Fortis Watches Review – History and Innovation

Fortis Watches Review


fortis watches reviewIf you collect wristwatches and you’re not familiar with Fortis watches, you probably ought to be.  Fortis is one of the older Swiss manufacturers of wristwatches, as the company was founded in 1912.  The name comes from the Latin, meaning “strong, powerful, bold” and the company tries to create watches that justify the name.

The company has long been involved in industry innovation, and today they’re known for making watches that are loaded with features, have a rugged build, and are available at prices that fall into the middle range of high-quality Swiss manufacturers.

These timepieces are used today by the Russian Space Agency for their space missions.  Their Cosmonautis line pays homage to this.

Read on for the full Fortis watches review.

Build Quality
Styling and Features
Care and Maintenance
Where to Buy

Fortis Watches Build Quality

The build quality is certainly better than average.  They offer stainless steel cases and bracelets, though some models have leather straps or rubber straps (for their diving watches.)  The watch faces are protected by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

Water resistance is good, with many models offering up to 200 meters water resistance.


These watches use Swiss-made automatic mechanical movements, sourced from Valjoux, a highly reliable manufacturer of high-end watch movements that has been in business for more than a century.

Click here to shop for Fortis watches at Amazon (new window)


Fortis watches have long been at the forefront of wristwatch innovation.  Among the company’s achievements over the years are:

  • World’s first mass-produced automatic watch (1929)
  • One of the world’s first waterproof watches (1943)
  • World’s first waterproof watch with an alarm (1956)
  • First plastic watch – the Flipper – with water resistance to 200 meters (196os)
  • World’s first automatic alarm chronograph GMT (2012)

Fortis continues to work in bringing new innovation to their watches to this day.

fortis watches rolf sachs 2.4mlStyling and Features

The styling of Fortis watches is robust and technical; these are watches designed for space exploration, diving, and racing, so the cases are big (40mm is typical), there are lots of complications, and there’s little in the way of bling or models for women.

The four main Fortis watches lines are the Cosmanautis, Aviatis, Terrestis, and Aquatis.  These cover space exploration, aviation, diving, and, for the rest of us, watches for use on land.

The Terrestis line features the most “normal” watches in the lineup; these are watches that mostly feature either time-only, or watches with day or day/date complications.   These are timepieces that you’ll wear to work, though they do have one chronograph in that line.

The other three lines are where things get interesting, as they offer chronograph features, GMT models, date complications, day/date complications and exceptional water resistance.

Many of the Fortis watches models are limited editions, with some models being produced in quantities of under 100 pieces.  Some rather ordinary watches feature some interesting innovation; the Rolf Sachs 2.4ml model, for instance, appears to be an ordinary time-only watch.  But the face is glass and the markings on the face are etched using a proprietary technique.

You won’t find gold, diamonds or other gems or precious metals in the product line, but they do have a number of cases that are PVD-coated.

Care and Maintenance

As these are mechanical timepieces with elaborate and complicated mechanical movements, you will have to send them in for service at the recommended interval of every 3-4 years.  When you send the watch to them, they’ll disassemble it, check for worn or damaged parts, clean the movement, lubricate it, replace the watertight seals, and clean the exterior of the watch for you.

When you get it back, you should have a watch that runs and looks like new.

As with all watches, you should store your watch in a cool, dry place and keep them away from extremes of temperature and strong magnetic fields.  With proper care, your watch should run well for decades to come.

fortis watches cosmonautFortis Watches Warranty

The warranty is good, though not exceptional.  The company’s products are warranted against defects in materials and craftsmanship for two years from the date of purchase.  This is the industry standard warranty; we estimate that ninety percent of all watchmaking companies offer a two year warranty.

As these watches are well-tested at the factory prior to shipping, we suspect that defects are quite rare.  It’s possible that an extended warranty may be available from your retailer at the time of purchase.  If you’re interested in that, you can inquire about it before you buy.


The pricing falls into the medium to expensive range, as Swiss-made designer watches go.  Prices start at about $1000, though you can find some lower-end models available online at slightly lower prices.  On the upper end, prices can top $10,000 for certain limited edition models.

Most models are priced in the $1500-$4000 range, which makes them far less expensive than other Swiss brands, such as Rolex or Breguet.

Of course, you get what you pay for, and these watches are well-made and are likely to last your lifetime and beyond.

Where to Buy

You can find them for sale at brick and mortar stores and at various online retailers.  You can also find them for sale at the official Website.

Like all high-end watch manufacturers, Fortis likes to keep a tight rein on who sells their watches in order to keep the prices close to their recommended levels.  Some online retailers, however, offer them at lower prices and that may be your best opportunity to buy discount Fortis watches.

Fortis Watches Summary

If you’re looking for a Swiss-made watch from an established manufacturer and you don’t want to pay the money required to buy a watch from Patek Philippe or Rolex, this brand might be a good choice for you.

The company offers a history of quality and innovation, a variety of models designed for sport, including aerospace, aviation and diving, and they’re available at a price that, while not inexpensive, are prices that won’t require a second mortgage on your home.

If you want a nice looking, well-build Swiss watch, Fortis watches might be a good choice for you.

Click here to shop for Fortis watches at Amazon (new window)