Fortis was originally founded by Walter Vogt in 1912 and shortly thereafter Walter added John Harwood to the company. John was a good fit as he was the original inventory of the automatic wrist watch and by 1926 they released the "harwood automatic" which became the first self winding wristwatch at Baselworld. By 1937 they began producing chronographs and shortly there after breaking ground again with the first waterproof watch in 1943. The company continued to test limits and explored coatings and alternative materials producing watches for US missions to space and in military applications. By 1998 the company had launched an automatic chronograph with mechanical alarm function. The company began to struggle in the early 2000's and by 2017 it filed from debt restructuring. It was sold to a private investor Jupp Philipp who renamed it from FORTIS Uhren AG to FORTIS Watches AG.