Graham refloats its Swordfish chronograph, an eye-catching timepiece distinguished by its two prominent portholes on deck to magnify the elapsed time counters. The 46mm hulls are made from bronze and steel but the look of these two limited editions models couldn’t be more different.
The Swordfish has been navigating in Graham’s collection since the early 2000s and captured the zeitgeist of the day with its XXL dimensions and protuberant portholes on the dial. Oversized, googly-eyed watches were very much in vogue back then, remember MB&F’s HM3?
Bronze and steel hulls
Unlike the iconic Chronofighter with its distinctive trigger on the left, the chrono pushers and crown of the Swordfish have been relocated to the right side of the case and the sub-counters on the dial have been reversed to respect the new configuration. For a detailed analysis of the evolution of the Chronofighter’s unique trigger on the left side of the case, you can read Xavier’s article. Presented in bronze and steel cases, Graham’s new versions of the Swordfish Chronograph have two distinct personalities. The bronze model (made from a resilient alloy used by the naval industry) exudes a more vintage-marine spirit while the steel model is decidedly more contemporary.
However, being Graham, some basic tenets have been respected including the XXL case size of 46mm and the prominent mushroom-shaped chrono pushers. To ensure the water-resistance of 100m, the crown is sealed with two joints, while a crisscrossing Clous de Paris pattern on the heads of the chrono pushers facilitates grip. The finishes are refined with satin-brushed bezels and contrasting polished surfaces. Both models have a sapphire crystal caseback with a Swordfish stamped on the glass and the limited number edition/ 33 engraved on the metal. For hypoallergenic reasons, the bronze model is fitted with a titanium caseback.
Swordfish eyes or portholes?
Distinguished by its elongated body, large eyes and sword-like bill, the swordfish is a formidable predator capable of reaching speeds of 90km/h. A couple of fun facts associated with the swordfish are that the ‘sword’ is not actually used to impale its victims, rather slash and injure its prey, and it possesses a very handy trick to improve its vision. Swordfish are endowed with a curious mechanism allowing them to heat up their eyes (and brain) to enhance their vision and catch fast-moving prey in cold water. According to Nature magazine, “heat-assisted eyes work more than ten times faster,” than cold eyes.
Whether or not the speed of the Swordfish (hence the chronograph) and its high-tech eyes (the magnified portholes) provided inspiration for Graham’s designers remains to be confirmed. But there is no escaping the most prominent feature of this watch: the ‘eyes’ – or for the more nautically inclined, ‘portholes’ – on the dial. Framed in either bronze of steel, the snailed ‘eye’ at 3 o’clock on the dial is a 30-minute counter and the one at 9 o’clock doubles up as a 12-hour counter and running seconds. This co-axial pairing of hours and running seconds means that the seconds hand glides over the more static hours hand. Although they seem to bulge, the sapphire crystal on the eyes is actually flat and is treated with an anti-reflective coating on the underside to avoid any glare.
With its bronze case, the model with the sun-brushed blue dial plays the retro card very well and displays contrasting white markings on the dial with a Swordfish at 12 o’clock. The cathedral-style hands for the hours and minutes are made from rhodium and treated with white Super-LumiNova, just like the tips of the chrono hands and small seconds.
The steel model with its sun-brushed black dial is highlighted with colourful accents and a large Roman numeral VI. Slightly edgier and more pop-arty than the bronze model, the steel model exudes a bold, contemporary vibe. The chrono hands are yellow with red tips and the small seconds hand is blue. A grey shade of Super-LumiNova is used on the cathedral hour and minute hands.
The Swordfish is fitted with an automatic chronograph calibre (G1710) based on a Valjoux 7753. With co-axial counters, an Incabloc shock absorber, a frequency of 4Hz, the movement has a power reserve of 48 hours. The main plate is decorated with circular graining and the bridges and rotor with Côtes de Genève and there are even blued screws.
Presented on a matching black or blue rubber strap with a mesh pattern on the surface, the strap is held in place by a steel pin buckle. Both models are limited editions of 33 timepieces. The Swordfish Bronze retails for CHF 8,950 and the Swordfish Steel for CHF 7,450. For more information, please consult www.graham1695.com.