Tag Archives: accurist

Accurist Retro Racer is a Winner

Ladies n gentlemen, can we have a tip of the hat to Accurist who have launched a pretty decent 1970s chronograph for under £130. In fact we saw one example at £109 on Ideal World today.

The Retro Racer has a qaurtz movement, the usual chrono functions and a Milanese mesh bracelet option too. It only has a 50m depth rating so don’t go swimming while wearing it, but this is an everyday watch that captures 70s motorsport style with a selection of dial colours. We love the blue best, but the silver is cool and the black option with red second hand gives you that older 60s vibe. The brown leather strap has the Paddy Hopkirk perforated look as well.

The thing we like about this is that the case has those rounded angles on its old fashioned TV dial look. Accurist has been making round case chronographs for ages, but since they dropped the Sekonda Monaco homage, they haven’t really produced anything a bit different from most of the budget fashion quartz watches out there. (Yes, Sekonda, Limit and Accurist are owned by the same company)

This new Accurist watch could pass for one of the many Indie brand VK64 models out there on Kickstarter right now and yep, that’s a good thing.

Why? Well, Accurist has become the Honda Jazz of watches, it’s an old person watch brand, so if it’s going to survive then they need some punchy, sharp designs – and they need to make much more of their 1960s Old England heritage. Spaceman cases, steering wheel watches, Twiggy Union Jack revival…the opportunity is there, get busy.

Accurist has produced a sort of Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance video for the Retro Racer, which is worth a look;

 

 

Affordable Vintage Watches For Men? We Have Some Winners For You

Like a nice cheap runabout car, everyone wants an affordable vintage watch. Preferably a Rolex. Only joking, even the old 1940s Rolex models are now getting expensive and given that spare parts for them can ONLY be sourced by breaking up similar examples, that isn’t a great option if you’ve got a few hundred pounds to spend on old tickers.

So here are some relatively cheap vintage watches for blokes. Plus, a few reasons as to why we rate them so highly.

accurist swiss movement ETA crop

  1. Accurist 21 jewel 1950s/60 slimline style

The main reason we rate the older Accurist watches is that they all feature Swiss movements. Some have ETA, some AS, and there were a few high end divers watches with Landeron chronograph movements inside. Those Landeron powered Accurist models tend to go for silly money now, about £700-£1000, which compared to a Landeron powered Chronograph Suisse for around £400 seems expensive to us.

But the humble, elegantly simple, Accurist Shockmaster series, do a great job of timekeeping if you find a cherished example, and can be found on ebay from aorund £50 upwards. It’s worth paying £100 for a really superb example in our view, expect to pay £300 plus a for a 9ct gold case version.

lanco 5

2. Lanco 1970s mechanicals

Now lots of watch collectors know Lanco was absorbed into the Omega-Tissot empire in the 1960s as the Swiss watch industry began to contract from its 1950s heyday. It became a sister brand to Tissot, with models like the Lanco Astrolon being a rebadged Tissot Actualis Autolub – the plastic movement experiment that began as IDEA 2001.

The 1970s Lanco models were built to a price of course, but they were still sharing movements and build tech with Tissot-Omega. There was cost-cutting in the industry as the Swiss coped with an onslaught of Japanese digital watches, but Lanco watches can make sturdy reliable vintage watches, with some nice retro 70s touches in terms of styling. You can find a clunker for £40-£60, or pay £100 for something that bears very few marks from the last 40-49 years of use.

sekonda header

3. Sekonda 1970s/80s Mechanicals and Automatics

There’s a great deal of snobbery regarding vintage wind-up Sekonda watches. These watches were built to last, in a Soviet era when people had to wait in line to buy outdated groceries and be grateful for whatever consumer goods they were allowed to purchase. Bit like Huddersfield under lockdown today.

The thing that Sekonda watch movements offer is tractor-like reliability and strength. You can bash these watches up, submerge them briefly, or simply not service the movement for about 40 years. Take it apart, clean everything, add some watch oil to a few jewels and generally speaking, away it goes. Just tremendously durable, tough watches. Given that you can buy runners foir £25 on ebay, Sekonda makes a great entry level watch for collectors.

They also made a nice alarm function Sekonda in the 70s, plus a succession of chunky case automatics. Budget £70-£80 for a nice example. You also see some late 70s and 1980s UK Sekonda watches, complete with their distinctive red watch boxes for sale sometimes. Always worth considering as an everyday vintage watch.

seiko 5 1

4. Seiko 5 Auto

The new Seiko 5 automatics are a better watch. There we said it, but it’s true. Modern machine tools and robot quality control on parts production all help to make a new Seiko 5 at £220-ish a bargain, compared to older models.

That said, if you want a vintage Japanese watch with a variety of eye-catching coloured dials, plus relaibility, then the vintage Seiko 5 models deliver. True, they need that mad shaking from side-to-side for 20 times or so to get going – you can’t wind them. But once running they tend to ekep going – and spare parts are plentiful and cheap.

So if you want to learn a little bit about watch repair, then the Seiko 5 is another great choice. Buy a job lot of non-runners and you’ll probably figure out how to get something working again. Even if it does just tick over for 3 hours or so before stopping.

There are some crazy prices being asked on ebay for some nice Seiko 5 watches. It’s also wise to steer clear of refurbished dial Indian models – these often have suffered a hard life, and a new lick of paint doesn’t mean that the movement has been thoroughly cleaned and oiled properly. The typical price of £16 is a clue as to the quality of these watches.

So spend £50-£75 and get yourself a nice, looked after Seiko 5. You’ll find it’s light on the wrist, takes abuse all day long, and just keeps ticking.

Have fun – be lucky!

 

 

Britpop Genius: Richard Loftus & Old England Watches

Strange to think that way back in the late 1960s Accurist was arguably the dominant mid-market watch brand in the UK, with Timex, Smiths-Ingersoll taking much of the bread `n’ butter customers and the Swiss brands like Omega, Rolex, Garrard, Heuer and many more competing for the posher end. The genius that help give Accurist a huge market share, and export plenty of watches around the world, was Richrd Loftus.

At just 23 he was busy selling pop art design watches that captured the Sgt Pepper Swingin’ London vibe of the era. Big, bold colours on the dials, plastic and synthetic straps not old fashioned bracelets – this guy was doing Swatch before the Swiss caught on in the 80s.

Twiggy wore an Old England wristwatch, the Beatles, Liz Taylor and royal rebel Princess Anne managed to strap one on inbetween horse riding competitions – allegedly. The times were groovy and Loftus was busy designing a beach watch in 1968, which he described as being `ultrasonically sealed in plastic, so it’s waterproof, with a synthetic strap that just hooks onto the watch case.’

Here’s an example, still with its original strap -which incidentally smells of fag smoke! How do I know? Well I bought it last year and its Ronda 17 jewel movement still keeps decent time, inside that see-thru case. Despite the tobacco smell imbued within the strap, I don’t think this watch escaped from the jewellers shop for about 10 years, as it’s in remarkably good nick for something made circa 1969-70. Similar to many `UFO’ dial designs, it is quite chunky, with a 42mm case, excluding crown.

The thing I love about this watch is that it still looks fresh, modern and different, 50 years later. The red second hand and deep dished silver-grey dial face catch the eye, and the beefy winding crown does a great job of setting the hands and adding power to the spring, via the stem that’s gripped tight in the plastic sleeve for water resistance. Like the Tissot/Lanco Project 2000 Autolub, the movement is designed as a sealed for life bit of tech – I like that thinking, it makes the watch practical.

OK, I’ll admit that the Ronda 17 jewel movement lacks the sheer elegance of a comparable ETA, Omega or Buren from the late 60s, but the rubies catch the eye nicely and it’s worth a look for a budget movement. Always fascinating to see old school technology in action.

Cheers Old England, we miss you. Yes, I know someone bought and revived the brand name, but it isn’t really a go-getting British watchmaking company is it? Times change. By the way if you fancy buying this watch the cost is £65 including Royal Mail special delivery UK mainland. Paypal accepted. Cannot accept card payments over the phone sadly.

See the Richard Loftus video interview from way back when;

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