The Graham Chronofighter Oversize ($6,900) is the latest offering from a brand that has long caught our eye. It’s a watch decked out with unique dial layouts, applied sub-dial magnifier portals that look like they’re straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an imposing size… and then there’s the trigger. The eye — and the thumb — is inevitably drawn to that big black carbon composite thing crouched on the watch’s west side.
The thumb is said to be the fastest of the five digits on your paw. Thus, the designers at Graham placed the trigger chrono pusher where it does the most good for blink-of-an-eye precision when timing laps at the track or grinding your morning brew. To do this, Graham designers rotated the Valjoux 7750 base movement 180 degrees and modified it to align the chrono start/stop pusher with the centerline of the crown. The reorientation of the movement is reflected in an appealing non-standard chronograph layout, which has running small seconds at 3 and chrono minutes at 6. This layout balances nicely with the trigger assembly; it’s also a nice change of pace from the 6-9-12 sub-dial layout of most 7750-based chronographs. The chrono function hands are hi-visibility orange, but you’d best be timing events of less than 30 minutes, as the designers have eliminated the chrono hours sub-dial.
Calibre G1747, automatic (Valjoux 7750 base)
Frequency: 28,800 Vib/h (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 48 hours
Chronograph (seconds, 30 minutes counter), date at 8:30
Hour, minute, seconds
47 mm stainless steel case
Black carbon left hand fast-action start/stop trigger and black rubber reset pusher
Black ceramic bezel
Water resistant to 10 ATM (100 meters)
Black dial, snailed hours and minutes counters
White Super-LumiNova hands, numerals and indexes, orange chrono and minutes counter hands
Domed sapphire crystal, anti-reflective coating on both faces
Water resistant to 200 ATM, 2,000 meters
Black techno-fabric strap
Steel pin buckle
The Chronofighter Oversize is an extremely legible watch, with white SuperLuminova hands, Arabic numerals, and indices on a black dial. Its round date window, tucked away discreetly at 8:30, is undersized, with smaller than typical numerals. Our only major trifle was the use of a black small running seconds hand against a black dial, which rendered the running seconds function very hard to read.
As if to give your thumb more things to do with that mesmerizing trigger, a telemeter — a scale used to determine the distance from the wearer to an audible event — is included in the outer ring of the dial. While there may not be too many uses for this feature, it’s a neat addition. Sudden lightning storm move in while you’re on your daily trek? Trigger the chronograph when you see the flash, stop it when you hear the thunder clap. See if you’re safe by reading the distance to the lightning strike in kilometers on the telemeter scale. The speed of sound in air is a function of air temperature (it’s a little more complicated, but we’ll leave it at that), so the telemeter is calibrated at 25 degrees Celcius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit (this fact is noted on the dial under the 12, lest you forget). Unfortunately, this tool is less than effective when noting the approach of angry in-laws.
The oversized 47mm case is done in stainless steel, with a black ceramic bezel that nicely resists scratches on one of the most exposed parts of any watch. You’ll find sapphire crystals front back, with the front crystal nicely domed and coated inside and out to minimize glare. The leather-lined black techno-fabric strap is an interesting touch, and lends the watch a black-ops feel. The tang on the oversized, signed buckle is uniquely shaped to eliminate most of the “strap kink” that usually accompanies buckled straps. That said, we’d also like to see a nice robust deployant clasp as an option.
All in all, the Graham Chronofighter Oversize was a satisfying daily wear for the several days it graced our wrist. More than one person asked about “that thing on the left side”, and it was our pleasure to introduce them to a unique timing device. It’s a big watch, but comfortable, with the strap lining preventing the watch from rotating on the wrist. We suspect a bracelet would not have done as well. Oh, and one more thing: our test thumb had the time of its horological life. Ever since we returned the Chronofighter, said thumb has had a subtle itch that can no longer be scratched.
METHODOLOGY: We tested the Chronofighter by wearing it from dawn til deep night for five days. We timed routine life events, from grinding coffee beans to multiple runs from the suburbs to downtown and back. Sadly, no lightning storms presented themselves during those five days.