors used and any add-ons, such as engraving the watch back (e.g., “2012 top sales division,” “National Pennant winners, 2012″).

Fortis offers private label clients a wide selection of mechanical timepieces, as well as watches from its lower-retail Fortis Colors quartz line, and only 25 watches are needed for a minimum order. Delivery can take from two weeks to six months, depending on the number of watches ordered and the extent of customization requested.

Select Private Label Watch Models

Fortis Mens 595.22.41.L.01
Pilot Professional
Black Dial Watch
Fortis Mens 645.10.11.L.01
B-42 Pilot Professional
Black Dial Watch
Fortis Mens 645.10.12.L.08
B-42 Flieger Automatic
White Dial Watch
Fortis Mens 595.22.41.L.01 Pilot Professional Black Dial Watch Fortis Mens 645.10.11.L.01 B-42 Pilot Professional Black Dial Watch Fortis Mens 645.10.12.L.08 B-42 Flieger Automatic White Dial Watch

Fortis Mens 597.22.11.L Pilot Professional Black Dial Chronograph Fortis Mens 635.10.11.L.08
B-42 Pilot Professional
Black Dial Chronograph
Fortis Mens 635.10.12.L.01
B-42 Flieger Automatic
White Dial Chronograph
Fortis Mens 597.22.11.L Pilot Professional Black Dial Chronograph Watch Fortis Mens 635.10.11.L.08 B-42 Pilot Professional Black Dial Chronograph Watch Fortis Mens 635.10.12.L.01 B-42 Flieger Automatic White Dial Chronograph Watch

Gevril Group US, Canada and Caribbean Fortis Watches Agent

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the sole US, Canada and Caribbean agent for Fortis Watches and the official Fortis watch repair service center. Contact us by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog.

Valentino Designs Couture T-Shirt To Benefit the Stiller Foundation


by Ivo Jackson  

What happens if you cross a comedian with a fashion designer?
You get couture for a cause!


ValentinoThis year, Italian fashion house Valentino, global fashion leader for almost half a century, and Ben Stiller, star of Meet The Fockers, Night At the Museum, Zoolander, and other famous comedy films, joined forces to raise money for disadvantaged children around the world.

Elisabetta Ferracini Maria Grazia Cucinotta Nathalie Rapti Gomez
Elisabetta Ferracini Maria Grazia Cucinotta

Nathalie Rapti Gomez

Making its debut September 8, 2011, the Valentino “T-Shirt Couture for the Stiller Foundation” signature t-shirt is a beautiful way to support programs designed to help all children reach their fullest potential. The Valentino Stiller Foundation t-shirt is a delicately designed piece made from nude stretch jersey with lace detail. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, creative directors for Valentino, designed the shirt with versions for both girls and women.

Valentino Stiller Foundation Ladies T-Shirt Valentino Stiller Foundation Girls T-Shirt
Valentino Stiller Foundation Ladies T-Shirt Valentino Stiller Foundation Girls T-Shirt

Half of all proceeds from the sale of the couture tee will go towards The Stiller Foundation’s programs to improve the lives of children around the world. The shirt can be purchased at Valentino boutiques around the world or online at shop.valentino.com. The shirt is part of the Autumn-Winter 2011-2012 Collection.

Ben StillerThe Stiller Foundation, founded in 2010 by American comedic actor Ben Stiller, says that their primary objective is “to promote the education and well-being of children worldwide through initiatives that focus on education.” Ben Stiller is the son of American comedians and actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.

Since its inception, the Stiller Foundation has focused primarily on providing educational opportunities for children in Haiti through the construction of schools through the Haitian School Initiative, an effort to aid children affected by the earthquake of January 2010.

Valentino has actively supported charities and causes through benefit events throughout the brand’s history. This unique fundraiser is in line with the “modern evolution,” orchestrated by Chiuri and Piccioli since they took over as designers for Valentino in 2009, subsequent to the retirement of founder Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani.

Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri
Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri

The Roman duo are also the creators of Valentino Timeless, a new line of luxury timepieces styled to appeal to the high standards and tastes of fashionistas and watch enthusiasts alike.

If you like Valentino timepieces, you might like Versace watches, as well.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, directed by company founder and long-time creative force in the watch business Samuel Friedmann, is the exclusive US representative for 40+ select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sporty timepieces at a wide range of price points. Additionally, Group Gevril operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Comments are welcome.

I Was Converted to a Watch Collector by Tim Temple and ShopHQ

by Michael Seitz

Tim TempleLate one night about ten years ago, I accidentally stumbled upon a fascinating television program about watches, hosted by Tim Temple on ShopHQ. This shopping program was different from all I had ever before watched on other shopping channels. In particular, this program not only carried out its mission of selling watches to the consumer, it also inculcated viewers with a basic knowledge of horology.

I found myself taking off the watch I was wearing and looking to see if it was constructed out of surgical grade stainless steel, if it had a screw down caseback, or if it was a pop off… And were the markers on the dial hand-applied and raised or simply decals? I purchased two new timepieces for myself and one for my wife, that very night. That ShopHQ show was the first of many Tim Temple shows I came to watch.

Since 1994, Tim has had what he refers to as “several tours of duty” at ShopHQ. Tim enjoys presenting watches, in particular those for which he has a genuine passion. As ShopHQ resident watch expert, he has been instrumental in introducing quite a few of the over 70 watch brands that the shopping channel carries.

While at another network, Tim Temple and Gevril Group’s Samuel Friedmann introduced first generation Gevril automatic timepieces and GV2 watches to television watching consumers.

Following the successful launch of the Haurex watch brand on ShopHQ in September, Tim lets fellow ShopHQ host Daniel Green take the reins of a another Gevril Group watch brand debut with the highly anticipated premier of the über cool POLICE line this Thursday, December 1, at 11pm EST (10pm CST). I’m all set to purchase the POLICE Raptor for my personal collection during the POLICE watch event.

Police Mens PL.13092JS/04 Raptor Collection Chronograph Watch


For a decade, I have had the tremendous pleasure of being able to converse with Tim Temple and to deepen my understanding for and love of horology. Tim has taught me to admire the beauty of an automatic watch movement and all the labor that goes into in, while still appreciating the accuracy and precision of a fine quartz movement. Thanks to Tim and the rest of the stellar watch team at ShopHQ, I have a fantastic watch collection, a passion for horology and now, a budding career in the watch industry.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, directed by company founder and long-time creative force in the watch business, Samuel Friedmann, is the exclusive US agent for well over 30 select European watch brands — distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sporty timepieces at a wide range of price points.

Additionally, Gevril Group maintains a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact us by email or at 845-425-9882.