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Are Accurist Watches Any Good? - The Brand That Monetised Time

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When we discuss the heritage of various watch brands, one theme keeps cropping up. Horological significance. It’s almost like one of the statistics present on a Top Trumps card; the more revolutionary developments the brand has brought to market, the higher their score. Of course, we know the big hitters, Seiko, Rolex, Citizen, Omega and so on.

The English brand I’m featuring today has a slightly different take on the concept of ‘heritage’. Despite being founded back in 1946, Accurist has never been at the forefront of horological or technical innovation. In fact, the vast majority of their range is constituted of simple, quartz fashion pieces with no extraordinary functionality built-in.

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What’s the catch then? What makes this brand stand out among the sea of generic watch brands out there?

Well, if you’re from the UK, you may already have an inkling. You see, Accurist has used some clever strategies over the years, to engrain itself into British culture.

 

Background

Most famously, in 1986, they became the sponsor of BT’s national speaking clock service, a role which it fulfilled for over 20 years. For those unfamiliar, this telephone service reads the correct time to callers, using a pre-recorded human voice track.

This unusual facility pre-dates World War 2, proving particularly useful before the advent of accurate quartz watches and the digital revolution that followed. Many other nations have an equivalent amenity, under different names. As of 2016, the UK version was reportedly still receiving a staggering 70 million calls annually, so goodness knows how much business this generated for Accurist over the years.

National Timekeeping Service - Photo Credit: Express

National Timekeeping Service - Photo Credit: Express

Amongst other things, they also successfully tied themselves in with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, home of Greenwich Mean Time; later acting as the official sponsor and manufacturer of the Millenium Countdown clock, televised to the entire nation during the extra-special New Year celebrations in 2000.  

The Millennium Countdown Clock - Photo Credit The Greenwich Meridian

The Millennium Countdown Clock - Photo Credit The Greenwich Meridian

The Millennium Countdown Clock - Photo Credit The Greenwich Meridian

The Millennium Countdown Clock - Photo Credit The Greenwich Meridian

With these two innovative marketing moves, they had effectively bought time itself. Whenever accurate time was required, there was an immediate, unquestionable association with Accurist.

I guess it’s in the name really. The word ‘Accurist’ may not conjure visions of prestige and luxury, but it’s easily the smartest wristwatch name I’ve come across from a marketing perspective. It’s easy to pronounce and directly infers that you’ll get that accurate time on your wrist.

But what else do you get on your wrist? Are these watches actually any good, or is it all marketing fluff and garbage products?

 

Accurist 7216 Chronograph

Well, I got Amazon to send in one for this post, so thanks to them. Currently, this 7216 chronograph is sitting at £59 on their site, which is within the general price segment that Accurist tends to target. You’ll find it affiliate linked throughout this article if you want to check it out for yourself.

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For that little money, I wasn’t expecting too much but honestly, I’ve been pretty impressed. Here’s a rundown.

 

Manufacturing & Finishing

Unsurprisingly, these watches are produced in the Far East, not the UK; though given the low cost, that would have been mission impossible anyway. Nevertheless, this one is fully constructed of the industry-standard 316L stainless steel, a material often bragged about by rival fashion brands at triple this retail price.

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Finishing is…reasonable, with a predominantly brushed finish and a slim polished ring toward the outside of the bezel. While the brushing is basic and obviously doesn’t rival much more expensive watches, I think it’s the correct choice that matches the theme of the watch and helps conceal scratches; something that entry-level watches are particularly susceptible to. I also think this low-budget brushing tends to look better than low-budget polishing, which can cheapen the appearance of affordable watches.

 

Watch Dimensions

For some reason, the shape of this watch is extremely pleasing. It’s a shade under 41mm (40.9mm), with a lug to lug of 47mm and a thickness of 11.3mm, which includes the domed crystal.

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Perhaps it’s the overall slimness or the perfectly angled lugs, I’m not quite sure. Whatever the cause, it sits beautifully on the wrist and it looks much better than I imagined. I’d say it wears more like a 39.5mm watch and that conservative lug to lug length places it in a Goldilocks zone that will likely please a wide variety of wrist sizes.

Movement

The heart of this Accurist is the Seiko VD53C quartz movement, which is a solid movement that you can buy individually for around £20 a pop, less when purchased in bulk. This means the Accurist isn’t necessarily more accurate than any other quartz watch, as the brand name or marketing may imply, though for a watch at this retail price, I still think it’s adequate.

Hand alignment is decent, albeit variable. The second hand generally hits the markers, though can be prone to missing depending on the angle at which the watch is held.

Fortunately, the majority of the quality control on display is rather good. The internal tachymeter lines up well with the dial below and the indices are consistently straight too, which I was not expecting.

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50m of water resistance is all you can expect, despite the screw down watch back, though that’s better than the 3bar splashproof rating assigned to most similarly priced watches. Alongside that, there’s a push-pull crown and a pair of pushers, both of which aren’t very responsive.

 

Colour Choice

Something I wasn’t quite expecting either was the colour. The stock Amazon image showcases a creamy set of subdials and a similarly toned tachymeter, giving a vintage vibe. However, in person, these sections exude a more muted champagne/silver finish that shifts the resultant aesthetic forward a decade or so.

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It doesn’t detract from the attractiveness, in my opinion, I still think it’s one of the best-looking £60 watches I’ve come across; with a good amount of detail that includes applied indices, recessed subdials and a lowered chapter ring at the circumference. When combined with the domed mineral crystal, it all comes together into a smart, coherent and versatile reverse panda design that looks good with a variety of outfits.

 

Watch Bracelet

The solid link bracelet is also worth highlighting. Yes, I did just say solid link bracelet – Seiko are you listening? No joke, it even houses solid end links and while it doesn’t blend in perfectly with the case, it’s still a surprisingly good addition to this budget watch.

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It’s also to be noted that the stock clasp has no micro-adjustment holes, though that is somewhat alleviated by the small size of the links; the removal of which do allow for minor adjustments. As a whole, I’ve found it comfortable during usage and haven’t felt the need to replace it.

 

Final Thoughts

As a brand Accurist has always claimed to provide solid, reliable watches for low prices. With its good build quality and attractive design for well under £100, I think it’s fair to say that they have accomplished that objective with this chronograph.

For those after a watch with a cool design that they can wear with a variety of clothes, I think this is a great choice for not much money. It’s like a nicer Vincero or alternative fashion watch brand but for half the price; the amount that should be spent on a fashion watch with entry-level specifications.



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