Graham Silverstone Flyback GMT ¶
Graham has become a legend among watch connoisseurs, a company that produces quirky and beautifully finished watches of the highest quality. Graham is in a unique position in the market, taking the history and prestige of British watchmaking and updating it with Swiss mechanisms and manufacturing. The Silverstone Chronograph that I’ll be featuring in this week’s blog is an excellent example of Graham’s unique styling cues and peerless finishing, the details that have made it a favourite with watch aficionados.
When asked about British watchmaking, most people draw a blank. Perhaps they may recall the invention of the marine chronometer by John Harrison way back in the 1730s. Odds are they will stare at you blankly if you mention the name George Graham. But Graham (the man) was a highly respected and influential watchsmith in the heady days of the 18th century. Graham developed several key innovations that would push watchmaking forward during the 1700s, notably the dead-beat escapement, training the inventor of the now ubiquitous lever escapement, and developing an early chronograph design. He was commissioned to build a clock for the Greenwich Royal Observatory. He even loaned money to the aforementioned Harrison fellow to help fund his chronometer project.
Graham (the company) was founded in 1995 by Eric Loth, under the header of British Masters. BM also manages the Arnold and Son brand; in recent years, Graham has become the sporting arm of BM while Arnold and Son takes care of the classic designs and high-complication watches. Since its rebirth Graham has focussed on making extremely high quality watches worthy of George Graham’s legacy.
Not content with off-the-shelf movement designs, Loth contracted Jacquet Droz to provide highly-finished movements based loosely on Valjoux ebauches (movement bases). The results is a highly precise and extremely reliable movement. Our Silverstone exhibits excellent accuracy, and second-to-none function – the chronograph engages with a light tap of the pusher, and can be stopped and restarted with zero freeplay in the second hand to ensure perfect split-second timing. On top of that this Silverstone has a big-date and GMT function, as well as a flyback mechanism on the chronograph. Everything functions flawlessly – the date and GMT set nicely, the date clicks over instantly at precisely midnight, and the flyback function is extremely precise and instantaneous. Just by handling the watch you know that there is an excellent movement lurking under the colourful dial and beautiful case.
The dial adds a nice splash of colour to the design, featuring a bicompax subdials for the running seconds and chronograph minutes, as well as a blue inner dial that shows the 24 hour GMT index (which is indicated by the tiny yellow hand). The three-tiered tachymeter scale on the dial is coloured dark blue, green and red to distinguish the three levels – an unusual design, as most modern tachymeter indexes only show one level to measure speeds in km/h or mph. Everything is topped off with a nice set of white luminescent hands, with the chronograph seconds had featuring a red tip. The details look classic, but the execution is fun and modern and very easy to read despite the complexity.
Aside from the movement, the case of the Silverstone is a real highlight. It features a trademark tall, tapered bezel around the ever-so-slightly domed sapphire crystal. The main body has a bulbous form set off by a high polish finish, merged into a set of classically styled lugs. While the watch appears enormous in photos, it’s actually a very modest 40mm, but still has a lot of wrist presence owing to the exaggerated details and 15mm thickness. The crown and pushers are solid and big enough to manipulate easily, and the asymmetrical design of the pushers (the start-stop pusher is taller than the reset) is a nice touch. Everything is topped off with a hand-sewn black alligator strap and a nicely designed buckle. And if you are wondering about that little leather bag attached to the buckle, it’s a lead seal formed around the short length of string. To remove it, you need to cut the rope – it’s to ensure that you know when the watch is new and unworn, because you cannot remove the seal without cutting that string. As you may guess, this watch is brand new, never worn, and comes with the box and papers and a one year warranty.
Graham has gone from humble beginnings and a storied past to become a true enthusiast’s brand – a little-known company that produces superb watches with unique designs that have become a favourite of watch lovers. This Silverstone is an excellent example of the quality and finishing we have come to expect from Graham. If you’d like to know more about this watch, or any others we have in stock, give me a call at 514 845 8878 or visit our contact page.