Anyone familiar with this brand would remember its rather huge and chunky grenade look-a-like crown guards on the gigantic cases of their ‘Chronofighters’. Established in 1995, Graham made a name for itself as a modern watch company. Fashionable and attention seeking. However, few would know that the name of the brand, Graham, is actually derived from and named after George Graham, an English clockmaker who shot to fame in the early 18th century. He is known as the father of the chronograph as he invented the start and stop device of the chronograph, the dead-beat and cylinder escapement, the mercury pendulum to compensate the influence of temperature on pendulums, to name a few. He also built the master clock for Greenwich Royal Observatory which timed most of the 18th century and lots of science instruments for astronomers and physicists. GRAHAM was revived in 1995 and is today a privately owned Swiss watch company.
As a brand, we can clearly see it evolving to develop some sophistication, with its new classic line Chronofighter 1695, a blockbuster Tourbillon Orrery, and now this limited edition minute Tourbillon. Although critics could easily shun and condemn the brand, we would objectively recognize that its attempts to develop sophistication is a tall order, and we respect its bravery to step away from more juvenile designs to work on the more grown-up craft. Given the tough competition out there and the lack of a good positioning, it is going to be tough for Graham to succeed, but looking at what it has produced with the Tourbillon Orrery, we are hopeful.
Now on to the Tourbillon.
Following in the footsteps of late 17th century watch making, GRAHAM has introduced a tribute classical Geo.Graham Tourbillon which distinguishes itself by its extreme thinness and micro-rotor movement.
It is not just any tourbillon but it is a 60-second tourbillon that is ultra-thin (9.85 mm). New technology and expert craftsmen such as local partner, Le Cercle des Horlogers in La Chaux-deFonds, have made the classical Geo.Graham Tourbillon a possibility. The double-bridge construction of the 60-second tourbillon, at 6 o’clock, combined with the microrotor movement provide the perfect functional balance with an increased power output and barrel resetting while being able to reduce thickness.
(Appearance wise, we have little to squabble about since we have not held the watch in person, but we do raise our eyebrows at the mutilated railroad track, a chin at 6. Highly similar to the contentious 5970 recently updated dial by Patek Philippe. It may be a design idea, but some would think its slipshod and careless and breaks the symmetry.)
The attractive and mechanically completed movement is like it is frozen. It is held by two sapphire glass boxes on the front and back of the piece, giving the impression it is floating in the air. The domed crystal offers a full size dimension (36 mm opening) and a see-through view on the beauty of the mechanism. The off-centred oscillating weight functions flawlessly as a special slot on the case back glass box has been created on the sapphire crystal case back for it. The extreme thinness of the watch (9.85 mm) accentuates the harmony, lightness and high end finishing of the Haute Complication tourbillon movement.
Priced at ~USD 80,000
- 60-second see-through Tourbillon (3Hz), automatic micro-rotor movement
- Hours, Minutes, Seconds
- G1796, Swiss made manufactured high precision automatic movement exclusively made for GRAHAM with Haute Horlogerie finishing, circular “Côtes de Genève” decoration, circular graining, chamfered and polished bridges and bottom plate, specific engravings on the back including limited edition serial number, 21’600 A/h (3Hz), Incabloc shock absorber
- Golden micro-rotor oscillating weight to ensure thinness, ornamental arabesque engraved inspired by George Graham decoration
- 60-second see-through Tourbillon
- Tourbillon cage: 67 components, construction at 6 o’clock. See-through tourbillon. Double bridge construction with blue screws. Balance wheel with regulating screws
- 29 jewels
- Power reserve: 72 hours
- 40 mm pink gold (18K) case
- Ultra-thin case: 9.85 mm
- Pink gold (18K) crown with “Geo.” engraving representing George Graham’s signature on his works
- Sapphire crystal glass box (2.98 mm thick) on both faces with anti-reflective coating. Full size dimension: 36 mm opening
- Sapphire crystal glass box (3.35 mm thick) on the case back with special slot for the oscillating weight
- 160 feet / 50 m / 5 bar
- Domed dial coated with white enamel lacquer
- Black Roman and Arabic numerals inspired by George Graham timepieces
- Minute scale which resembles a railway track (4 quarter-hours with railway track symbols) inspired by George Graham’s timepieces
- Blue central hands
- Brown alligator
- Pink gold (18K) pin buckle