Walter Vogt founded Fortis in 1912, and then 12 years later set up production with John Harwood, the inventor of the automatic wristwatch. In 1926, Fortis released the first self-winding wristwatch, the patented Harwood Automatic. In 1937, Fortis commemorated their 25th anniversary by manufacturing their first chronographs and in 1954 they took over the world-wide distribution of alarm watches. In 1992, they released the first watch with indication of the 52 calendar weeks.
In 2004, the Flieger Chronograph was awarded the first European Aviation Watch of the Year Trophy.