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Accurist Classic British Watches (The 7 Best Models)

Posted on January 05 2021


Accurist British Watches

 

Accurist is a British watch brand owned by Time Products Ltd - the company that also owns Sekonda and Limit watches. Until 2014, Accurist was a family-run business, having been founded in the 1940s by a husband and wife team.

They specialise in very affordable quartz watches, with an emphasis on classic British styling. As a British watch fan, I’ve had a fair few Accurist models through my hands over the years. I’d like to take you through a little of the brand’s history and then present a list of what I believe are the seven best Accurist watches currently available.


The History of Accurist Watches


The Accurist company was founded by the Loftus family - originally Russian immigrants who came to Britain at the beginning of the 1900s. By the 1940s the family was settled here and one the children, Asher, was already involved in the watch trade.

In 1946, along with his wife Rebecca, he founded his own watch company.

The brand was initially created with the intention of producing distinctive and affordable watches made from Swiss components. The name Accurist suggests an accurate wristwatch while also being recognisably English. The couple launched this new brand from their shop in Clerkenwell, London.

Despite the intention to produce affordable watches, the company was also keen to promote the quality of their products. They advertised their watches on TV using the slogan Accurist 21 Jewels - a reference to the 21 jewel lever movement used in their watches.

This contributed to the brand being recognised throughout Britain.

 



By the 1960s, Asher’s two brothers were also involved in the family business. Richard, a recent University graduate, created a new sub-brand - Old England. This collection was marketed to fashion-conscious youth. The designs were bold, colourful and ultimately as much a part of the swinging sixties as the mini-skirt. Indeed, Twiggy was one of those who wore the watch, along with The Beatles and Princess Anne.

Having launched the Old England line worldwide in 1967, the company created a US showroom and then a Swiss office a year later. Accurist was truly an international brand, with a foot in the United States and a base in La Chaux de Fonds - the heart of Swiss watchmaking.

The introduction of quartz watches killed many watch companies during the 1970s. Accurist pre-empted the worst of this by switching production from Switzerland to Japan and embracing the new technological innovations. Continuing their marketing efforts, they had celebrities including John Cleese advertise their watches and their new digital models were worn by the pilots of the newly launched Concorde aircraft.

Although now manufactured in Japan, the brand was still at the forefront of popular British culture.

By the 1990s Accurist was the leading British watch company. This was when I bought my first Accurist watch - which was subsequently stolen and then quickly replaced by a similar model. Like Rotary, I have a bit of a soft spot for the brand, having taken an interest when I had my first real job and a bit of disposable cash.

The brand continued to produce interesting collections, including replicas of the Accurist Millennium Countdown Clocks, reproductions of clocks and watches held by the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. It was around this period that they also worked with England’s football team.

Having expanded the business to include the distribution of Versace watches, the three Loftus brothers ultimately sold Accurist to Time Products Ltd. This acquisition, in 2014, ended nearly 70 years of family ownership - although the business is still British owned, with headquarters in Leicestershire, England.


Where are Accurist Watches Made?


Accurist made their name as a British watch company that manufactured mechanical watches using Swiss components. They even opened an office in Switzerland to help with their sourcing of Swiss watch parts.

With the introduction of quartz technology, the company was quick to spot the danger to traditional Swiss watch production and moved its manufacturing to Japan. At some point, this inevitably led to Chinese production, albeit with Japanese movements.

Are Accurist Watches Good Quality?


The new ownership of the company is important when looking at Accurist. Time Products Ltd is owned by Marcus Margulies who has been described as a Bond Street luxury watch legend. He was raised in a watchmaking family, worked at several Swiss watch factories and now has the best collection of Audemars Piguet wristwatches outside of the company museum.

He’s a dealer in rare and collectable watches and also owns Sekonda, Limit and Accurist. Like Sekonda - a company created by his father - Accurist is an entry-level watch brand.

Although Chinese made, you can see from my list below that the watches are powered by Japanese movements. They have the workmanship and build quality that you’d expect at this inexpensive price-point and the reliability and accuracy that the Japanese movements are famed for.

The brand’s watches tend to have quartz movements, minimal water resistance and, in most cases, mineral crystals. With their most affordable watches retailing for less than £50, and their best designs a little over £100, this is what I’d expect when shopping in this price range.

They don’t represent the extreme value for money of a Russian brand like Vostok, or a Chinese homage brand such as Corgeut. But when compared with other brands on the high-street, particularly the fashion brands, they stand up well against the competition.

The Seven Best Accurist Watches


Taking into consideration everything that I’ve discussed above. The British history, the brand’s involvement with the youth culture of the swinging sixties and the new ownership, these are my current favourite Accurist models.

As always, when coming up with my best-of list, I’ve selected the watches based on their design, specifications and price .

 

Accurist Retro Racer Watch
There’s a lot that I value in a watch like this. At the risk of overwhelming you with links, I’m a fan of retro watch designs, black and white chronographs and cushion case models. This one affordable Accurist watch ticks all of those boxes.

And it does so at an RRP of £129.

Admittedly the specs aren’t anything special. But they’re not bad either. It all comes down to the design for me. It’s marketed as a retro-styled racing chronograph and it really does look the part. The 43mm cushion case is just the right mix of square body and rounded corners and the symmetrical reverse panda dial adds enough colour to be sporty, while still being a simple contrast of black and white.

There are versions of the Retro Racer with stainless steel Milanese bracelets, but I prefer this variation with the leather racing strap. It feels a little more authentic. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to Accurist.

Accurist Retro Racer 7367

  • 43mm Diameter
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 



Accurist Classic 7263 Watch
The Classic collection has more straightforward designs, ranging from relatively generic dress watches to interesting smart-casual models like this one.

There’s no groundbreaking design here, and unlike the Retro Racer, the aim isn’t to hark back to an earlier era. However, it does still have a classic, tried and tested aesthetic of sorts. But the day window at 12 o’clock, whilst not being unique, is a feature that isn’t too common. It adds a lot to the design.

With the neat date window at 6 rather than 3 o’clock, the watch has a slightly unconventional look - but still remains classically styled. I like it. The colours are simple, but the Sunray dial and touches of red draw my eye to the watch.

It’s another quartz model, with a little water resistance and a real leather strap. At well under £100 it costs around the same as a night out - that’s not a much for a well thought out, mid-sized dress watch.

Accurist Classic 7263

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 



Accurist Signature Chronograph Watch
Having sung the praises of the Retro Racer, with its vintage-style case and reverse panda dial, I find myself even more drawn to this model. In many ways, the two watches are similar. They share a common colour palette, chronograph features and a general retro vibe.

The Signature chronograph is the more conventional of the two and has an angular 40mm case that is my perfect size. The dial, with its three sub-dials, is busier than the Retro Racer but manages to look less flamboyant. Despite the bold retro-styling of this watch, it retains an air of functionality. Less sporty and more of a watch as a tool.

If push comes to shove, this would be my first choice for an Accurist watch.

You know the specs, so there are no surprises there.

Like the previous chronograph, everything comes back to the design. It’s modestly sized, with a spartan black and off-white colour scheme. There's a hint of age but this watch wouldn’t look out of place with a modern suit.

Where the Retro Racer benefited from the leather strap, this model is much better matched with the 22mm stainless steel bracelet. This has to be a contender for my best sub-£100 watch.

Accurist Signature Chronograph 7216

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 



Accurist Retro Steel Watch
Again, I’d like to present another retro-styled piece. This time the watch has a barrel case - a shape little used on modern watches.

In terms of specifications, it is once again a fairly simple watch. Quartz powered, 40mm wide and with a mineral crystal. At the risk of repeating myself, the appeal is in the design and the price.

There’s no colour on the design this time, just a very basic stainless steel and silver combination. Where the Retro Racer recreates the sporty aesthetics of the 1970s, this model goes for a more formal style from the same period.

The design is recognisable as the type of watch that my dad really did wear then and that certainly explains part of the appeal. There are a couple of nice touches on the piece, including a signed crown. The result is a very affordable retro watch that would, at a glance, pass for a vintage model.

Accurist Retro Steel 7334

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 



Accurist Signature Diver Watch
This is the first of a couple of Accurist divers that caught my attention. Often dive watches are at the core of a brands range, but Accurist made their name with classic British watches - a marketing tool that they still use - so dive models aren’t over-represented in their line.

From the previous models, you’ll now be aware of the Accurist DNA. The basics that are consistent across the brand’s range. Essentially the watches are, for the most part, basic designs with little in the way of flair or originality. They are good at what they do and they do it inexpensively, but gone are the days when rock stars, models and royalty wore their groundbreaking designs.

There’s nothing wrong with that. You just have to be realistic with what your money will buy you. In this case, the watch is listed online for around £70. For that you get a 200M rated dive watch with a screw-down crown and a sapphire crystal - with an AR coating.

What you don’t get is a unique or groundbreaking design. I’m absolutely fine with that. £70 for a reasonably stylish and legitimate dive watch is a win for me. I may prefer an Invicta or Vostok if I really had to make a choice - but neither would be available in my local high street like the Accurist.

This is good for an everyday beater or for your teenage sons first watch.

Accurist Signature Diver 7270

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 



Accurist Divers Watch 7269
This is the same watch. The same size case, the same sapphire crystal and the same 200M water resistance. A quick check online confirms that it has the same RRP too.

Where it differs is in the design. Everything is just a little larger and bolder. The text on the bezel and its knurled edges, the hands and the over-sized markers. There are crown guards on this model and the crown is just a little larger and has a touch of colour. Indeed, it’s all more colourful and sporty. I like it.

Where the 7270 model is typical for a desk diver and has the features needed for diving, this watch looks like it is designed for watersports. They both have their place in a watch collection, but this latter is the better of the two options if you want your sports watch to look like it was designed for sports.

Accurist Diver 7269

  • 43mm Diameter
  • 13mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance

 



Accurist Classic 7360 Watch
The final watch on my list is a classically styled piece that could be seen as a typical Accurist design. It’s a classically styled watch that straddles the dress watch and sports watch camps in much the same way as the Rolex Explorer or Omega Aqua Terra.

It’s slightly larger than my ideal, but 42mm isn’t overly large or a deal-breaker.

What I like is that it takes that straightforward slim case - without crown guards - and adds a textured and colourful dial. The hands and indices are plain and the text on the dial is kept to a minimum.

But, the dial is bright green.

That alone draws the eye and the additional texture keeps my interest. That’s a lot to ask of a sub £100 high street watch. And the specs are decent enough - the reliable Japanese quartz movement and 100M water resistance. The only thing I would have really liked would have been the sapphire crystal from the two divers, but that is probably asking a bit much at this price.

Accurist Classic 7360

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 

Conclusion


From humble beginnings, as a small family ran firm in post-war Britain, Accurist grew to be the watch worn on the wrists of The Beatles. The husband and wife founders had a clear vision - to produce affordable British watches built from Swiss components.

It was a successful venture. Market British watches to the British consumer while stressing the use of movements made by the Swiss - the acknowledged world leaders in watch production.

By the 1960s the company’s sub-brand, Old England, was seen as a desirable addition to the wardrobes of the country’s fashionable youth. Accurist expanded internationally, opened a showroom on the US and offices in the heart of Switzerland’s watch industry.

They were then able to avoid the worst of the competition from quartz watches by embracing the technology, switching production to Japan and subsequently to China.

Although no longer family-owned, the brand is still in British hands - now held by Marcus Margulies, owner of Sekonda and Limit.

They’re a brand that I have mixed feelings about. There’s nothing particularly inspiring about the company other than its backstory as a British success. But they do produce some very nice watches, particularly when judged against the price-tag. I’d therefore suggest that you follow a few of the links in this post and take a closer look at the watches yourself.



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