Article by Adrian Herscovici
Photography by Boris Pjanic
“Relentless growth” sums up the Baselworld Fair over the past several years and the 2015 edition was no exception. Some 150,000 attendees from over 100 countries made the trip to Basel, Switzerland for the watch and jewelry business’s single largest industry gathering of the year. Exhibitors worked at a frenetic pace throughout the eight-day event, showcasing their latest collections and novelties to the huge global audience. Joining them were more than 4,300 journalists – a new record – from over 70 countries, indicating mounting interest in watches worldwide.
Fortis Watches was among the many exhibitors in Basel, having made the annual trip from its Grenchen headquarters, armed with cases of new watches and classic collections. Guests of Fortis in Basel convened at the Hotel Dorint, adjacent to the main pavilion, in a spacious suite ideal for previewing and surveying the latest Fortis models.
|Fortis Display Case at Basel 2015|
|Click to Enlarge Image|
“Face the New” is the slogan of Fortis Watches today, a phrase that defines the brand’s position and declares that sometimes, the best way to return to your roots is to embrace new challenges – or Face the New. The current collections demonstrate this value and commitment.
The Fortis connection to space travel is well documented, as are its Cosmonaut watches, which have been standard equipment for the Russian Federal Space Agency since 1994. In fact, the agency’s emblem is engraved on the caseback of every Official Cosmonauts model. In Basel, the Official Cosmonauts Chronograph was among the classic Fortis watches on display, famous for its dial design and its movement, a Swiss made ETA 7750.
The newest model in the Cosmonautis Collection also appeared in Basel. The Monolith is a prototypical Fortis tool watch with a legible dial and rugged construction that includes a black PVD-coated stainless steel case and Swiss made ETA 2836-2 automatic movement. The Monolith is water resistant to 650 feet and offers a strap or bracelet for every occasion, including a leather performance strap, black PVD metal bracelet or rubber strap.
The Fortis Aviatis Collection is dedicated to aviation and pilot watches – another Fortis area of expertise – and there were plenty of examples on display in Basel. Notably, the 100th anniversary Daybreaker Recon and Daybreaker Stealth, two watches with an identical build other than the color of the dials: the Recon is white with blue accents while the Stealth is black with white accents. These extraordinary Flieger models feature the exclusive Fortis Calibre F-2012 movement, made up of more than 500 parts that run multiple complications including a chronograph, alarm, GMT and more. Every Daybreaker model is a certified chronometer and limited to 100 pieces worldwide.
Fortis guests also had a first look at the new Fortis Blue Horizon, a traditional day/date Flieger housed in a black PVD-coated stainless steel case with a metallic-brown sunray dial. Blue Horizon models represent a new look for Fortis pilot watches, combining high-tech materials with a nostalgic disposition. The Blue Horizon is powered by an ETA 7750 and features an exhibition caseback.
|Fortis Blue Horizon|
|Click to Enlarge Image|
Air and space aren’t the only realms for which Fortis designs robust watches for explorers and trendsetters. Watches in the Aquatis Collection are designed for aquatic adventure, especially its Marinemaster models, which first launched in the 1940s. Fortis continues to add different color combinations to the collection including yellow/black and red/black variants. Marinemaster watches offer water resistance to 650 feet and employ unidirectional rotating bezels with deep scalloped edges as well as large crowns for easy handling.
Marinemaster watches also come in chronograph versions, including a popular orange/black model. It has all the features of the non-chrono version but is augmented by triple sub-dials as a result of its chronograph movement. Marinemaster watches are ocean-ready with rubber straps or stainless steel bracelets.
Watches from the new Terrestis collection were among the most well received in Basel this year, as Fortis expands into the terrain of civilian life with retro-styled dress and casual-sport watches that complement its durable tool and adventure collections. For example, the 19Fortis is a three-handed dress watch with a date complication, replete with pleated texturing, a blued seconds hand and rose gold plated hands and markers. The current 19Fortis has two dial variations: the white “a.m.” dial or black “p.m.” version, and a solid 5N rose-gold case is also available.
The flagship of the new Fortis Terrestis Collection is the Fortis Tycoon. This elegant men’s timepiece combines state-of-the-art technology with a genuine reverence for the traditional Swiss craftsmanship that made the Fortis brand what it is today.
|Fortis Terrestis Tycoon at Basel 2015|
|Click to Enlarge Image|
Fortis Art Watches
In Basel, Fortis also introduced the newest Rolf Sachs model – 2π – the latest collaboration between Fortis and the renowned artist and designer. The colorful and original mathematical design on the dial of the 2π (2 Pi) was designed by Sachs and fits the oeuvre of previous Sachs models for Fortis. Although the design of the 2π is quite cerebral, the watch itself is pure Fortis with its thick luminous material with blue afterglow, a black PVD-coated stainless steel case and a Swiss made F-2014 movement. The 2π is a limited edition of 150 pieces.
Almost 90 years after Fortis introduced the world’s first automatic watch in Basel, the brand continues to make headlines every year with its creative array of watches for established Fortis enthusiasts and new collectors alike. Connected to tradition and committed to cutting-edge – that’s the Fortis identity – choose Fortis and “Face the New.”
To purchase a Fortis timepiece to learn more about the new collections, visit an authorized Fortis watch dealer.
Gevril Group US, Canada and Caribbean Fortis Watches Agent
*The Fortis Basel Dorint Hotel exhibit was not affiliated in any way with Baselworld 2015.