The roots of this independently owned Swiss watch brand actually began in England, when George Graham began making his own watches back in 1695. Relaunched in 1998, Graham builds sporty watches for pilots under the Chronofighter line, auto-inspired watches in the Silverstone series, and more complicated horological watches in the Geo.Graham line.
The Graham watch brand is named after the famous British clockmaker, inventor, and geophysicist, George Graham (1673-1751). He is credited with a host of horological and astronomical inventions, including the Orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system built with Thomas Tompion (1639-1713), and a mural quadrant made for the Greenwich Observatory. Not to mention his invention for a temperature-compensated mercury pendulum and his work on perfecting the cylinder escapement and the deadbeat escapement, to name but a few.
George was born in 1673 in the county of Cumberland in North West England. In 1688 he made his way to London, where he became an apprentice to the clockmaker Henry Aske. At the time, a clockmakers apprenticeship was seven years long. In 1695 George was admitted a Freeman of the Clockmakers’ Company. His excellent work during his training had caught Thomas Tompion’s eye, the famous watch and clockmaker, and in 1969, George joined Tompion.
They continued to work together until 1713 when Tompion died, leaving his business to George Graham and his wife, Elizabeth. George Graham died on November 16th in 1751, at the age of 78. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, next to Britain’s Kings and Queens, and next to his mentor, clockmaker Thomas Tompion.
George Graham is known as the Father of the Chronograph. Between 1725 and 1730, he constructed an observatory timer for John Desaguliers. The weighted pendulum could be stopped and started at will and was the first step towards the present-day chronograph. The majority of Graham’s current timepieces are chronographs.
Graham timepieces have the crown, or trigger, as it is often called, on the left side of the case. This system is patented by Graham watches and brings a unique and intuitive function, which also gives more precision to the time measurement. The now-famous lever or trigger was used by pilots in WWII, allowing them to operate their chronographs while wearing heavy mittens, strapped into a tight space, and often at night time. They needed a fail-safe system to be able to operate the chronograph, so a left-hand lever, easily reached using your right hand, was ideal.
Today, this historical name is based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and is owned by Eric Loth. Eric graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, followed by a post-graduate degree in physical metallurgy and business administration. During his career, he worked at the Swatch Group in product development. In 1994 he decided to go out on his own and purchased Graham watches.
Eric Loth is a huge motor racing fan and started racing after falling in love with the sport at the Le Mans Bugatti circuit. He races in the Swiss Porsche cup with a Porsche GT2 RS.