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.

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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.

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