May 2011


If the Silverstone Tourbillograph Full black were a character, no doubt it would be wearing a dinner jacket. A bespoke solid black one. Not so much that it would want to have a manicured life and sit in the best receptions, drinking champagne and smoking a cigar. Maybe partly because of its British heritage and tendency to always look smart. But most probably it would be wearing a dinner jacket to live an adventurous life, driving fast cars on and off the track. Breathing a special mixture of adrenaline and pure oxygen. Bringing body and mind to a state of hyper-consciousness. Enjoying every bit of life! Because here at GRAHAM, we think life would not be worth living without spice. Loads of it. We are risk-takers, and so are our watches.

The Silverstone Tourbillograph Full black is an automatic column-wheel chronographtourbillon. A Tourbillon. Not any Tourbillon. It is an automatic one minute Tourbillon developed in the vein of the GRAHAM DNA, with a powerful design and a rich technological content. The domed sapphire crystal offers unique full size dimensions (42 mm opening) and a see-through view on the beauty of the mechanism. The 48 components of its skeleton cage interlace in layers and has been reduced to an extreme weight of only 0.485 grams. This construction, called cintré integrates the Tourbillon into the complex chronograph movement while using a large diameter balance wheel. Made exclusively for GRAHAM by our partners Manufacture La Joux-Perret, it is the result of a 4 year R&D program leading to two patents. Altogether, the engineering knowhow has lead to doing away with the intrinsic weaknesses of tourbillons. First its fragility. The reduced number of components, lightness and double-bridge construction guarantee stability and perfect rigidity. We call it a shockproof Tourbillon. Second, the sensitiveness to magnetism is also reduced through the systematic use of iron free components in the Tourbillon cage. The Tourbillograph calibre is equipped with a high quality chronometric escapement beating at 28’800 A.

A Tourbillon. Not any Tourbillon. The Tourbillograph combines a Tourbillon and a chronograph. Not any chronograph. A column-wheel chronograph.

This movement offers at the same time the beauty of one of the best see-through Tourbillon cage
and the resistance of a military watch. How do we know? We have put it to the test. Not any test.
This movement has successfully passed the Chronofiable test, the gold standard in the watch industry. And it is to date the only automatic Tourbillon that has passed.

Aesthetically, the Silverstone Tourbillograph Full Black is a sophisticated and classy racing instrument. The 48mm thin steel case is PVD-coated with black titanium carbide. So is the bezel. Its black dial and polished rhodiated numerals play with the light. Sometime visible, sometimes invisible. One minute Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde the next. All is a question of perspective. Like wearing a
dinner jacket to live a risky life.

Case: 48 mm steel with black PVD
Movement: Calibre G1780, automatic see-though Tourbillon column-wheel chronograph
Jewels: 34 jewels
Vph: 28’800 A/h (4Hz)
Power Reserve: 48 hours power reserve
Tourbillon cage with 48 components, 13.78 mm cage opening, weighing 0-485 grams
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both faces, 42 mm opening, see-through sapphire case back
Strap: Black Crocodile

Certainly not a new watch, the Manometro, designed and released by Giuliano Mazzuoli in 2004, is a uniquely designed sport watch, modelled after the Manometro Tire Pressure Guage. The watches are handcrafted in with Swiss automatic ETA movements.

The Mazzuoli Manometro measures a healthy 45.2mm in Diameter, and 14.8mm thick. The round, cylindrical case really stands out and is completely recognizable on the wrist. The model I picked up is the white dial on black rubber bracelet and right hand crown. A pretty standard and very wearable color combination.

The gloss white dial is easy on the eyes and relatively easy to read. If the hands were a touch thicker it would be even easier to read. The second hand is a red arrow pointer, that reminds one of the tire pressure guages that the watch is modelled after. The rounded bezel is brushed stainless steel and looks fantastic.

As you can see, the dial is very shallow mounted, giving the watch sort of a top-heavy look. This works for the style and the only complaint I have with the design is the narrow straps. They look a bit disproportioned from the rest of the watch, and mounting and switching them is not that easy.

The crown is placed at 2 o’clock and cut with the Guiliano Mazzuoli logo and also very oversized, which works really well with the overall design. Kudos on the crown design and placement. One of my favourite parts of the design, in fact.

Finally a wrist shot to round of the quick shot mini-review here. The watch does measure an imposing 45.2mm, but since there are no lugs at all and a very narrow strap, the watch actually wears a bit smaller than you’d think, even with the cylindrical case. But, it does wear chunky also, so its a bit of an odd fit overall. A chunky, yet underwhelming strap makes the watch feel a bit unbalanced on the wrist, but it has a charm to it that harkens to its Italian design and heritage making it a great character piece for those who prefer the road less travelled.

As official timekeeper at Roland-Garros 2011, Longines is giving you the chance to win a trip to Paris as well as a number of magnificent Longines Column-Wheel Chronograph watches.

Three ways to enter and win:
on the Longines minisite Roland-Garros:
on the Longines Facebook page:
on the iPhone application

I stumbled upon some photos I took of a iron faraday cage from an Omega Seamaster Chronodiver 300m, so I decided to make a short post. Sometimes you might notice that watches have an Anti-Magnetic rating or spec shown on the case back of the watch, and might wonder what that means. Well, since automatic movements are susceptible to magnetic fields which can affect the accuracy of their movement, it is handy for them to have some magnetic protection, especially in this day and age.

That Anti-Magnetic Iron cage or shield is called a Faraday Cage, named after the English Scientist, Michael Faraday. The cage surrounds the movement of the watch and protects it from certain levels of magnetic fields. Some watches that have soft iron Faraday Cages inside: IWC Ingenieur, Omega Seamaster 300m, Rolex Milgauss.

Here is a shot of the Omega 1164 Movement underneath the Iron Cage:

Just posted a video review of my Spitfire Pilot’s Chronograph from IWC. This is the 42mm model ref 3717, which is a current model. This watch is unique in that its mounted on a Doppelchronograph bracelet, with different endlinks to make it fit. They give it a really cool somewhat more vintage look. The Spitfire Chrono is one of my favourite understated watches on the market, with the ability to dress up or down. Looks especially good with a suit on crocodile.

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