Angus Davies meets Eric Loth, founder of Graham-London and review the latest watch from his company, the Chronofighter 1695.
I sat opposite Eric Loth, founder of Graham-London, and found myself captivated by the passionate parlance of this charismatic man.
Eric is Swiss by birth, having spent most of his life in Le Locle. However, he explains that he has a deep affection for the English and their character.
I smiled nervously as he explained that he was an Anglophile. A trait I share with my fellow English compatriots is that we does not accept praise easily, but Eric was keen to continue complimenting my country of origin.
A respect for all things English was borne out of Eric watching the film “The Battle of Britain” over 30 times. He clearly admires the courage and camaraderie exemplified in the film.
It is this passion for England in conjunction with his studies of George Graham whilst Loth was a young engineering student, that led to his desire to resurrect the Graham name.
George Graham (1673 – 1751) was the acclaimed clock and watchmaker who worked with Thomas Tompian, another great name of horological history. Graham refined Tompian’s dead-beat escapement and invented; Desaguliers Royal Astronomical Timer, the Mercury pendulum and the cylinder escapement.
Loth is an engineer and physicist by trade but clearly knows a thing or two about watches. A desire to create timepieces with mechanical integrity is demonstrated by his latest offering, the Graham Chronofighter 1695.
The pink gold case is 42mm in diameter with a highly polished appearance. Unlike many chronographs with the crown and pushers located on the right hand side of the case, the Chronofighter 1695 has its own approach favouring the left hand side of the case.
The crown is located at 9 o’clock nestled between the case and the unusual trigger device.
It is the trigger which is part of the Graham design language which differentiates it from other chronographs. The trigger deploys the start / stop of the chronograph.
The trigger is not about showboating but considered design. Loth talked to medical professionals and established that the fastest acting finger is the thumb. The thumb acts alone unlike the other fingers. This means the chronograph can be started or stopped with greater alacrity.
A pusher is located above the trigger for resetting the chronograph.
Loth explained to me that all aspects of a watch design must be functional and make sense.
Graham does not eschew aesthetic appeal. The case back of the Chronofighter 1695 is elaborately engraved with the Greenwich Royal Observatory. Graham built the master clock for the Greenwich Royal Observatory which timed most of the 18th century.
The sapphire crystal glass is domed reminiscent of fantastic watches of yesteryear which used Plexiglas. The benefit of sapphire crystal is its excellent resistance to scratching or cracking.
The dial is silver-white and finely worked.
It has a date aperture at 3 o’clock and at 6 o’clock there is a sub-dial for showing minutes elapsed when the chronograph is deployed.
Roman numerals feature at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock with simple batons depicting the other hours. The font at 12 o’clock is larger than text on the dial.
Seconds markers feature on the chapter ring, with 15, 30, 45 and 60 marked discreetly.
The dial is a model of restraint, imparting information cleanly without interference with over-sized decals or text. It works wonderfully at conveying time to the wearer in an efficient and succinct manner.
The movement is self-winding, featuring an Incabloc shock absorber.
The wearer is afforded a view of the balance wheel and escapement through a small sapphire aperture adjacent the aforementioned engraved back.
Eric Loth is an engineer and physicist and it is this which has probably led to his empathy and respect for George Graham. Graham was a watchmaker, inventor, scientiest and friend to astronomers.
The name of the watch includes the date “1695” which presumably is a reference to the year, George Graham was admitted as a Freeman of the Clockmaker’s Company.
The brand “Chronofighter” possibly alludes to Loth’s admiration of Royal Air Force pilots in his favourite film.
One thing is clear, whilst Loth has looked at history and sought engineered solutions to enhancing the watches his company produces, there is no mistaking this timepiece is simply a sublime specimen of watchmaking.
The Chronofighter 1695 has mechanical merit with a horological honesty and this Englishman approves of it wholeheartedly.
Model: Graham Chronofighter 1695
Case: 18-carat pink gold; 42.00 mm diameter; left-hand start / stop trigger; reset pusher; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front with antireflective coating on both sides; engraved caseback.
Functions: Hours; minutes; date; Chronograph (seconds and 30 minute counters)
Calibre: Self-winding; Frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz); power reserve 48 hours; 25 jewels.
Calibre Reference: G1745
Strap: Brown crocodile leather strap with 18-carat pink gold pin buckle
Angus is a self-confessed watch addict and is frequently asked to contribute to various printed magazines and websites around the globe. He also writes for individual watch companies on matters of horology and has appeared on television and radio as an industry expert.