Behold the Graham Fortress Monopusher Chronograph, a quintessentially Graham watch that’s however been toned down only a bit in order to enhance its probabilities. For many people, Graham has been characterised by its large, trigger-like chronograph pushers, novel use of colours and supplies, grand proportions, underappreciated construct high quality, and, let’s be frank, some controversial styling that usually borders on cartoonish. The Graham Fortress Monopusher Chronograph re-tunes quite a lot of these loud elements in favor of some unobtrusive vintage-military vibes, traces up that trademark and construct high quality, and attaches a hefty price ticket to function a reminder that there nonetheless ain’t no such factor as a free lunch in luxurious watchmaking.
Is the Fortress nonetheless a correct Graham? It positively is, from up shut and afar, alike. From afar, it’s nonetheless fairly loud, reminding me of the Morgan Three-Wheeler that has all of the scantily clad girls and bullethole stickers plastered over its quasi-military paint job. When you’ve got a type of, you just about should get a Graham Fortress.
The crown and its built-in monopusher are on the left-hand facet of the watch – I nonetheless put on it on my left wrist as a result of I really recognize the truth that the large onion crown isn’t digging into the highest of my wrist. However hey, if you’re a lefty who’s sporting the watch in your proper hand, this can nonetheless look “right” there. On a associated observe, shouldn’t there be an incredible many extra lefty luxurious watches? I believe there ought to be.
Priced at $7,750, the Graham Fortress ought to completely appear and feel costly, and – regardless of its unserious model – appear and feel costly, it does. It’s massive and vivid and glossy, however the case feels strong and, on a re-examination, delicately completed. The dial displays particulars discovered solely on proper-expensive watches, however extra on that later. The strap and particularly the borderline outsized tang buckle are superbly made: no exterior part was cheaped-out on.
Powered by what Graham calls the G1750 motion, the case encapsulates a modified ETA/Valjoux 7750. It’s not a Sellita: With sharp near-sight or only a weaker loupe, you’ll spot that it’s marked as an ETA below the stability wheel. Even the not-so-eagle-eyed amongst you’ll spot that it’s put in “upside-down” to convey the crown from the appropriate to the left facet of the case. The continual operating seconds subdial is, due to this fact, now at 9 o’clock and the date is at three – all straight-forward stuff.
The pusher, as I mentioned, is within the middle of the crown. It’s giant, simple to seek out and hit. Uncommon is the preliminary really feel: Beginning the chronograph takes some further drive when in comparison with the smoothest and best mechanical chronographs on the market. It being a monopusher chronograph, the beginning, stopping, after which re-setting are completed by three presses on the identical pusher. The primary push takes the best quantity of drive, stopping is simpler, and re-set is, comparatively talking, a breeze. I’ll take a extra reassuring press over a flimsy one any time, however frankly, the preliminary drive required belongs extra on a tool contained in the cockpit of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress than in your common luxurious watch. Come to consider it, a buttery easy press wouldn’t belong on this watch, and I presume Graham Fortress prospects will agree.
Measuring in at 47 millimeters in diameter, the Graham Fortress continues to be a loud watch, even with out off-the-wall coloration combos or that grenade pin-like pusher over the crown. By conventional watch sizing tips (i.e., the ends of the lugs should not lengthen past the sting of the wrist), the Fortress is optically too giant for my 6.75″ (17.2cm) wrist. Nonetheless, the strap had sufficient holes to permit me to get a comfortable match and put on it in precise consolation. Sporting it with lengthy sleeves was the way in which to go to scale back its outsized look. Between you and me, I’ll say that I want I may higher pull these watches off sporting quick sleeves.
The Chronofighter Prodive that I used to personal had a type of massive pushers, and I completely cherished the way in which it regarded and operated. That mentioned, regardless of the sphere/pilot watch theme, by some means the identical trigger-like pusher by no means actually clicked (see what I did there?) for me on the earlier Fortress. This built-in push-piece is a way more elegant answer. Water-resistance is rated at 100 meters, one other minute level that proves Graham isn’t reducing corners by sacrificing real-world, long-term utility and sturdiness. Each darn luxurious watch ought to have a minimum of 100 meters of WR – however many don’t, and I’m glad this one does.
The bezel is concave and satin-brushed, a element that provides greater than its fair proportion to the individuality of the Fortress. It will have been simple and handy to slap a refined and domed bezel on there, however that is how such an costly watch can and may stand other than the remainder. The case band and lugs are all polished, which makes me marvel if a full satin-brushed look would have labored higher with the theme. However then once more, if Graham desires to achieve a broader viewers, that viewers I’m instructed prefers an costly watch to have (fairly) a little bit of sheen to it.
Sporting a 47mm watch is never a discreet or forgettable affair – not while you’re within the act, a minimum of. That’s very true on my slim wrist, which wasn’t precisely designed for 45mm-plus wrist-clocks. Graham appears to have gotten the hold of issues in relation to designing giant watches, although, as is indicated by the deep integration of the straps between the lugs. The holes and the spring bars are near the case itself, leaving just about no hole between the strap and the case band – additional enhanced by the curved spring bars. All that is to say that the straps can flip downward straight subsequent to the case with no stiff part protruding and including but extra to the lug-to-lug dimension of the piece. The big tang buckle additionally helps with sporting consolation, as is generally the case in my expertise. Regardless of being giant and crafted in metal, the Fortress is a snug watch to put on.
The dial appears like essentially the most refined and costly part of the watch. There isn’t any approach round it — giant, intricately formed, raised hour markers with thick, polished frames look ace once they mirror the sunshine proper again at you. They make any dial look costly as a result of they’re very pricey and difficult to supply on this degree. Each index needs to be set on the actual identical airplane; the smallest deviation would imply that just some indices would mirror again at you whereas others wouldn’t. Evidently, that may nonetheless happen – however that’s to do with the sunshine supply, not the leveling of the indices.
The background is an virtually microscopic grain that appears rugged with out showing tough. The subdials are sunken beneath the grained airplane and have a floor therapy that’s someplace in between concentric rings and round polish – it’s not possible to tell apart with the bare eye. Appreciating these greatest will take an excellent loupe.
Legibility is nice each day in and, to my shock, time out. The yellowish lume on watches tends to have a distinctly weaker luminescence than the common off-white Tremendous-LumiNova. On this occasion, after I first walked right into a staircase from the sunny outside, I used to be pleasantly stunned by the evenness and brightness of the lume on the palms and indices. It will be simple to say that these particulars ought to in fact be good on a high-four-figure watch, however simply because they ought to be good doesn’t imply that that is the norm. Removed from it, in truth. The entrance sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating utilized to its inside, decreasing glare and additional aiding the already robust legibility of the rhodium palms.
Restricted to 100 items on this actual configuration, the Graham Fortress is lots much less prone to be dumped onto the grey market. Mixed with a tighter grip on distribution and discounting, Graham would possibly be capable to higher shield its wares from taking a success even earlier than the primary sale – and, consequently, additionally on the secondary market. Properly-made and enjoyable to put on for many who are into this form of stuff, the Graham Fortress is an costly, high-quality rendition of an off-the-wall quasi-military watch. You will get an identical vibe for lots much less — this theme has been in style lately — however the high quality of the case, dial, and different accouterments, in addition to the quirky monopusher upside-down motion, propel this into the luxurious watch class, as does the $7,750 value. You can learn more at the brand’s website.
>Mannequin: Fortress Monopusher Chronograph
>Value: $7,750 USD
>Dimension: 47mm-wide, 17mm-thick together with domed crystal, and 55mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally put on it: When sporting lengthy sleeves outdoors of formal events.
>Buddy we’d advocate it to first: The one with the Graham Three-Wheeler.
>Greatest attribute of watch: Excellent case, dial, strap, and buckle high quality that also goes unnoticed by many.
>Worst attribute of watch: Expensive. Chronograph begin motion requires a tad an excessive amount of strain.