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Graham - 2019, the year of bronze

Graham 2019, the year of bronze

This year, Graham introduces its first ever bronze watches, in the Chronofighter and Swordfish collections.

For the last three or four years we’ve seen a multiplication of bronze watches, a trend that has solidified into a genuine groundswell (albeit a rather masculine one, since the bronze vogue has yet to hit women’s watches). Those in the know credit the start of the bronze boom to the Panerai PAM 382 of 2011, although it didn’t really take off until several years later. Anonimo, followed by Zenith, Montblanc, IWC, Bell & Ross, Tudor and Oris, to mention just a few, have all adopted this copper-based alloy. Today, bronze, which has been used since prehistoric times, is holding its own with some of the most high-tech materials. Who knew that “vintage” goes back to the bronze age...

As of 2019, Graham has joined the ranks of watch brands with a penchant for this warm metal alloy, with no fewer than seven new models – the first bronze watches in its collection. The four Chronofighter Vintage Bronze models offer a choice of green, black, silvered or blue dials, and straps made of leather or weave-effect rubber; the new Swordfish is available with a green or black dial on a weave-effect rubber or original striped fabric strap, and the Chronofighter Vintage Overlord, celebrating the Battle of Normandy, also comes with both strap options. 

2019, the year of bronze

Chronofighter Vintage Bronze © Graham

Controlled weight

The Chronofighter celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2016 with the launch of the Vintage line in steel, with an aged leather strap, retro brown and beige tones and a grained dial. In 2019 Graham, on the lookout for new case options, naturally turned its attention to bronze, the retro-chic metal par excellence, and an obvious choice for a collection named Vintage. But this alloy, with its industrial and military connotations (there are some very famous bronze cannons) also plays to the robust nature of the Chronofighter watches, and indeed could augur some discomfort on the wrist, given that bronze is heavier than steel. But Graham assures us that’s not the case. In fact, the opposite is true. Like the majority of bronze watches produced by other brands, the back of Graham watches is made of titanium, which provides a weight advantage, plus guaranteed comfort thanks to its non-allergenic properties. And while Graham’s bronze watches are lighter than the equivalent steel models, weight loss is also a function of the new case design. The lugs have been brought in and screwed to the case, which means that some material has been judiciously removed from the case, making it even lighter.

2019, the year of bronze

Chronofighter Vintage Bronze © Graham

Like a fish in water

The Swordfish, born in 2004, is an iconic Graham watch that resurfaced in 2019 to celebrate its 15th anniversary, after a hiatus of several years imposed in an effort to stem the tide of counterfeits. Graham wanted something special for the big comeback, and the choice of bronze, a material historically associated with the nautical world, including metal parts for boats and diving equipment, was a natural fit for a watch whose name strongly evokes the sea.

2019, the year of bronze

Swordfish © Graham

The same bronze is used in all of Graham’s watch cases. It’s an alloy of copper and tin (CuSn8, used by the naval industry) that produces a light yellow-white metal, which gives off metallic reflections when treated with a satin finish. Over time a brown patina develops, which may be more or less pronounced depending on the conditions in which the watch is worn, providing a visible imprint of the watch’s history. The Chronofighter Vintage Overlord offers many more explicit references to History with a capital H, with several indications borrowed from US Army artefacts from the Second World War.

2019, the year of bronze

Chronofighter Vintage Overlord © Graham

The brand

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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