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The History of Accurist Watches

The History of Accurist Watches

As one of the most prevalent watch brands in the U.K., Accurist is deeply ingrained into British history and popular culture. The brand prides itself on its British-born heritage, its reliable and high-quality premium products, and its iconic history. A family-run business until 2014, it’s a rich history that makes Accurist such an esteemed and celebrated brand in today’s market.

The 1940s: Clerkenwell Roots and the Birth of ‘Accurist’

Since 1938, Asher and Rebecca Loftus had been importing Swiss watches to resell in the contemporary watchmaking capital of Clerkenwell, London. After eight years in the industry, they decided to expand their business by creating their own watch brand. And so, Accurist was born in 1946. 

Intending to create premium yet affordable watches made from Swiss components, the Loftuses wanted a brand name that had ‘enduring value’. They were advised initially by marketing experts to adopt a name that had quintessential ties to Britain, such as ‘Mayfair’. However, instead, the pair settled upon ‘Accurist’ for its links to the words ‘accurate’ and ‘wrist’. 

The History of Accurist Watches

The 1960s – 1970s: Accurist’s Boom into Popular Culture

With the worldwide launch of their Old England line in 1967, Accurist’s popularity in British culture began to skyrocket. The brainchild of Richard Loftus, who had recently become part of the family business, the Old England range ruptured the way the watch industry was regarded at the time. 

Previously, watches were bought as a ‘once in a lifetime’ investment and were primarily functional. However, the Old England models were intended to be just as much of a fashion statement as they were a timepiece. Characterised by their large faces and contemporary colours, Loftus believed that watches should be ‘big, fun, and fashion’. They were an immediate success, with the likes of Twiggy, the Beatles, and even Princess Anne being pictured wearing them. 

By bringing watches into the fashion industry, the watch industry was revolutionised. Accurist, now a household name, began to bring out new lines every six months. By 1970, it had become the sales leader in both the US and the UK.

Surviving the Quartz revolution, Accurist watches were also the official timepieces for Concorde pilots during its launch.

The 1980s -1990s: Greenwich Royal Observatory and the Millennium 2000 Partnership

Accurist’s domination did not subside even into the tail end of the 20th century. In 1986, it became the first sponsor of British Telecom (BT)’s ‘Speaking Clock’. Despite eventually cutting ties with the Speaking Clock in 2008, in its 22 years it received around 3 billion calls. Years on, the phrase “at the third stroke, the time sponsored by Accurist is…” remains iconic amongst many even today.

Accurist continued to lead the market in the 1990s, accounting for approximately 40% of total watch sales. By offering them a new Atomic Clock, Accurist also became the first watch company associated with the Greenwich Royal Observatory. As such, global time is officially recorded by an Accurist clock. By establishing progressive technological developments, this move led to the Greenwich Millennium 2000 partnership which saw Accurist capitalise on the excitement of the turn of the century. 

The 2000s – present: Rebranding and Re-embracing Heritage

In 2014, Accurist was sold to Time Products, the parent company of Sekonda. As a result, it ceased to be a purely family-run business. Accordingly, a brand refresh was implemented, but it continued to commit to premium watches at accessible prices. 

Last year, Accurist embarked on a new era to embrace its brand’s heritage. By refining its product range as well as reissuing previous lines, Accurist re-centred its image around its essential brand values. The watches continue to be made of high-quality materials such as solid stainless steel and sapphire crystal glass. Moreover, all models have an easy-release interchangeable strap, in line with their fashion-oriented ethos of the 1960s. 

The History of Accurist Watches

With such a significant and extensive history, it’s no wonder that Accurist is still widely regarded as one of Britain’s most legendary luxury brands. Its comprehensive and diverse range of products also means that there is a quality Accurist watch for everyone, male or female, luxury or budget. The consistent commitment to the brand’s core values consolidates Accurist as a trustworthy and quality brand.

If you are interested in Accurist watches, click here to browse the brand on our website.

Let us know in the comments your favourite Accurist model, or any fun Accurist facts we may have missed!

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