Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day
The Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day pays tribute to the Normandy landings and the Allied forces assault on the morning of the 6th June 1944. This commemorative watch features the brand’s legendary trigger and encompasses several of the attributes for which the historical brand is known.
This detailed review of the Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day includes live images, specification details and pricing.
On Tuesday 6th June 1944, Allied forces invaded Normandy. D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in history and formed part of Operation Overlord. Intended to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation, this military campaign was successful but costly in terms of lives lost.
Allied airborne forces parachuted into various locations across northern France. Thereafter, 156,000 ground troops, using ships and landing craft, crossed the English Channel. British and Canadian troops faced light opposition as they captured three of the intended beaches, Gold, Juno and Sword. The U.S. forces were able to seize Utah beach with few casualties, however, the final beach, Omaha, proved problematic. The American troops faced ferocious resistance, culminating in over 2000 casualties. The bravery of the Allied forces meant that, just one week after the initial landings, all five beaches were secured, allowing further troops, vehicles and equipment to safely land at Normandy.
While troops faced dogged resistance from German forces, they still drove forward. Allied forces secured the important port of Cherbourg, before liberating Paris and removing any vestige of German resistance in northwest France. This brave campaign provided the much needed second front against Germany, mitigating the pressure facing Soviet forces in the east.
Operation Overlord on its own did not bring an end to the war, however, it did play a significant role in the demise of the Nazi regime. The efforts of all allied forces should never be forgotten. Indeed, it was the cooperation of several nations which hastened the defeat of German forces.
Two Graham Chronofighter Vintage timepieces commemorate D-Day
Graham has created two special timepieces which honour the fallen heroes of the D-Day landings.
The Chronofighter Vintage Overlord is presented in a satin-brushed bronze case. The appearance of the case emulates the ‘metal used in naval construction’. The green dial has a sandblasted finish, conferring a fascinating granular texture. At 6 o’clock, the 30 minute chronograph register is enriched with a depiction of the Indianhead, an emblem widely used in the US army. As part of its commitment to the memory of the conflict, ‘Graham will donate a percentage of the watch’s proceeds to museums in Normandy that pay tribute to the fallen soldiers’.
The second commemorative watch, the Chronofighter Vintage D-Day, also pays respectful tribute to the Normandy landings, but looks quite different. It features a stainless steel case and a distinctive dial design, emblazoned with prominent text. It is this latter model which is the focus of my review.
Consistent with other Chronofighter Vintage models, the Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day imparts the prevailing time with Modern hour and minute hands. Despite their name, the hands exhibit a classical, retro appearance. These rhodium hands are lined with luminescent treatment, enhancing legibility in restricted light. The tip of the white central chronograph seconds hand is enriched with a vibrant smattering of red.
Graham has chosen to eschew Arabic numerals, selecting succinct circlets to denote the hours. A minuterie adorns the periphery of the dial and incorporates neat, white strokes each denoting a ¼ of a second.
The dial epidermis has a wonderful granular surface that provides an eye-catching point of difference.
A small seconds display is located at 3 o’clock. It incorporates a ‘plain black five pointed star surrounded by a 5 gap circle.’ This emblem was the Allies’ standard military marking. A 30-minute chronograph counter sits just above 6 o’clock. The date of the Normandy landings is proclaimed in bold white text, in a contemporary font sans serifs.
Two apertures are positioned side by side at 9 o’clock. One aperture reveals the date and the second proclaims the day.
The steel case of the Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day measures 44mm in diameter. On the face of it, this may sound large, however, unlike some ‘regular’ chronographs, the trigger and pushpiece are positioned on the left flank of the case, ensuring nothing impinges on the wrist.
The thumb operated trigger is synonymous with Graham. The historical brand has identified that the period from observing an event and pressing the trigger must be as short as possible. The thumb, the fastest acting digit, rests within a curved recess on the leading edge of the trigger, facilitating rapid actuation. Some brands expend much energy refining chronograph movements, eager to achieve high levels of precision, however, human input remains a key factor in the measurement of elapsed time, something Graham clearly recognises.
While Graham is known for making affordable luxury watches, the quality of its products is beyond reproach. Some brands use cases which are flat sided because they are cheaper to make, however, the Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day does not subscribe to this viewpoint. The curved case flank takes longer to machine, heightening cost. However, the resultant aesthetic justifies the cost.
The concave bezel casts becoming shadows and invites tactile examination. The sapphire crystal is domed and treated with anti-reflective coating, augmenting readability.
My press loan watch was fitted with an interesting strap. At first glance its seemingly woven texture resembles fabric, however, close examination reveals the strap is actually made of rubber. Although the brand offers an alternative strap in calf leather, I favour the rubber option as it not only looks superb but will prove harder wearing in the long term.
Like many fans of horology, I adore the spectacle of viewing a fine mechanical movement. The Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day indulges this desire courtesy of its exhibition caseback. The Calibre G1747 is a self-winding movement, incorporating a rotor embellished with Côtes de Genève motif. Beneath the rotor, both Côtes de Genève and perlage adorn some of the bridges.
The movement has Chronofiable® certification, providing independent reassurance about the reliability of the watch movement. This certification process necessitates subjecting the movement to an ageing process, intended to simulate six months wear in 21 days.
The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. A single barrel stores sufficient energy to deliver 48 hours of autonomous operation.
Over the years I have worn several Graham watches. Moreover, I am no stranger to its Chronofighter Vintage models. The dials exhibit much style, with attractive textures and subdials positioned below the main dial epidermis. It is this obsessive attention to detail which has seen the luxury marque enjoy growing popularity.
Beyond the finish of the dial and the position of the subdials there is the matter of lucidity. The Modern hour and minute hands, in conjunction with the circular indexes, wonderfully articulate the prevailing time. The day-date functions also prove very readable and incredibly useful.
There is no escaping the 44mm case is large, however, readers should avoid prejudging the watch on this detail alone. By positioning the chronograph apparatus on the left flank of the case, the watch proves very wearable. Furthermore, the lugs taper downwards, encouraging the strap to envelop the wearer’s wrist.
Graham has equipped many of its timepieces with the Calibre 1747. It has proved a trusty movement for the brand, conferring impressive reliability. Indeed, the dependability of the movement has been independently verified with the award of Chronofiable® certification.
The historic watch brand has respectfully doffed its hat to those men who participated in the D-Day landings. It has crafted a watch imbued with many attributes and should, by virtue of being limited to only 75 pieces, proffer a high degree of exclusivity. Those prospective purchasers who are unable to secure one of these rare watches, or dislike the bold typography featured on this dial, may wish to consider one of the other Chronofighter Vintage models which share many of the qualities found on this timepiece.
- Model: Graham Chronofighter Vintage D-Day
- Reference: 2CVAS.B30A
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; water resistance 10 ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day; date; chronograph
- Movement: G1747; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve = 48 hours
- Strap: Black rubber mesh pattern strap with stainless steel pin buckle
- Price – £4150 (RRP as at 10.5.2019)
- Limited Edition: 75 pieces