It was a sad day in 2017 when Fortis announced that they were filing for bankruptcy protection. As of 09/01/18, there may be some hope on the horizon for fans of the innovative brand as they announced that they are now under new ownership and a new CEO has been named.
Jupp Philipp (pictured above) is an entrepreneur and extremely passionate past customer of Fortis has taken over the ownership role.
Every customer is entitled to value preservation and it is our duty to ensure this…This guiding principle describes succinctly almost philosophically the cornerstones of the future focus and shall forever constitute the creed for all strategic and operational decisions. — Jupp Philipp — Owner, Fortis Watches
One of the first acts, if not the very first, of Mr. Philipp was to bring on Lorenz Aebischer (pictured above) as CEO to handle the day to day operations and, essentially, “rebuild” the Fortis brand. Mr. Aebischer brings a great deal of watch industry expertise to the table. He served as the CEO of Auguste Reymond (2012 – 2018) as well as in various brand management and marketing positions at brands such as Tissot and Mido (1996 – 2011).
Of course, it should be clear to everyone that such a process will take its time. Nevertheless we will immediately get together on September 1 and start to work on the individual topics over the coming months as a team. It will take some time to create the foundations, organise the FORTIS network and make everyone believe in the guiding principle. — Lorenz Aebischer — CEO, Fortis Watches
The Fortis watch brand was originally founded in 1912 by Walter Vogt. 12 years after this founding, production was established with John Harwood, the inventor of the automatic wristwatch. In 1926, Fortis produced and released the Harwood Automatic. This was the first ever self-winding (or automatic) watch to be presented at the Baselworld show in Switzerland.
In the following video, vintage and eary self-winding automatic watches/movements are quickly discussed and the Harwood gets good mention. This is especially of interest for those that favor vintage watches and/or movements.
Among many other accomplishments and accolades across the years, Fortis is one of the very few watch brands to be able to survive the rigors of being used and worn in outer space. Holding that honor is the Fortis B-42 Official Cosmonauts Chronograph on the International Space Station.
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