What have been your priorities, since you were made CEO last year?
Very simply, to understand the brand, what it’s about, its strengths and weaknesses. Once I had identified those, I undertook a process of simplification, to help us amplify our differentiation. It’s an effective way of aligning our resources with our needs. Following this logic, we then had to redefine our markets and collections. In short, we had to create a better overall cohesion between our markets, strengthen our products and reposition them price-wise.
What are your main markets today, and how are they structured?
Graham is present in around fifty countries, and also through three subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and a branch in the USA, which recently moved to New York.
How was your presence at Baselworld this year (rather than in an adjacent street) an advantage this year?
Let’s rewind a little to establish the context. At the time, leaving the fair marked a clearly different approach, particularly when you remember that there were many more visitors, and they stayed for longer, often throughout the whole event. It was the best decision Graham could have made to leave at that point, if only to be able to express itself in its own universe, and provide our clients and other visitors with meaningful personal contact. Times have changed since then. People’s behaviour has changed too, with shorter visits to the fair overall. We therefore wanted to make things easier for our partners, and meet their current needs, by coming back to Baselworld. In hindsight, it was a good decision, and sent a strong message about our future investment.
How are your collections positioned now?
We have two distinct collections: Chronofighter and Silverstone. The Chronofighter line with its distinctive lever, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2016, is our brand’s signature piece. Silverstone is a colourful and technical series with a motor sports connection. Finally, we have a separate collection comprising special pieces with complications that showcase our heritage and our origins.
Which markets are the most attuned to your products?
As we speak, Graham is enjoying double-digit growth, thanks to our collections and good turnover in our main markets, which are Asia and the US.
How would you define the brand today?
Free because we are independent.
Free to express ourselves through our products.
Free to be fun and different.
Free to target men…
While giving free rein to women to choose our products too!
Do you believe there is too wide a gap between the Chronofighters and the Geo.Graham?
The spheres on the dial representing the celestial bodies are positioned in a manner that the wearer can view their relative positions to one another like a conventional planetarium does. However, in this situation, only a small portion of this solar system is in perspective, so maybe that’s why Graham initially called it a “planetarian?” If you consider the diamond and engraved tourbillon situation as sunlight, then it’s possible to observe the elegant layout with the Earth and its own orbiting moon, in addition to the red-colored world that represents Mars.The elliptical orbit of Mars relative to Earth and the Sun are exhibited through the track lines on the dial. The planet’s route doubles as either a Gregorian calendar as well as Zodiac calendar. To get you in the mood for the classic theme, the months on the dial have been written in their own “original” Latin. Unlike the dark grey face of the first Orrery view, this Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon 2017 edition has a blue face.The movement interior of the Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon is the standard G1800 Tourbillon Orrery which operates at 3Hz (21,600bph) with a power reserve of three times. The watch case is big at 48mm broad (17.6mm thick) and is produced from 18k pink gold. Water-resistance is 50m… so take a light swim while understanding how far Mars is from our blue planet. This benchmark 2GGBP. U01A Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon watch is going to probably be limited to eight pieces, and I feel the price is the same $330,000 because the original version.
The Geo.Graham collection was developed to meet the demands of collectors. These models pay tribute to George Graham, so we clearly had to respect historical accuracy by offering watches without a lever. A more classic look was essential. We believe we were right to offer this diversity. The Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon is a perfect example: launched in Basel in 2017, this limited series of eight pieces has almost sold out – there’s only one left.
What was the idea behind the “nose art” models?
Fun, levity, a smile in what can be rather a serious industry. Nose Art was about enjoying a moment of freedom, of escape, before leaving on a mission. It’s subversive art, and it carries a great emotional charge. When you think that, during one of the darkest periods of the 20th century, aircraft pilots succeeded in placing their imagination and talent at the service of their crews and their cause, you have to respect that.
Recently, the focus has turned inwards, the industry is dull, and there is a certain sameness. With the Nose Art, which fits perfectly with our history in aviation, we wanted to send a strong message and raise spirits. #goodvibes
This collection provides a refreshing change in the current watchmaking landscape. That’s part of our mission as an independent producer.
What other territories will the brand explore?
At Graham, we love to explore new avenues, while keeping our main focus on men. We have many things in the pipeline, particularly for the end of the year. The new limited Christmas series is one, with the pin-up Merry. Discover it on WorldTempus!