Accurist watches were founded in 1946 in London and have had a fascinating and enviable history.
Originally made entirely with Swiss components, they captured the attention of celebrities and pushed the boundaries in design and advertising.
From the official watches worn by the pilots on Concorde to the first sponsors of the Talking Clock.
By 1993 they were the UK’s largest watch brand and provided the Atomic Clock to Greenwich Observatory.
These are just a few of the fascinating facts we bet you never knew about this quietly dignified watch brand. Read on to discover more on the fascinating history of Accurist watches!
Asher and Rebecca Loftus created Accurist in 1946 in London. They intended to create a brand name with lasting value.
As already mentioned, Accurist watches were then made entirely from Swiss components, as were most of their competitors watches at that time — this guaranteed quality and precision.
Along with very competitive pricing, Accurist soon became a well-known watch brand.
Accurist promoted the 21 JEWEL lever movement before any other watch company and “Accurist 21 JEWELS” became their company slogan, later followed by many of the competition.
They set another “first” by not following the traditional watch advertising model. Instead, they decided to promote the Accurist brand with a TV Campaign, airing regularly on “Sunday Night at the Palladium” (the most widely viewed television programme of its day).
At the time, however, watches were still once in a lifetime purchases. The founder, Richard Loftus, created a range of fashion watches called the Old England range. These were quickly seen on the celebrities of the day – The Beatles, Twiggy and Princess Anne to name just a few. These brightly coloured watches became synonymous with London, the mini skirt and Carnaby Street in the swinging sixties.
During the 1970s the introduction of the digital quartz movement happened. Technology developed from LED to LCD. Accurist’s digital quartz watch was chosen as the official watch for pilots of the Concorde aircraft.
Again, Accurist were at the forefront of TV advertising with the memorable John Cleese “Accur-ankle, Accu-wrist!” commercial which went on to win many awards around the world.
In 1983, after research, Andrew Loftus switched the manufacturing base from Switzerland to Japan. This resulted in an increase in Accurist’s UK business by over 500%.
The Speaking Clock
Accurist was appointed as the first-ever, official sponsor of British Telecom’s Speaking Clock. Since 1986 Accurist’s speaking clock has received almost 3 billion calls! Accurist withdrew from the sponsorship in 2008.
Accurist maximised this association with its slogan, “Accurist – the standard by which all watches are set”.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
By 1993 Accurist had become the UK’s largest brand in value terms and set its sights on the international market.
At the time The Royal Observatory at Greenwich, home of Greenwich Mean Time and The International Meridian Line, was undergoing a major renovation.
Accurist seized the opportunity to be formally associated with the Observatory, providing the new Atomic Clock. This officially records the time for the world.
In 1995 Accurist launched the “Greenwich Commemorative Collection” in over 20 countries to celebrate.
The Millenium Clock
In 1997 Accurist provided the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich with a Satellite controlled clock, to count down the last 1000 days of the 20th century to the Millennium.
This clock claimed to be accurate to within 1/10,000,000th of a second.
In 1987 The National Association of Goldsmiths awarded Accurist the first-ever Award of Excellence award.
In 1997 Accurist won the “Volume Brand of the Year” award at the UK Jewellery Awards.
In July 2000 Accurist won “Volume Watch Brand of the Year” at the UK Jewellery Awards.
At the UK Jewellery Awards in 2001 Accurist became the only watch company to have been awarded Accurist “Customer Service Award”.
1999 saw the launch of Accurist’s youth-orientated accu.2 range with the slogan, “no ordinary old timer”. The collection was stocked in over 1,500 outlets across the UK.
Strong advertising campaigns (including “sec’s machine” and ‘two-timer”) along with a great product design meant the range were are the forefront of fashion watches.
Accurist’s name was displayed worldwide on televisions and newspapers to welcome in the Millenium.
The Signature Range
Change of Ownership
In 2006 Accurist set up a new division to distribute other brands in the UK.
They started to supply Versace watches and jewellery in 2007 and also co-featured in the advertising campaign of the English football team – the only watch company to have done so.
In 2014 Time Products Ltd (the company that own Sekonda Watches), owned by Marcus Margulies, acquired Accurist.
Accurist have an excellent account of their fantastic history on their website here.
In 2003 the company signed a license to produce a range of replica clocks and watches from the Observatory and Museum’s historical collections to the National Maritime Museum.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich