Collecting watches isn’t just about trying to find that Holy Grail Swiss watch in a dusty drawer, or car boot sale, and then showcasing it on Antiques Roadshow claiming you had `no idea’ it was woth big money. Like Google was never invented.
No, sometimes collecting watches is a lasting joy, like an old Swiss movement Accurist, that just keeps ticking away after 50 years.
MODERN ACCURIST WATCHES: MIYOTA AUTOMATICS ARE OK
The modern range of Accurist watches are decent spec fashion timepieces. Made in the Far East they’re imported by a UK distributor, who also handles Limit and Sekonda by the way. The automatics use the Miyota movements, like the standard Cal. 8215 series with 21 jewels. Great reliable movement.
If you can pick up a modern steel bracelet Accurist auto for about £40-£80 then you have a nice watch, which might not ever be worth more than £100 even if you box it up and forget it for a decade.
Some of the modern Accurist quartz models like the Chronograph with Yamaha R1-like eyes on the dial can fetch about £40-£50 on eBay in mint condition. The Skymasters do OK as well, but most of the other quartz models are worth around £20-£35.
CLASSIC ACCURISTS – A ROUGH GUIDE
Let’s start with the post-war Clerkenwell gents watches, which in typical austerity Britain style were often plain looking, small 30-33mm case diameters and featured nice 15 jewel movements. But Accurist also supplied gold watches, generally for long service awards and some of these had engines like the ETA 1100 day/date movement, so you get a Movado triple date vibe for less money.
Essentially Accurist reflected the rigid British class system of the 50s and 60s, so you need to hunt down the Divermatic models, or the Valjoux 22 powered chronographs aimed at wealthier chaps. You will have to pay anywhere from £500-£1500 for an Accurist chronograph, depending on condition and whether the stop/start and flyback mechanism has been refurbished properly – and recently.
In the mid-60s Accurist let Richard Loftus launch a sub-brand called Old England, which is very Swinging London/Carnaby Street. Watches shaped like steering wheels, big plastic straps for the Twiggy-esque ladies range, the full Austin Powers works.
I own a spaceman Old England, which has a nice ETA mechanical movement and a see-thru back. Still on the original leather strap. That cost me about £70 a few years ago, possibly worth £100 now.
It’s worth picking up a 9ct gold Shockmaster, with its slimline case and 33mm diameter. Makes a nice retro dress watch and the 6g or so of gold in the caseback will always have a separate value. Aim to pay about £250, maybe £50-£75 more if it hasn’t got an inscription on the caseback.
No you won’t get rich collecting Accurist watches, but you will get good value.