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Fast T Formerly a backer of the defunct Brawn GP, Graham London is now an official sponsor

2

of the Mercedes Petronas GP F1 team. QP asks CEO Eric Loth how the partnership came to be and looks at the new watch to have emerged from it. Simon de Burton

In a previous issue of QP we brought you

chronographs feature 47mm steel cases,

watches and this new model is typically

news of Graham becoming the official

a sapphire crystal case back carrying the

well engineered, with a robust 50-hour

timing partner of the Isle of Man TT Races

Mercedes GP Petronas team logo and a

automatic movement and a well-detailed

and a backer of the Brawn Formula One

rubber strap patterned in the style of a

case with crisp hobnail decoration around

Team, for which it produced a special

wet weather race tyre. The dial comes in

the bezel. The piece is also water resistant

chronograph wristwatch. Well, Brawn is now

carbon or silver with a large 30-minutes

down to a sensible 100m.

a footnote in the history of Formula One

counter at 3 o’clock and a smaller 60

having been brought and transmogrified

seconds counter, subtly decorated with a

Graham’s deal with Mercedes GP does not,

into Mercedes GP Petronas – meaning that

rim in Petronas green, at 9 o’clock.

however, extend to drivers Nico Rosberg

the few Graham/Brawn GP wristwatches

and Michael Schumacher wearing the

that found their way into the public domain

The

in

watches as official ‘ambassadors’ (despite

might one day prove quite collectable.

comparison to other Graham models with

the fact that Schuey is no longer on

their often acid-bright colour schemes and

the Omega payroll as he was during his

But the situation does not mean the end

prominent ‘trigger’ pushpieces. Inspiration

Ferrari years).

of Graham’s involvement in Formula One,

for its design allegedly came from the

as the Swiss-made, British-inspired brand

historic Mercedes-Benz ‘Silver Arrows’

Genuine interest

is now the official manufacturer of the

racers, with the hands being based on

The impetus behind Graham’s links to two

Mercedes GP watch, which it launched

the profile of the points of the M-B star

and four wheels comes from the company’s

at Brooklands in July. The ‘Trackmaster’

mascot. Graham specialises in chronograph

CEO, Eric Loth, an amateur Porsche racing

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watch

is

remarkably

sober

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Track Sponsorship | 41

Mercedes GP Trackmaster Silver dial.

ST1129_QP45_Complete_02.indd 41

Mercedes GP Trackmaster black dial.

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42 | Sponsorship

driver and an enthusiastic motorcyclist.

Loth’s interest in motor sport attracted him

When QP caught up with him, he had,

to the Brawn GP team when it was looking

literally, just pulled-in to the pits in his GT3

for sponsors during its earliest days. The

while taking part in the Porsche Cup at the

result was the Graham logo appearing on

former Formula One track in Dijon, France.

the cars’ wing mirrors and the creation of the aforementioned Brawn GP wristwatch.

Loth established The British Masters SA

Loth at Silverstone during the Brawn days.

in 1995 having secured the licence to use

“I

some of the best-known names in English

team principal] and Nick Fry [CEO of the

watchmaking, among which are Arnold

Mercedes F1 team] to be very easy going

and Son, Tompion and Graham. Loth and

and just the sort of people I like to work

the other British Masters directors, who

with,” Loth told QP. “We established a very

include William Asprey of Mayfair’s William

good relationship during the Brawn era so

and Son luxury goods store, have worked

it seemed natural to carry it on when the

hard to promote the ‘Britishness’ of the

team was bought by Mercedes. But we

Graham brand, which takes its name from

couldn’t just re-badge the Brawn watch.

the

18th-century

English

found

Ross

Brawn

[Mercedes

F1

horologist

We had to do something different as that

George Graham who is sometimes referred

watch followed the ‘code’ of Brawn which

to as the ‘father’ of the chronograph. And,

is not the same as the ‘code’ of Mercedes.

it is in his honour that the most accurate column wheel movements power today’s

“We formed an objective to do something

Graham chronographs.

a bit more subtle in design, something that

Eric Loth flanked by Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher at the launch of the Mercedes GP Trackmaster.

Ross Brawn proudly sporting his Graham.

Nico Rosberg driving the Graham-sponsored Mercedes car.

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Sponsorship | 43

The Silverstone GMT Stowe.

The Brawn GP Trackmaster Tourbillograph – a unique automatic chronograph with tourbillon.

fits better with the Mercedes DNA. We are targeting

drivers are concerned, we are

people who want something classic but something

simply very happy that Nico

that is also fresh and technical - something with

has independently acquired a

fewer colours and add-ons. It would, after all, have

Graham Oversize GMT with a

seemed a bit ridiculous to do a Mercedes watch in

British Racing Green dial that he

one of our brightest, most crazy colours.”

will wear off-track. We’d love to present one to Michael, too, but

Does this mean, therefore, that the instantly

our strategy has never been to

recognisable Graham watches that we have come

buy our ambassadors so we’ll

to know and love, with their Forth Bridge-like

just have to wait to see whether

construction and screaming hues, could become a

or not he decides to wear a

thing of the past?

Graham out of his own choice.”

“Not at all,” assures Loth. “But we have decided to

The Silverstone Stowe

introduce a simpler GMT model influenced by the

And adding to it’s motor racing-inspired models,

Trackmaster towards the end of the year.”

Graham has recently launched a watch called the

The very exclusive Chronofighter Rattrapante, available only through Harrods.

Silverstone Stowe GMT, a 48mm, PVD-coated But why, despite the clearly strong association with

chronograph named after the infamous corner at

the Mercedes GP team, are drivers Schumacher and

Northamptonshire’s renowned track. Available in

Rosberg not going to be wearing Graham watches

two versions with either green or red detailing

in any official capacity? “Unfortunately, Graham is

around the bezel and minute counter, the watch has

not in a position to do watch endorsements with

a flyback chronograph function, two time zones,

Michael and Nico,” Loth told QP. “We are lending our

big date display and a tachymetre scale for speed

full support to the team and our best ambassador

and distance calculations. The carbon dial features

remains team principal Ross Brawn himself who

white, luminous numbers and the rubber tyre tread

wears a unique version of our Tourbillograph

strap has either a red or a green stripe according to

Trackmaster Chromium with special bridges and

the colourway of the watch. Production is limited to

a personally engraved movement. As far as the

250 examples priced at around £6,000. 8

Further information: www.graham-london.com

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25/10/2010 14:34


graham