Graham Swordfish Bronze
The Graham Swordfish Bronze encapsulates several influences from the marine world. Employing bronze, an alloy widely used in the naval industry, and incorporating unusual magnified portholes which mimic the eyes of a swordfish, this chronograph provides a characterful alternative to some popular, albeit run-of-the-mill options.
The Swordfish, also known as ‘xiphias gladius’, is widely known for its flat bill. The large fish typically grows to 3 metres in length, albeit some examples are known to have grown up to 50% bigger. The largest examples of the fish have tipped the scales at 650Kg. However, despite their incredible size, they are able to scythe through water with amazing alacrity.
Graham, the Swiss watch brand based in La Chaux de Fonds, has employed the ‘Swordfish’ nomen for a range of distinctive chronographs, each endowed with prominent ‘eyes’. The brand’s choice of name seems inspired as the chronograph registers are magnified through two portholes, emulating the bulbous eyes of the eponymous fish.
However, beyond the scale of the swordfish’s eyes, they feature another unusual characteristic. A special organ, positioned near its eyes, heats the eyes and brain, improving the fish’s vision. Again, the magnified portholes seem to mimic this natural phenomenon.
While the Swordfish is offered in steel, a watch I particularly liked when I reviewed it last month, the bronze case version in this review has even stronger ties to the marine world. Bronze has been widely used in the maritime industry for many years. Sextants, bells, valves, pumps and even propellors have been constructed in the copper-based alloy. This is because bronze forms a protective patina which helps prevent seawater corrosion.
The rationale for the ‘Swordfish’ soubriquet seems eminently logical.
The Graham Swordfish Bronze is available with two choices of dial colour, black or green. I must be honest, the black option pales against the minty tones of the green dial version. Consistent with many other Graham watches, the prevailing time is imparted with ‘modern-style’ hour and minute hands. However, unlike most Graham products, the hands fitted to this watch are formed of 18-carat gold. Furthermore, the hands incorporate a liberal application of white Super-LumiNova, enhancing nocturnal readability.
Two chronograph registers reside at 3 and 9 o’clock. As stated earlier, these registers sit below two magnified portholes which boost the scale of the indications by 20%. There is no need to squint, the hands and markings are clear to see. A snailed 30-minute chronograph register sits adjacent the crown, while the counter, positioned opposite, displays both the running seconds and displays elapsed periods up to 12 hours. Again, all hands on the counters are 18-carat gold and embellished with white Super-LumiNova.
A minute track, pairing both black and white tones, frames the green sunbrushed area of the dial. The minute track allows the wearer to read-off elapsed seconds using the central chronograph seconds hand, which is once more made of 18-carat gold. At the heart of the dial is a secondary scale, providing an alternative means of reading off elapsed time.
Xiphias gladius is a large predatory fish that spends much time in deep waters during the day and hunts for food near the ocean’s surface at night. The aptly named Graham Swordfish Bronze is a horological leviathan, measuring 46mm in diameter. Moreover, irrespective of its environment, this generously proportioned watch always looks at ease with its surroundings.
The bezel and case of this watch are made of ‘CuSn8’, an alloy widely used within the naval industry. Many bronze alloys contain traces of nickel which can provoke allergic reactions in some individuals. Cleverly, Graham has fitted this model with a titanium case back. This latter lightweight metal is often selected for its hypoallergenic properties, making it ideal for those surfaces in direct contact with the skin.
While the Graham Swordfish Bronze is unable to match the deepwater capabilities of xiphias gladius, its water resistance of 100 metres should prove capable of meeting the requirements of most potential purchasers.
Despite its robust, hard-wearing characteristics, Graham has not eschewed smile-inducing detail. The flanks of the pushpieces feature an elaborate lattice-like pattern, conferring eye-appeal and grip. The crown is beautifully detailed with clearly defined knurling. Furthermore, the bronze crown is equipped with ‘2 joints’, said to proffer improved water resistance.
Graham has chosen to supply the watch with a rubber mesh pattern strap paired with a bronze pin buckle. Moreover, the watch is supplied with an additional fabric strap. Ironically, it is this latter strap, made of moisture-wicking fabric, which appeals to me the most. When fitted with the green striped strap, this watch exudes an extraordinary quotient of style.
The calibre G1710 is an automatic movement featuring 34 jewels. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the power reserve is sufficient to deliver 48 hours of autonomy. An exhibition caseback confers sight of the movement.
The base plate is adorned with perlage and the bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève motif. Consistent with fine watchmaking etiquette, there is a proliferation of blued screws.
Appraising the composition of this watch reveals some luxurious touches such as the 18-carat gold hands and indexes. This may seem at odds with the slightly informal character of the bronze case and fabric strap, but the unusual ensemble works surprisingly well.
Image – green dial with green rubber strap incorporating mesh pattern
The green dial surface and matching fabric strap imbue the Graham Swordfish Bronze with a high quotient of style. The green tones appear fresh, new and unlike the tones I typically encounter in my professional role as a watch journalist.
Image – black dial with black rubber strap incorporating mesh pattern
In some cases, style comes at the expense of practicality, but no such criticisms could be directed towards this masculine timepiece. The case, crown and pushers feel robust, as if they were hewn from granite, while the dial is a paragon of lucidity. Quite simply, the wearer of this watch does not have to forgo practicality in the pursuit of style.
The Graham Swordfish Bronze does not walk along the well-trodden path of others, exploring unusual aesthetics which distinguish it as different. By adopting this approach, Graham may well have alienated some sections of the watch-buying public, however, other horophiles, myself included, will no doubt appreciate this model’s distinctive mien. Indeed, beyond its apt nomenclature, this is a watch I would dearly love to own.
- Model: Graham Swordfish Bronze
- Reference: 2SXAK.G01A
- Case: Bronze (CuSn8); diameter 46mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback (titanium)
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds; chronograph
- Movement: Calibre G1710; automatic movement; frequency 28,800VpH (4Hz); 34 jewels; power reserve 48 hours
- Strap: Green rubber strap with mesh pattern and bronze pin buckle.
- Price: £6,750 (RRP as at 22.7.2019)