The Graham Swordfish Bronze encapsulates several influences from the marine world. Employing bronze, an alloy widely used in the naval industry, and incorporating unusual magnified portholes which mimic the eyes of a swordfish, this chronograph provides a characterful alternative to some popular, albeit run-of-the-mill options.
The Swordfish, also known as ‘xiphias gladius’, is widely known for its flat bill. The large fish typically grows to 3 metres in length, albeit some examples are known to have grown up to 50% bigger. The largest examples of the fish have tipped the scales at 650Kg. However, despite their incredible size, they are able to scythe through water with amazing alacrity.
Graham, the Swiss watch brand based in La Chaux de Fonds, has employed the ‘Swordfish’ nomen for a range of distinctive chronographs, each endowed with prominent ‘eyes’. The brand’s choice of name seems inspired as the chronograph registers are magnified through two portholes, emulating the bulbous eyes of the eponymous fish.
However, beyond the scale of the swordfish’s eyes, they feature another unusual characteristic. A special organ, positioned near its eyes, heats the eyes and brain, improving the fish’s vision. Again, the magnified portholes seem to mimic this natural phenomenon.
While the Graham Swordfish Bronze is offered in steel, a watch I particularly liked when I reviewed it last month, the bronze case version in this review has even stronger ties to the marine world. Bronze has been widely used in the maritime industry for many years. Sextants, bells, valves, pumps and even propellors have been constructed in the copper-based alloy. This is because bronze forms a protective patina which helps prevent seawater corrosion.
The rationale for the ‘Swordfish’ soubriquet seems eminently logical.
Appraising the composition of this watch reveals some luxurious touches such as the 18-carat gold hands and indexes. This may seem at odds with the slightly informal character of the bronze case and fabric strap, but the unusual ensemble works surprisingly well. The green dial surface and matching fabric strap imbue the Graham Swordfish Bronze with a high quotient of style. The green tones appear fresh, new and unlike the tones I typically encounter in my professional role as a watch journalist.
In some cases, style comes at the expense of practicality, but no such criticisms could be directed towards this masculine timepiece. The case, crown and pushers feel robust, as if they were hewn from granite, while the dial is a paragon of lucidity. Quite simply, the wearer of this watch does not have to forgo practicality in the pursuit of style.
The Graham Swordfish Bronze does not walk along the well-trodden path of others, exploring unusual aesthetics which distinguish it as different. By adopting this approach, Graham may well have alienated some sections of the watch-buying public, however, other horophiles, myself included, will no doubt appreciate this model’s distinctive mien. Indeed, beyond its apt nomenclature, this is a watch I would dearly love to own.