Sunday, November 22, 2015

Decade Envy: Accurist Watches and London's Swinging '60's

I envy the 1960's, especially not being old enough to be a young London fashionable. I was a pre-teen when the decade began, just 11 years old.  Yes, by the time Time Magazine's "London: The Swinging City" cover story had appeared in April, 1966, I was in high school. But sadly, not mature enough in my Midwestern home town to fully comprehend, internalize, enjoy, and adopt with abandon, the revolutionary fashion changes that were taking hold.

What might I have been if my Mt. Pleasant, Michigan Main Street had been instead Chelsea's King's Road?

So yes, I have Decade Envy of the retro, GPS-type. To partly remedy the situation, I set out to answer the question most appropriate to this blog: What was happening with English watches mid-'60's? What was popular among the youthquake set, celebrities and common trenders? The answer:  Richard Loftus' Accurist Old England Collection line.

Accurist Watches was launched in 1946 by husband and wife, Asher and Rebecca Loftus in Clerkwell, an area in central London. According to Accurist Watches' own history, its products "were made entirely from Swiss components;[had] a positive sales point that guaranteed quality, and which coupled with competitive pricing helped establish a reputation for value."

Building on the company's solid reputation, but breaking with its conservative design base to attract the newly-affluent, younger 60's hip set,  Richard Loftus, Asher's brother launched the Old England Collection in 1967.

In doing so, contemporary fashion and wristwatches became conjoined timemates forever. They remain so to this day.  Old England watches were over- sized, had dials with big numerals and bold colors, PVC plastic bands, and iconic images including the British Union Jack and stylized flower petals.

OLD ENGLAND Richard Loftus Accurist London Pop Art Watch Vintage 1960s. Image courtesy of Jeanne at Art of Style, Colorado Springs, Colorado,

As  Petula Clark would sing in 1966, "It's a Sign of the Times":

I'll never understand
The way you treated me
But when I hold your hand
I know you couldn't be the way you used to be.

Oh so, prescient! Old England watches were affordable and fashion forward.   You could dance wearing one design and go shopping wearing another. Bottom line:  They were frivolous, fun and fab!

They gained iconic wrist status by being the brand collection of choice by such celebrities and royals of the time as Twiggy, the Beatles, and Princess Anne. 

Twiggy (Lesley Lawson) wearing a Richard Loftus' Accurist Old England Union Jack Design. Photo source unknown.

One design in the collection was sold at the Apple Shop, the Beatles-owned, short lived London boutique on Baker Street (December 1967-July 1968).


1968 Beatles Apple Records "Old England" Watch With Original Box. Image from [online] Rock & Roll Pop Art Auction, August 2009.

In a 1968 interview with Richard Loftus, he stressed that a watch "is anything you want it to be." 


That can apply to all of us no matter where we fall on our own life timeline. That includes smartwatches; time/action measurable wrist wearables like Fitbit; and of course the everlasting attraction of mechanical masterpieces embodying engineering expertise and incomparable artisan design. 

If any of you are fellow decade envy travelers and want to share your mod watches or stories, send me images, stories or comments.    


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Still Dialing Through at Twenty-two (November 2015)


Wearing my Movado at Gaudi's
Park Guell, Barcelona Spain.
It's been twenty-two months since I started posting content.  It's time again to reflect on my experiences blogging, with the focus this time on the watch-related content I've created. So I thought it would be fun to see if I could identify twelve themes that I've explored and illustrate them with accompanying posts. Some postings have been informational, others fanciful.  I've given each theme a signifying hour. And yes, you'll find thematic overlaps across the dial. 

12 o'clock: Celebrities 

Sight to Last a Lifetime: Omega Watches and Orbis International's Teddy Bear Campaign 

Be Bond Sure It's Shaken, not Stirred: Omega's New Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition 

Taking Time Into Space: NASA and OMEGA’s Speedmaster Anniversaries

Ad Venture Begets Luxurity

A Time To Pause: Michael Korda and Marking Time


1:00 o'clock: Sports Relationships

Hublot’s Vivacious Contender: Viva Italia! 

The Colors to Watch: Brazilian Yellow and Green

Ad Venture Begets Luxurity

Riding on the Wings of Post Time: Longines and the Belmont Stakes

OMEGA: Longstanding Olympian


2:00 o'clock: Complications

App-Surdity: Using Time to Remember Your Room

Beautifying Complications: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande

September 8 (2014): A Great Date for the Harvest Moon and Harry Winston’s Midnight Moon Phase

The Sky Above, the Auction Below: Henry Graves Jr.’s Supercomplication

Face It -- It's Complicated!


3:00 o'clock: Historical Reach Back

Taking Time Into Space: NASA and OMEGA’s Speedmaster Anniversaries

Off-Road But Still On Time (PART ONE)

Off-Road But Still On Time (PART TWO)

The Sons of August: World War I Trench Watches and a Modern Day Tribute to the Fallen 

The Sons of August: Nine Months On

A Masterful Throwback: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Grande Reverso Ultra-thin Wristwatch

Quartz Crystal Watches – The Revolution of “Good Vibrations”

4:00 o'clock: Botanical Motifs

Botanical Companions: J.G. Ballard and Chaumet

Coco’s Camellia: A Floral Tourbillon that Needs No Fragrance

Petals Extraordinaire: Richard Mille's 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur

Promoting Time for Pollinators: Chaumet’s Attrape-moi si tu m’aimes Watch Collection

5:00 o'clock: Charity Associations

Sight to Last a Lifetime: Omega Watches and Orbis International's Teddy Bear Campaign

6:00 o'clock: Historical and Contemporary Culture (Literature, Art, Music, Film)

Beautifying Complications: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande

Passing Time with Malevich

Ulee's Gold, Time Transfigured: Franck Muller's Double Mystery Collection

“All in One”: Tomi Ungerer and His Time-Anchored Family


7:00 o'clock: Sentimental Journeys

Remembering Everlasting Times: Isabel Marant's "A Hand in My Hand" Wristwatch

From Drive Time to Watch Time: SHINOLA Detroit

Timex: Time Spent on Durability

Yuletide Timings: Meet Me at the Met

8:00 o'clock:  Blogging about Watches

Taking Stock at Six O’Clock: Beginning My Blogging Career (August 2014)

Be Watching Midnight: Taking Stock Twelve Months On (February 2015)

Wristwatch Writings: Descriptive Elements for Friendly Conversations

9:00 o'clock: Ethical Materials Sourcing/Use

 Dials Too Can Get the Blues 

Remembering Everlasting Times: Isabel Marant's "A Hand in My Hand" Wristwatch

10:00 o'clock: Métiers d’art 

Two Exquisite Repeaters: Foreign and Domestic

11:00 o'clock: Advertising Time

Advertising Time: What Brands Catch Your Eye and Why?

Saddle Up: Ralph Lauren’s SWISS MADE Stirrups

Ad Venture Begets Luxurity 

L'Limbs of Time: L’Instant Chanel

The Whole World is Watching


12:00 o'clock:  Coming Full Dial to Post Again

My next update will be in April 2016.       
Wearing my Bulova Accutron in Sitges, Spain.

If you've identified other themes I've missed, let me know. If there are other themes you'd like to see in my next series of posts, send your suggestions to me.

In the meantime, read my page updates to Poetic Time and a new page, Virtual Book Case.