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Spacematic & the Gemini Astronauts
It all began with the FORTIS Spacematic All Risks model, released in 1962 in two versions: black and white dial. A simple watch by design, it featured a date window on the 3-o-clock position and a metallic ‘AR’ badge at the 9-o-clock position.
During his travels across the US, Ralf Vogt, Walter’s son, took a set of AR watches and presented them to the Gemini Space Program astronauts, who immediately fell in love with the watch’s timeless style and symbolic meaning of the watch model’s name.
This unofficially marked the beginning of the FORTIS space era.
With an uninterrupted lineage to this very day, the Spacematic remains our staple watch family, beloved by space enthusiasts and people alike for their simplicity and legibility.
Stratoliner. A Watch Inspired by the Highway of the Future
Inspired by flight at the edge of space, stratosphere, FORTIS released the first Stratoliner in 1965. The so-called highway of the future symbolized new opportunities, and the Stratoliner was a watch for men determined to seize them.
Just like the Spacematic, the Stratoliner family remained in production ever since, while one particular model played a key part in the beginning of the second chapter of the FORTIS space story: the cooperation with ROSKOSMOS, the Russian Space Agency.
Today, we have three models carrying the Stratoliner family name, equipped with chronograph functionality, ceramic bezels and much more.
After the fall of the Berlin wall, West, a former German cigarette brand embarked on a mission to capture a whole new market. It initiated a marketing campaign of epic proportions called ‘West in Space’. For the main act of the campaign — painting a Russian Proton rocket and launching it from the Baikonur Cosmodrome into space — West commissioned the legendary artist Andora, and brought FORTIS on board as the official timekeeper. The first new-generation Stratoliner, the Automatic Chronograph was on the rocket’s payload during its maiden voyage together with artwork by Andora and Russian conceptual artist Yuri Leiderman.
This elaborate project plants the seeds of future cooperation between FORTIS and the newly-formed ROSKOSMOS space agency.
Now it’s Official
During the successful ‘West in Space’ program, FORTIS caught the eyes of ROSKOSMOS officials. For quite some time the space agency was looking for a supplier of robust timekeepers for their Kosmonauts, and FORTIS seemed to be a good match. However, nothing could be left to chance as space exploration demands only the most reliable equipment. That is why our watches were put through rigorous testing at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training facilities over the course of 6 months.
After passing all tests flawlessly, FORTIS was granted an exclusive contract with the ROSKOSMOS space agency, becoming the official timekeeper of all future space missions. Many Russian astronauts proudly wear our timepieces at the moment both during training and in space.
To learn more about the actual watches that have spent time in space, follow the link below.
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