In-Depth The Graham Chronofighter and Its Unique Trigger Explained

The evolution of Graham's cornerstone model.
ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Xavier Markl | 3 minute read

Named after the great British watchmaker, Graham was founded by Eric Loth in 1995. The Chronofighter, the cornerstone of the brand’s collections, is inspired by vintage military aviation pieces – in particular, 1930s and 1940s bomb timers. When it was launched in 2001, the model immediately drew attention, breaking out of the norm with its distinctive chronograph lever on the left side of the case and its imposing dimensions. The watch soon became the best-selling model of the brand and naturally evolved over time. Here’s a look at the main iterations of this trigger-actuated chronograph.

The Origins

The wristwatch pictured below – a 52mm time recorder/countdown wristwatch made for the Italian Air Force by Universal Geneve and retailed by Roman retailer Cairelli – is an example of a bomb timer manufactured in the 1930s and WWII. The combined crown and push-piece was a unique feature and allowed the wearer to operate the chronograph with ease using the thumb – the fastest of all fingers – even with gloved hands (to keep their hands from freezing during the flight).

2001 – The Chronofighter

Directly inspired by these military chronographs, the first Chronofighter was a radical departure from the rules of the luxury watch of the early 2000s. Aggressive, technical, it was an impressive 43mm (without taking into account the imposing trigger protecting the crown and chronograph reset pusher) at a time when the typical size for men watches was way below 40 mm. The watch is powered by the automatic COSC-certified calibre 1722 .

2006 – Chronofighter Oversize

In 2006, the Chronofighter got even larger with a 47mm case. Its design became more technical and angular. Several models adopted this new look, for instance with a chronograph GMT or with the first diver’s version (pictured below) with a rotating bezel, a Helium Relief Valve (HRV) and water-resistant to 300m/1000 feet.

Above: the 2006 Chronofighter oversize SAS with camouflage dial and titanium case was a tribute to the British ‘Special Air Service’. The 2007 steel Chronofighter Oversize Diver.

2008 – Chronofighter Rac Trigger

The Chronofighter Trigger (46mm) stands out among the other iterations of the model for its case design and its crown that is not protected by the trigger. The reset pusher is almost integrated into the case.

2011-2012 – Chronofighter 1695

Presented in 2011-2012, the 1695 is the most classic Chronofighter and pays tribute to George Graham. Its silver 925 case is 42mm with less of the macho design characteristics of the model. Its caseback is engraved with a representation of the Greenwich Royal Observatory. Its Roman numeral dial is inspired by pocket watches.

2012 – Chronofighter Oversize 2

In 2017, a second, modernized version of the oversized 47mm model is presented. The case design is even more technical and angular with a sloping bezel replacing the previously rounded bezel. The chronograph reset pusher is also revamped. Model below: Black Sahara.

2012 – Chronofighter Prodive

The Pro-Dive is the brand’s second diving version of the Chronofighter. 45mm in diameter, it features a screw-down crown, a rotating bezel (120 positions) and an Helium Release Valve. Graham filed two patents for this model: it is the first use of a trigger to drive a monopusher chronograph and it has been made functional down to 2000 feet (approx. 600m).

2016 – Chronofighter Vintage

In 2016, Graham celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Chronofighter model. With the Chronofighter Vintage, the model diameter was scaled down to 44mm making it a bit more restrained and wearable than its predecessors (relatively speaking, of course). The case was revamped into a less angular version to re-enforce the classic pilot watch look. The trigger was redesigned and paired with a knurled onion crown and a mushroom-shaped reset pusher.

2018 – Chronofighter Grand Vintage

Presented a Baselworld 2018, the latest Chronofighter is based on the ‘vintage’ design but returns to the brand’s original spirit with oversized dimensions at 47mm. The large sapphire crystal is slightly domed and features a date magnifier.

For more information, please visit graham1695.com.

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