Fortis Cosmonaut - a Watch for Space and Time
“I am confident that the International Day of Human Spaceflight will remind us of our common humanity and our need to work together to conquer shared challenges. I hope it will also inspire young people in particular to pursue their dreams and move the World towards new frontiers of knowledge and understanding.”
The General Assembly in its resolution of 7th April 2011, declared 12th April the International Day of Human Spaceflight: “to celebrate each year at International level the beginnings of the Space Era for mankind”.
On such a momentous occasion for both men and women which was the company asked to produce a watch to celebrate the occasion?
The company was again chosen by the Russian Federal Space Agency to mark the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight. Why you may ask? Many other watchmakers have proclaimed their own space heritage. Fortis modestly, did not ‘blow their own trumpet’ but now we at Page and Cooper are here to do it for them. For more than 20 years Fortis have provided watches for astronauts at Star City and Roscosmos. Fortis watches are constructed to withstand the exigencies of Space and are tested under heavy duty conditions in Star City.
Amongst the large collection of space memorabilia at the Fortis factory in Grenchen, Switzerland there is a cosmonauts glove with mirror and a Fortis Chronograph signed by V.Deshurov. These were worn during a space walk on the Mir 18 STS 71 space shuttle Atlantis mission and yes, NASA Astronauts have also worn Fortis. During the preparatory work for the docking of Atlantis with Mir in September 1994 Fortis automatic chronographs performed their first but not their last mission in open space. With 100,000 Earth orbits Fortis are probably holder of the longest duration in weightless conditions. And the Fortis Official Cosmonaut watches bear the logo of the Russian Space Authority on the reverse.
For an independent test under extreme G, Fortis launched selected Cosmonaut movements using Swedish Maxus rockets with an acceleration of 3,500 m/sec producing a force of 13G. The payload was catapulted vertically to 715km after which there was a freefall of about 12 minutes.
Today, specialists from all over the world are seriously considering a flight to Mars, a vast distance creating its own set of unique challenges. A pioneering experiment by the Russian and European space agencies with contributions from the Chinese and Americans simulated a manned Mars flight. Six participants from four countries experienced a journey to the ‘Red Planet’ in real time. During the ‘mission’ more than 100 experiments were conducted and a database formed for a real Mars mission in the future.
The Mars team opted for Fortis as the official mission watch due to the 20 years of continuous co-operation. At Page and Cooper in the office, we hold all of the Mars 500 ‘watch mission’ requirements should you be interested!
As you can see from this blog could go on about Fortis for ‘light years’. What we know now is that from the Fortis Classic 3 Hand Cosmonaut to the new Fortis Monolith, if you would like a genuine collectable space watch with heritage, then Fortis should be in your sights or should that be orbit!