In 2017, Graham made quite a splash with its Nose Art watches, which were original, creative, fun, slightly cheeky, but elegant at the same time. Their dials sported knockout pin-up girls in a spirit of 1940s and 50s Americana. What happened last year was far from ordinary, and the implications were much bigger than a successful limited edition would normally entail. Graham had brought its Chronofighter to the attention of a wider public. Up to that point, the XXL-format watch was largely unknown except to a select audience of extreme watch collectors. The Nose Art range changed all that. It was up to Graham to build on the momentum in 2018.
The watchmaker has come to Baselworld with three responses. First, there’s the Grand Vintage collection. It’s a relatively straightforward exercise: the same blues and greens that have largely dominated Baselworld this year (after black and grey), distressed straps, lightly smoked dials and a generous 47 mm diameter. The recipe has been an instant success, even if there are plenty of other brands at Baselworld using the same combination of ingredients. Conclusion: a good product but perhaps missing that star quality.
New Grand Vintage models with a leather strap © Graham
New Grand Vintage models with a rubber strap © Graham
From the details, the resulting watch is similar to a personal reflection of Loth himself – each facet precisely measured and only decided upon following a lot of consideration. To give you an example, for just the carbon components, crucial to this design’s weight specifications, Graham watches fake had to supply from five completely different providers in extremely different industries to acquire the specific custom made pieces created. Including watch buckle manufacturers, of course, but also programmers of medical grade carbon, plane brake manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, and even hockey stick manufacturers — in case you were wondering, the signature Chronofighter cause for this particular piece must be developed in a multi-layer way, the same way that a hockey stick is created, to be super light and springy.Secondly — cool variable — were you aware that the US army recently altered the pattern of their camouflage to adjust to the digital era? Neither did I, but based on Mr. Loth’s explanation, the US military has developed a brand new camouflage pattern which accounts for its pixelated pictures in enemy satellite monitoring of our troops, helping our people hide better. Furthermore, unique, nearly mathematical, camouflage patterns have been designated to specific missions so that strategic teams may quickly recognize if an enemy has stolen a uniform and is trying to infiltrate a present on-the-ground mission. Graham’s new Navy SEAL Chronofighter is the first commercial product on the market to use this new digital camo design.
Graham’s second response is the Chronofighter Superlight. We caught a glimpse of it before Basel. This is a far more original creation: XXL format but ultra-light and colourful. The company has deployed no fewer than nine references, none of which weighs more than 100 grams, including strap. This watch marks a return to Graham’s rebellious spirit, with combinations of colours and materials that pay little mind to existing conventions.
The Chronofighter Superlight Carbon in different colours © WorldTempus/Olivier Müller
From Nose to Noise
Graham’s third and final riposte takes the codes of the successful Nose Art series and transfers them into a new model known affectionately in-house as… Noise Art! The idea is to move from a military-inspired series to a collection that conveys the rock ‘n roll spirit of the same era (the 40s and 50s), channelling images of drive-in movies and Happy Days.
Noise Art: Chloé and Lucia © Graham
Linda, Belle, Chloe and Lucia take up provocative poses on black, grey and blue dials in four limited series of 100 watches each. For the time being, the recipe still seems fresh and innocent. In 2019 the novelty will probably have worn off, and we can expect Graham to either retire its pin-ups or give them some kind of makeover. For instance, they would lend themselves to animation, with a leg indicating the time, or they could bring in some SuperLumiNova. That will ensure that this cult double collection, Nose Art and its successor, Noise Art, remain prized collectors’ items.
Noise Art: Belle and Linda © Graham