February 27, 2017
by Ariel Adams
Back in 2013, Graham released a very avant-garde (putting it lightly) astronomical watch known as the Graham Tourbillon Orrery (hands-on here). Priced at over $300,000, this planetarium-style watch (which they referred to as a “planetarian” at the time) had an extremely complicated movement produced for Graham by Christophe Claret and was said to be a limited edition of only 20 pieces.
For 2017, the Orrery is back with some aesthetic tweaks as well as a nomenclature refinement, now being called the “Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon.” The major “news” is that the planetarium-style display which has the Sun, Earth, Moon, and Mars on the dial now has different materials for the planets and the moon. The Earth is represented by a 3.2mm-wide polished sphere of Kingman Turquoise, while the moon (0.9mm wide) and mars (1.7mm wide) are each respectively made out of meteorites which have fallen to Earth and are said to have originated from the planetary bodies they represent.
The largest solar system feature on the dial is the sun, which is represented in true baroque style with a hand-engraved 18k pink gold bridge over the tourbillon that if you look closely has dual phoenix heads in it. All of this is said to be inspired by a machine produced by the brand’s namesake, George Graham, quite a long time ago.
Looking at the dial of the Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon, it’s easy to get confused as to what you are seeing, though in reality the concept is rather straightforward. First are the off-centered hands for the hours and the minutes which are why the item is worth toting around on your wrist. Then, there is the tourbillon under the engraved cage which lends “haute horology” cred to the piece. From there, you have the more interesting astronomical functions which seek to track the relative movements of the Earth, Moon, and Mars around one another, as well as the sun. Heaven forbid you let the 72-hour power reserve wind down and have to reset this functionality yourself.
One additional function is a 100-year indicator on the back of the watch on the movement. Around the periphery of the movement is a year scale to track the current year. Graham includes two additional discs with the watch which can be installed by a watchmaker for two additional hundred year periods. Sometimes I really wish I had a time machine if only to see what’s going on with these watches 290 years into the future…
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 such as a traditional planetarium does. However, in this case, only a small part of the solar system is in view, so perhaps that is why Graham originally called it a “planetarian?” If you think of the diamond and engraved tourbillon case as the sun, then you can see the elegant layout with the Earth and its orbiting moon, as well as the red-colored sphere that represents Mars.
The elliptical orbit of Mars relative to Earth and the Sun are displayed via the track lines on the dial. The Earth’s path doubles as both a Gregorian calendar as well as Zodiac calendar. To get you in the mood for the classic theme, the months on the dial are written in their “original” Latin. Unlike the dark gray face of the original Orrery watch, this Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon 2017 edition has a blue face.
The movement inside of the Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon is the caliber G1800 Tourbillon Orrery which operates at 3Hz (21,600bph) with a power reserve of three days. The watch case is large at 48mm wide (17.6mm thick) and is produced from 18k pink gold. Water-resistance is 50m… so take a light swim while knowing how far Mars is from our blue planet. This reference 2GGBP.U01A Graham Geo.Graham Orrery Tourbillon watch will be limited to eight pieces, and I believe the price is the same $330,000 as the original model. graham1695.com