Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Grand Day Out - Visiting Fortis

So some background -
Way back, before the turn of the century, I was an English teacher.  Starting in Japan, my wife Wendy and I traveled to Portugal, Finland, Scotland and finally closed the circle returning to North America.  And it was while living and working in Finland that I discovered Fortis.  It was in an underground shopping center, the type that Helsinki is (at least to me) famous for.  There, in the display window, was a really cool looking chronograph complete with a zip-wallet type case, screw-driver and spare straps.  I made my way inside, and the shop keeper told me all about Fortis watches and their connection to the Russian space program.  Actual Cosmonauts!

So it was with no small dose of enthusiasm that I hopped on the train the Tuesday before last in Biel/Bienne, headed for Grenchen.  For those unfamiliar, Grenchen is the home of Fortis, Eterna, and some other brand that begins with a B.  

The HQ for Fortis is conveniently located just across the street from the train station (North, I believe) in Grenchen.  And it is an impressive building, both inside and out.

In a day and age where so many "Swiss" brands operate from a post-office box in Zug, it is always reassuring to see a brand operating out of their original location.

Before going further, in the interest of transparency, it bears noting that I am already acquainted with the CEO of Fortis, Lorenz Aebischer, and am proud to call him a friend.  So, gentle reader, you will have to understand that I am predisposed to like what he is involved in.

But, as mentioned at the beginning, I was already a fan of Fortis.  And although the original Cosmonaut watch is a favorite of mine (hint, hint), I was also always a fan of their more whimsical offerings.

Let's be honest, life is already serious enough.  You can create a tough, durable watch and still have some fun with it.  These were from the company archive, and despite my best efforts to offer an attractive purchase price, they were not for sale ; )

But back to the present -

Fortis has established a clear and well-defined collection and seems focused on offering sturdy, well-constructed watches.  Sturdy, not fancy.

But space fans, do not despair!  Space is still very much at the forefront of what drives the Fortis team, and they were kind enough to share the next step in the evolution of the Cosmonaut -

This is the AMADEE-18 Chronograph -

Which, I told the team, was pretty dope!  And they said, why don't you take it for a short test-drive and find out for yourself?

Well, how could I refuse?  

48 Hours with the Official Cosmonauts AMADEE-18 Chronograph is coming up next, stay tuned!

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