If you’re not from the UK, you’ve probably never heard of Accurist before. But the brand has been around since 1946 when it was founded by Asher and Rebecca Loftus in London. It soon became one of the many brands that produced well-made, affordable watches that were a staple of high-street stores, and Accurist watches became a well-known UK brand. When the Quartz Crisis hit in the 1970s, Accurist was one of the few brands to adapt to the rapid changes in the industry, and thanks to this it survived the turbulent period and continued to thrive.
It wasn’t until 2014 that the Loftus family sold the brand to Time Products Ltd., but despite the change in ownership the brand’s focus continued to be on affordable entry-level quartz watches. However, last year Accurist decided that it was time to have something of a refresh, and it underwent something of a rebranding exercise.
I have to be honest and say that I think it was an excellent decision. For the past few decades, Accurist has been basically just another fashion brand that offered generic-looking cheap quartz watches. However, with this revamp the brand has refocused on classic designs from its past, and made a real effort to offer attractive designs and excellent quality at its traditional entry-level price point.
No model illustrates that better than this Origin Men’s Chronograph, which is Accurist’s take on a striking 1970s-inspired chronograph. On the face of things, this is just another basic entry-level quartz watch with some fairly standard specifications. The watch has 100m of water resistance, a sapphire crystal and a basic quartz movement. The exact movement is the Miyota JS25, a Japanese calibre with zero jewels, a 2-year battery life, and an accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per month. It’s an obvious entry-level choice, and whilst it’s nothing special, most of you will know that Miyota makes reliable movements. Unsurprisingly, the lume isn’t the best either, and it quickly fades after it’s charged. However, all this is completely fine for a watch that costs just £189, and there’s a lot in the design of this watch that makes it a great affordable pick.
An Eye For Detail
Aesthetically, the watch is obviously very similar to the Zenith El Primero Revival, but Accurist claims that it’s based on one of their own models from the 1970s. I couldn’t find any similar vintage models online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t exist. Regardless, the Accurist’s similarity to the Zenith is not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. The El Primero costs a whopping £7,100, which will be out of a lot of people’s price range. Costing under £200 the Accurist offers you a chance to get your hands on a watch with that El Primero styling at a much more affordable price.
Without comparing the watch to the Zenith, the design of the Accurist is rather attractive. There’s a great mix of finishes and colours and the whole design feels very well put together. The brown and black of the minute track is nicely mirrored on the sub-dials and six and nine, whilst the silver sunburst of the main dial gives the watch a more dressy feel.
The hands are simple sticks, but they’re well-cut and finished. In fact, the overall finishing of the watch is very good for the price point, and the only noticeable flaws are a couple of specs of dust on the dial. Unusually, the central seconds hand on the Origin Chronograph is the running seconds hand, and the chronograph seconds are tracked on the sub-dial at six o’clock. The other black sub-dial at nine tracks the elapsed minute. Meanwhile, the silver sub-dial at three indicates the 24-hour time.
How The Watch Wears
The impressive finishing extends to the steel case. It’s a sizeable 41mm in diameter, but with a compact lug-to-lug of just 48mm, and a thickness of just 11.5mm, it wears very nicely on the wrist. The angular tonneau design of the case is probably the part of the Accurist that’s the closest to the Zenith. Given the price point the Accurist is at, the finishing is excellent.
It might sound silly, but one of the most impressive aspects of the watch is the leather strap. At this price point, the strap is usually where a brand cuts corners, and leather straps often feel really cheap and nasty. That’s not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the leather is obviously not as premium as you’ll see on more expensive watches, but it is very soft and flexible. The buckle is also nice and chunky, and the strap comes with quick-release spring bars so that it can be easily changed.
Accurist is a brand that for a long time has been dismissed by the watch community. And not without reason, as for a long time the brand has focussed on fairly generic quartz watches. But with this rebrand, it feels like Accurist has gotten back on track to offering excellent value and good designs. The Origin Chronograph is the perfect example of this, with a solid build quality for an entry-level watch. It’s also very refreshing to see such strong designs from Accurist. The Origin Chronograph might bear a strong resemblance to the Zenith, but they’re not competing in remotely the same segment. Judged on its own merits, the Origin Chronograph offers a nice funky vintage-inspired design for an excellent price.
You can read more about the Origin Chronograph on Accurist’s website here.