From Grenchen into Space – 100 Years of Fortis

by John Sealander  

On March 6, 2012, Grenchen, Switzerland’s Museum of Cultural History opens From Grenchen into Space – 100 Years of Fortis, a major exhibit for space enthusiasts and watch aficionados alike.

Fortis WatchesGrenchen, Switzerland’s Museum of Cultural HistoryFor over a century Grenchen, Switzerland has been home to one of the world’s great watchmakers. Not only has Fortis made Grenchen their home for the past 100 years; they have also made history here.

Beginning March 6, the prestigious Grenchen Museum of Cultural History pays tribute to Fortis and the influential role it has played in the race to space with a major new exhibit: From Grenchen into Space – 100 Years of Fortis.

This exhibit, which will run for six months, features rare artifacts and timepieces developed to support Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts during space missions. Fortis timepieces have accumulated more time under weightless conditions than any other brand. Fortis watches have been on astronaut’s wrists since 1994 and this space-proven brand is well on their way to achieving a record 100,000 orbits around the earth.

Fortis Public Relations Director Liese-Lotte Peter and Museum Director Angela Kummer spoke at opening ceremonies for this major exhibit, immediately prior to its public opening on March 6. Gevril owner and president Samuel Friedmann also attended the opening ceremonies and received a special preview of the exhibit. According to Friedmann, “This exhibit is a testament to the technical expertise of Fortis and its commitment to the space program.”

Photos of From Grenchen into Space Taken March 6, 2012

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Actual glove from a Russian space suit - Fortis watch shown for scale
Simulated EVA - Fortis watches have actually been worn on spacewalks
Actual glove from a Russian space suit – Fortis watch shown for scale Simulated EVA – Fortis watches have actually been worn on spacewalks

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Russian R-7 rocket - every Russian spaceflight has been launched by a rocket in the R-7 family
Space trivia: the original lave lamp was named the Astro in honor of the space program
Russian R-7 rocket – every Russian spaceflight has been launched by a rocket in the R-7 family Space trivia: the original lave lamp was named the “Astro” in honor of the space program

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F-43 Flieger Crono Alarm GMT C.O.S.C. - inspired by the Fortis space heritage
Four vintage Fortis watches that have flown into space
F-43 Flieger Crono Alarm GMT C.O.S.C. – inspired by the Fortis space heritage Four vintage Fortis watches that have flown into space

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Some of the many components used in the Fortis Chrono Alarm
Fortis Spacematic poster - the Spacematic was used by the American Gemini astronauts and featured in the 2009 science fiction film CARGO
Some of the many components used in the Fortis Chrono Alarm Fortis Spacematic poster – the Spacematic was used by the American Gemini astronauts and featured in the 2009 science fiction film CARGO

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Fortis Helmet at Grenchen Museum
Fortis Watch at Grenchen Museum
Fortis branded space helmet – Fortis has been an active participant in the space program since 1994 Signed certificate showing Fortis watch qualified for space flight

Gevril Group US and Canadian Agent for Fortis Watches

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the sole agent for Fortis Watches in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Meet us March 8-12, 2012 to view the Fortis exhibit at the Dorint Hotel Basel near the Basel Fairgrounds. Contact Miriam Tress, Fortis Brand Manager, by email or at 845-425-9882.

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