Graham Races To Baselworld: A Reminiscence
Lighter and faster: Graham’s speedy new models dig deep into the motorsports heritage that has inspired the brand’s CEO, Eric Loth.
Why the camouflage scarf, then?
For the fifth consecutive year at Baselworld, Graham set its pit box one kilometer away from the Messeplatz “circuit” that is the world’s biggest watch trade fair to set up camp right in front of the placid Badischer Bahnhof.
It’s always a treat to walk the distance for a sushi refuel at the modified restaurant where Eric Loth directed his crew like a Formula 1 boss.
Energetic and charismatic, Graham’s CEO assumes pole position and leaves his engines running; with him, it’s always full throttle when the time comes to talk about two of his biggest passions: racy watches and fast cars.
The majority of this year’s new Graham products are inspired by motorsports including the Silverstone RS to the Chronofighter Oversize Superlight Carbon chronographs. Both represent an evolution on previous Silverstone RS and Chronofighter Oversize collections, but with added emphasis on the choice of materials.
Four more new Silverstone RS references featuring evocative technology and design codes worthy of the most advanced motorsport technology join the three limited editions issued in 2013.
One of these, the Silverstone RS Skeleton, is a sophisticated combination of steel blackened with DLC and contrasting 18-karat gold accents on the crown, pushers, knurled aluminum ring under the black ceramic bezel, hands, flange on the bi-compax dial and tachymeter graphics. The dial is semi-skeletonized, allowing nuances of light to come through the lateral porthole on the 46 mm case.
“Last year we launched the first Silverstone RS Skeleton series, and its success encouraged us to go a little bit further with several versions,” Loth explained. “We had to go in two directions: luxury and continuing to develop the sophisticated spirit of the model we did in a gold-and-black version.
But the highlight clearly is the very technical Endurance 24 based on my own experience as a racer. We have a double chronograph that features a flyback counter designed to time a 24-hour race and another counter operated by a monopusher to measure lap times while the race timer runs untouched.
Behind the making of the piece was the logic of a racer. The Endurance 12 has the same overall aesthetics, but a less complicated movement without monopusher and flyback, pared to the essentials and less expensive.”
The fast and furious Silverstone RS Endurance duo boasts vertical tri-compax, black-smoked dials and sporty sophistication in a masculine 46 mm case. The RS Endurance 24HR in a black DLC case proposes the dissociated time measurement of a 24-hour race and lap time thanks to a monopusher movement developed with a double chronograph function meeting endurance racing requirements.
The number of lap times that can be measured is limitless since it works in an independent manner; a second measurement is operated through a secondary chronograph with a 24-hour counter and flyback function, activated by the red pusher at 4 o’clock. The RS Endurance 12HR in a black PVD stainless steel case has orange hues instead and presents a simpler automatic caliber, but with the same allure.
The Silverstone RS Supersprint has a smaller case but is also a worthy member of the racing family. “It was requested by the market, some markets wished to have a smaller piece so we came up with a nicely proportioned 42 mm piece where the top is 44.”
Graham’s CEO even admitted, “We played with the dimensions and it turned out to be the best smaller sized version I’ve done in my career. Doing it smaller is not always a success and we tried to rearrange the movement by doing it thinner and smaller but nicely proportioned. It looks like 44 but feels like 42.”
Its main distinction is the presence of a mirror graduation around the dial; the use of the mirror is the professional solution to ensure exact reading: when the red chronograph hand stops, it is possible to read the time to an eighth of a second thanks to the mirror. The second hand placed on top of its reflection will give an accurate measurement.
The same high-level of technology and racing codes can be seen on the Chronofighter Oversize Superlight Carbon – unprecedented complex machining processes was necessary to realize this first carbon fiber Chronofighter .
The super-light 47 mm black carbon nanotube composite case is enhanced by a carbon-fiber trigger, bezel, dial and buckle. “We needed two years to get there. I could have done it earlier but the cost of the components was simply too high. The buckle, trigger, bezel, dial, case in nanotube carbon – everything is in carbon!”
Malleable and lightweight, carbon fiber is the preferred material in aeronautics, car racing, aerospace, sports and other domains that require lightweight strength and performance. By combining carbon fiber and a strong polymer matrix, carbon fiber composites are reshaping the world of high performance while providing conditions to create a time machine that is simultaneously light (less than 100 grams) and very resistant.
So what does the stylish camouflage scarf that Eric Loth was proudly wearing around Basel have to do with racing? Not much except the motorsport-inspired time-machines of a new Chronofighter series, which are based on a militaristic look!
“I believe that this one was in the air for a very long time. We did it some time ago on a Chronofighter series and had nice success. I think camouflage is becoming a luxury item. Many top-end brands are using camouflage to go to new patterns. As we have got a connection to the army and the use of the watches in World War II, we decided to go in that direction.”
Each camouflage-styled dial is engraved on the elapsed seconds counter with a unique identification number based on regimental numbers. The trendy Chronofighter Oversize Black Arrow collection in black PVD with a silkscreen printed dial (beige, green or grey) features a plain carbon fiber trigger and a telemeter function for those who wish to monitor the elements.
The telemeter scale on the flange of the dial enables the wearer to measure distances using the differences between the speed of sound and speed of light. For example, you can start the chronograph when a visible event like lightning occurs and and stop it when you hear the thunder. The scale then tells you how far away the lightening was.
Since temperature influences the speed of sound, Graham’s engineers based the calculations on 25°C (the average temperature on earth). The distance in kilometers can be measured on the dial thanks to the scale around the perimeter of the dial (346 m/s).
Now how far was Baselworld from the Badischer Bahnhof headquarters where Eric Loth was based again?
For more information, please visit http://www.graham1695.com/en-gb/home.aspx.