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Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary

The Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary celebrates the unveiling of the first Chronofighter in 1995  by the brand with a penchant for all things English. Angus Davies, a proud compatriot of George Graham, reviews this new watch and provides a light-hearted insight into the tastes of British citizens.

Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary

George Graham (1673-1751) was born close to Carlisle, England. During his lifetime, Graham invented the dead-beat escapement, the mercury clock and the cylinder escapement. Most pertinently, Graham constructed an observatory timer (1725) which could measure intervals of 1/16th of a second. This achievement led to Graham becoming known as the ‘father of the chronograph’.

In 1995, the name ‘Graham‘ was revived by Swiss-born, Eric Loth. While studying engineering and physics, Loth came across the work of the English watchmaker. It was as a result of Loth discovering Graham’s legacy that Graham was reborn.

While Graham is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the epicentre of Swiss watchmaking, there is an endearing air of Britishness that pervades this company. Loth freely admits to being an anglophile and can often be seen at watch exhibitions attired in an eye-popping Union Jack blazer. The watch company also has a mischievous side to its character. In 2018, the company unveiled a Brexit-themed version of its popular Chronofighter model, endowed with a Union Jack dial.

Now, the company is celebrating another landmark, the 25th anniversary of the inaugural Chronofighter model. The aptly named Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary is limited to just 25 pieces and is a facsimile of the first Chronofighter model.

The dial

The dial of the Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary is presented in black with contrasting silver-toned, snailed registers. It features a bicompax layout, proffering much eye-appeal. The symmetry conferred with this type of horological landscape always surpasses the allure of a tricompax design. A small seconds display is positioned at 3 o’clock and a 30-minute chronograph register is located opposite.

Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary

While the Graham Chronofighter has been offered in numerous forms, some traditional and others overtly avant-garde, the brand has always tended to use ‘Modern’ hour and minute hands. In this instance, the hands are coated with lime green Super-LumiNova. The indexes, a combination of Arabic numerals and markers, share the same lime green treatment.

The central chronograph seconds hand juxtaposes the lime green hue with an ebullient red tip. A minuterie frames the dial and proves ideal when reading off the minutes and seconds.

The case

Measuring 44mm in diameter, the stainless steel case evinces an über-masculine persona. Its generous scale affords plenty of room for the dial functions to breathe and grants extraordinary wrist presence.

Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary

The sapphire crystal is domed, sometimes referred to as ‘glassbox’. This feature allows light to flood the dial plane, augmenting legibility. The case back is fitted with a sapphire crystal, granting sight of the self-winding movement within.

Graham could never be accused of plagiarism, its trigger system is refreshingly different from the ubiquitous pushpiece and crown combination. The pushpiece at 10 o’clock is used to start and stop the chronograph. Loth, with the benefit of his engineering background and knowing that the fastest acting digit is the thumb, conceived the idea of the trigger. Clearly, by reducing the time from observing an event to pressing the pushpiece, the validity of the measured elapsed time is enhanced.

Over the years, I have worn many Chronofighter watches and found the trigger system to be intuitive. Moreover, because the trigger is positioned on the left side of the case, there is nothing to restrict wrist movement.

The Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary is presented on a hand-sewn brown calf leather strap, paired with a steel pin buckle. The strap features contrasting stitching, imbuing the composition with an agreeable military-themed vibe.

The movement

Most versions of the Chronofighter are equipped with the Calibre G1747, however, this anniversary chronograph is different. This model features the Calibre G1722, a COSC-certified chronometer. This provides independent validation of the movement’s precision. The ‘certification is the average daily rate on the first 10 days of testing: from -4 sec to +6 sec., or up to 10 seconds per day’.

The movement has also met Chronofiable® tests which simulate ageing in order to confirm the reliability of the movement.

The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement is fitted with 30 jewels. Assuming the watch is fully wound, the movement will run autonomously for 48 hours.

Closing remarks

Since Graham’s revival, the company has released a plethora of new watches, including the Silverstone, Swordfish and George Graham models, however, the Chronofighter has always been the brand’s most iconic creation.

It has a distinctive appearance, primarily because of its singular trigger. The design of the trigger is not restricted merely to style or as a means of differentiating the product, it also proves highly functional.

The Calibre G1722 is COSC certified and has also met Chronofiable® tests.

Now, with 25 years under its belt, the Graham Chronofighter looks better than ever. As for the promotion of this watch, the brand has used footage of a British Spitfire in flight, Eric Loth’s love of my home nation shows no signs of waning any time soon.

Further reading

https://graham1695.com/

Technical specifications

  • Model: Graham Chronofighter Vintage 25th Anniversary
  • Reference: 2CVES.B01A
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front; exhibition case back.
  • Functions: hours; minutes; small seconds; chronograph
  • Movement: Calibre G1722; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 30 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
  • Strap: Hand-sewn brown calf leather paired with a steel pin buckle
  • Price: £5,350 including VAT (RRP as at 15.6.2020)

A taste of Great Britain

Many of my compatriots will be familiar with the numerous flavoursome foods and thirst-quenching drinks so beloved by British citizens. However, mindful that most of our readers live outside of the UK, I thought it may prove interesting to provide a small taste of life in ‘Blighty’.

Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle Brown Ale was conceived by Colonel Jim Porter and released for general sale in 1927. Initially, the rich brown-coloured beer was sold in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. However, the beer proved a huge commercial success and in due course, Newcastle Brown Ale was sold throughout the UK and exported overseas. In 1996, the beer was awarded Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) by the EU, meaning Newcastle Brown Ale can only be produced in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea is made by a family business, Taylors of Harrogate. Charles Taylor founded his business in 1886. Taylor opened numerous ‘tea and coffee kiosks’ throughout the county of Yorkshire. His flagship store at 1 Parliament Street, Harrogate is now branded, ‘Bettys’, a famous tea room which attracts hordes of visitors from around the globe. Bettys is a sister company of Taylors of Harrogate. While the teas are procured from overseas, including Assams, Darjeelings and Ceylons, it is the skilful blending of flavours which has led to Yorkshire Tea being loved by millions of people who appreciate a ‘proper brew’.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

Melton Mowbray, in the county of Leicestershire, is famous for its pork pies. Apparently, hunters visiting the region observed servants eating local pork pies back in the 18th century. The pies are not baked in a tin but on a tray, causing the sides of the pie to bow after cooking. Bone stock jelly is injected into the pies to preserve the meat and prevent them from crumbling. To be called a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, a pie should use uncured pork, contain no preservatives, flavours, colours or hydrogenated fats. The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie has Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) and should be produced in the geographical area of Melton Mowbray.

Black pudding

Black pudding is a blood sausage. It is usually associated with the Black Country, West Midlands, the North West of England and Scotland. Normally, this highly calorific food contains pork blood, fat, herbs and oatmeal or barley. The black pudding is typical British fare, often served as part of a typical English breakfast. 

Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread is said to date back to 16th century when Mary, Queen of Scots had a penchant for ‘Petticoat Tails’, thin crispy biscuits with a high butter content. Other historians believe Scottish Shortbread harks back to the 12th century during the reign of Elizabeth I. The biscuits comprise of flour, sugar, salt and butter. It is often said that the finest shortbread has a high butter content. Scottish Shortbread is usually presented in one of three formats, Petticoat Tails (segments), Shortbread Rounds (circular) or Fingers (rectangular).

Fisherman’s Friend

In 1865, James Lofthouse, a pharmacist, developed a liquid made from menthol and eucalyptus for local fishermen. Recognising that it was difficult to consume the liquid from a glass bottle whilst enduring choppy seas, Lofthouse tabletised the liquid, providing a user-friendly means of ingestion. Sales remained steady until 1967, when the Lofthouse family began to receive enquiries from holidaymakers visiting nearby Blackpool, expressing an interest in the company’s lozenges. Thereafter, the brand was actively promoted and popularity for the flavoured lozenges grew exponentially. Today, Fisherman’s Friend has a 600,000 sq ft factory, makes over 5 billion lozenges a year and exports products around the world. The family business continues to operate from Fleetwood, Lancashire where James Lofthouse established the firm over 150 years ago.

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is much-loved in the UK and beyond. In 2000, after a 27-year battle between the UK and other EU member states, the European Court of Justice agreed that British chocolate could be sold in the rest of Europe. The verdict allowed chocolate containing 5% vegetable fats or up to 20% milk content to be sold in all EU countries. Chocolate aficionados in Belgium, France etc. argued that chocolate should not contain vegetable fat. During the debate about chocolate, it was suggested that British chocolate should be labelled, ‘family milk chocolate’ or ‘vegelate’. In my opinion, irrespective of how Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is labelled, it remains delicious and I will continue to devour it with glee!

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