What happened to Fortis?
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    What happened to Fortis?

    I first stumbled upon the Fortis brand in the Sovietski Collection catalog (back when it was still around) long before I could afford such a watch. I sort of ignored watches for about the next 20 years, and now getting back into watches it seems to me that Fortis is a largely forgotten brand. I read that they dealt with a bankruptcy a few years ago, but I was wondering if anyone could give a little more background? I tried to find information on the Fortis website, but there was just not much.

    It might be a while before i buy my first nice watch, but I really love the look of the Fortis watches more than any other watch, and I am interested in learning more about the history of the brand as well. It seems like Fortis had some firsts in the watch world, but in spite of that they never developed the commercial success of many swiss brands at either end of the price spectrum. Was this just a marketing flop, or was there truly something important happening that nearly drove Fortis to extinction?

    Hopefully Fortis watches don’t suddenly rise in price as I am saving my money for one.

  2. #2
    lvt
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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    Fortis has some very nice watches, you still can find them on grey market.
    Ball - Casio (G-shock) - HMT - Longines - Parnis - Seagull - Steinhart - Tissot - Victorinox - Yema

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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    Interesting question on why they don't seem to receive more recognition. I have three B-42 watches; one is the Cosmonaut Chronograph which is my favorite.

    Some history can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortis_(Swiss_watchmaker)
    And if you can read German, more info about the buyout from a private investor here: https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtsch...story/30334649

    https://www.Watchbuys.com is the Official North American Distributor and a good bit of info, along with their current catalog can be found there.

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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    Fortis is one of my favorite brands and that is because of the history and quality of their watches. Fortis was the first brand that fittet a automatic movement in a wristwatch. They were also the first brand that produced a automatic watch with alarm complication. They have been official suppliers of the Russian space agency Roscosmos since 1994. They tested watches such as Tag Heuer and other brands, but the official cosmonauts model was the only one that met all the standards and requirements. I myself own a B-42 Official Cosmonauts and a Flieger, definetly one of the best watches that I have ever owned. It is a forgotten brand that should get more recognition. Fortis is still family owned today and independent. They will rise in price because their vision is to become a "luxury" brand so they have stepped up their prices this year, and are planning to put more effort on specific models and get rid of the old ones. You should definetly buy a Fortis, you will not regret.

    I hope this helps!
    Last edited by Filipj; 3 Weeks Ago at 16:32.

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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    was looking to pick one up on the used market.... not sure I should if they are in trouble ?

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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    I can see that Fortis will be launching a new collection in February next year, so they are definitely alive.

    If they release a new 39/40mm diver like the OG Official Cosmonaut - I'll be all over it to complement the great flieger I have.

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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    I have an OLD fortis dress watch from my grandfather... I know them more for a few similar vintage offerings than anything current.

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    Thanks for the input. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for the new model.

    I have been looking online, and it is astounding to me how many fakes there are labelled as fliegers. I think that there are far more fake than real fortis watches on ebay (or maybe franken watches), and that is not an exaggeration. Some are pretty obvious, but some are pretty good in my opinion. Thank goodness for the thread that shows the real vs fake distinction in fortis watches.

  10. #9
    PJR
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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    Fortis picked the wrong side in the Cold War. They focused on Eastern Bloc and when the wall fell and communism collapsed their market wasn't as robust and took a few years to recover.

    Because of their eastern focus Fortis did not have a well-established reputation or dealer networks in the west particularly in North America. They also introduced the quite silly Sachs-designed novelty watches which were at complete odds with their primary tool watch line up and the management dunderheads also came out with the egregious Colours lineup of cheap quartz watches.

    The company went into the Swiss version of bankruptcy protection, installed new management, shifted more to on-line sales, revamped the model line up and acquired a North American distributor/retailer with a good reputation although the service situation in Canada if you own a Fortis remains crap.
    Burgs likes this.

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    Re: What happened to Fortis?

    Watchbuys.com is a U.S. dealer. They're still very much alive.

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