Fortis was established by Walter Vogt in 1912 in the Swiss town of Grenchen. Originally a co-founder along with Alfred Rüefli, by the 1920s Vogt had become sole owner. In 1926 Fortis became the first manufacture of automatic wristwatches, using a movement invented by British watchmaker John Harwood. Throughout the 20th century, Fortis achieved a series of horological firsts, not least of all being the production of the first waterproof wrist alarm in 1956. Fortis was also at the forefront of style--visually, at least--releasing brightly-colored watches in the 1960s and 1970s that could in many ways be considered forefathers of the Swatches of the 1980s.
The Marinemaster, with its bright multi-colored dial, is one such watch. Though Fortis had been releasing watches under the Marinemaster name since the 1940s, the present example, first released in 1969, is the most iconic. The kaleidoscopic dial features decompression charts, signifying the watch's intended use as a diver, and the case is a chunky 42mm SuperCompressor.
The Marinemaster, in looks at least, resembles the Vulcain Cricket Nautical. In fact, these two watches utilized the same dial and case. However, while the Vulcain (like all Crickets) was a wrist alarm, this watch is just a SuperCompressor: as with all SuperCompressors released by EPSA, the upper crown rotates the inner bezel while the lower crown sets the time.
Throughout the 1970s, the dial of the Marinemaster changed slightly, shifting to large round luminous dots for the hour markers. Ours, dating from 1972, dates from earlier in the run, and features applied markers. The dial is deliciously patinated, and the SuperCompressor case--complete with its crosshatched double crowns--is sharp, and (despite its size) comfortable on the wrist.
The Marinemaster has been such an icon of horological design that in 2002 Fortis reissued it in a limited batch of 90. That alone attests to its long-lived appeal. Unique and visually-arresting, the Fortis Marinemaster is sure to stun.
Stainless steel SuperCompressor case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). Automatic ETA Caliber 2472. Circa 1972.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel SuperCompressor case is in excellent condition, with sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing, and minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition, with fine overall patina. Inner rotating bezel is in very good condition, with some fading over time. Crosshatch EPSA crowns. Fortis case back is in very good condition with signs of light use and wear.
Includes two 22mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle