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Graham - Birth announcement: Graham’s first Chronofighter tourbillon

Graham Birth announcement: Graham’s first Chronofighter tourbillon

We’ve already seen it in the Silverstone collection; now we have it in a Chronofighter. The Graham tourbillon is back, oozing testosterone. It’s a watch complication on steroids.

Tourbillons and sports watches make rather uneasy bedfellows. The fragile regulating organ doesn’t respond well to being dropped on the floor, or being whacked by a club or racquet. On that basis, a combat tourbillon is the stuff of horological folly. Or an extreme desire to be different.

It’s probably the latter that led Graham to present its tourbillon in a Chronofighter case for the first time. It’s never been done before. The Graham tourbillon, created just 10 years ago, has only previously been seen in a Silverstone case, which is the brand’s motor racing line. But it’s not there any more. The Silverstone Tourbillon is no longer even in the catalogue. “And the Silverstone itself will be gradually withdrawn from our collections,” notes Graham CEO Eric Loth. “It was important between 2000 and 2010, when it helped to establish our presence with an iconic and easily identifiable product. But now the Chronofighter has taken off.” 

Birth announcement: Graham’s first Chronofighter tourbillon

Chronofighter Superlight Carbon Tourbillograph © Graham

A 180° turn

Has anything changed in practice? First, the tourbillon is in a different location. It was previously at 10 o’clock, but now it is diametrically opposite, at 5 o’clock. In fact, the movement has been rotated 180°, for obvious reasons of ease of construction. It is the result of neighbourly cooperation, since the tourbillon was made for Graham by La Joux-Perret – the two companies share premises in La Chaux-de-Fonds. But the tourbillon movement now inside the Chronofighter is in fact the exact same one as in the Silverstone (Cal. G1780).

Birth announcement: Graham’s first Chronofighter tourbillon

© Graham

XL calibre, XS weight

The new Chronofighter Tourbillon – the Graham Chronofighter Superlight Carbon Tourbillograph, to give it its full name – comes in a 47 mm case. This is a medium-sized format in comparison with its predecessors, the Silverstone Tourbillons, which were available in case sizes of 46, 47 and 48 mm. The chunky 47 mm diameter definitely counts as oversized, when the general trend over the last several years has been to return to diameters of between 39 and 41 mm. 

Nevertheless, oversized does not mean overweight. The case of the Chronofighter Tourbillon is made of carbon and, despite its XL scaling, the watch weighs less than 100 grams. The tourbillon plays a major part in the weight reduction, with a cage that weighs less than half a gram – 0.485 grams to be precise! “The Superlight case has almost a 10-year track record. We are extremely proud of it because very few brands have been able to develop a case that is as complex and as light, at such a competitive price,” explains Eric Loth. “The case is in five parts, made of five different types of carbon, from five different partners. This enables us to control our costs while keeping the overall design confidential.”

Birth announcement: Graham’s first Chronofighter tourbillon

Chronofighter Superlight Carbon Tourbillograph © Graham

Tested and approved

Despite its feather weight, the movement is certified Chronofiable by the Laboratoire Dubois. The test begins with a control of the watch’s functions, operation and amplitude, followed by tests of temperature (0°C, 50°C), power reserve and winding speed (for automatic movements). This is followed by 21 days of additional testing focusing on shock resistance, simulating around 6 months’ daily wear. The Chronofighter Tourbillon is therefore reliable. Very reliable. “At under 30,000 francs, with such a robust tourbillon movement and such a technical case, we are in a very good position,” Eric Loth states. 

Aesthetically speaking, there are no half measures. Graham has gone all-out to ensure its tourbillon is as good-looking as it is reliable. La Joux-Perret has lodged a patent application for the tourbillon cage, whose design provides a view of some of the other movement wheels. A second patent ensures the tourbillon is rigidly housed, thanks to a modified Incabloc. Finally, the cradle shape of the tourbillon bridge is an echo of the British watchmaking tradition, which Graham is proud to carry on.

 

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Based in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland, Graham preserves the legacy of London clockmaker George Graham, developing modern timepieces that combine sophisticated techniques with an atypical design.

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