Accurist has been one of the pre-eminent watch brands in the UK since its inception in 1946. Back then, Asher Loftus and his wife, Rebecca, founded the company in Clerkenwell, London, citing a gap in the market for watches that were well-made and distinctively designed at an affordable price. Like much of the competition at that time, Accurist watches were made entirely from Swiss components; a positive sales point that guaranteed quality and helped establish its reputation for value.
A large part of the first four decades of Accurist’s life was defined by unrelenting success and growth. In 1983, the company decided to move its manufacturing from Switzerland to Japan, in order to take advantage of their cutting edge technology which was booming at that time. It proved to be a strategic move as after that Accurist Watches enjoyed a 500% increase in their UK business.
It was even earlier than this, by the 1960s, that Accurist had managed to establish itself as a household name and had fully entered the national zeitgeist. Those who are old enough and with a good enough memory will remember Accurist sponsoring Sunday Night At The London Palladium, which was the biggest show in the UK at the time.
There was also the famous so-called "Accu-ankle, Accu-wrist" advertising campaign, fronted by John Cleese in the 1980s, and who could forget Accurist’s sponsorship of the Speaking Clock? This unique partnership lasted for an incredible 26 years after its genesis in 1981.
However, as the saying goes: “what goes up, must come down”. Although Accurist were never a victim of any single great crash or catastrophic decline in sales, it is fair to say that the brand went through a more turbulent period in the last few years.
There are a number of valid reasons to explain why things got tougher for the company that had previously seemed to be on a never-ending upwards trajectory, but perhaps the most important was how it dealt with the advent and subsequent explosion of the internet as a platform to sell watches in great quantities. Although this represented a huge opportunity for watch brands, especially at Accurist’s price point, there is a general consensus that many brands spread themselves too wide and found their products on low quality, unsuitable websites.
This damaged the value of a large number of brands and their relationships with the all important high street retailers. Accurist found itself at something of a crossroads at the beginning of 2014. The brand was still strong, but operationally and strategically things needed to change. Enter Time Products.
The relationship between the Loftus family and the Margulies family, which owns Time Products, goes back two generations and many synergies had been identified over the years. With hugely successful brands such as Sekonda, Limit and Seksy already in its portfolio, not to mention the incredible resources at its disposal at its Leicester premises, the Time Products team is using its experience and is working tirelessly to restore the brand to its rightful position in the eyes of retailers and of consumers.
One of the key aspects of the recovery process has been to reduce the online availability of Accurist, which was significantly impacting the brand’s image. The focus is on retailers that use their own, rather than third party, platforms. Watchshop is a good example where there is a great consumer offer but the brand image is protected.
The other key change that Time Products has implemented is to give the Accurist brand a complete makeover. Nothing illustrates this better than the fact that the logo itself has been freshened up and modernised, and a burgundy theme now runs through everything. A whole new advertising campaign, which incorporated this logo, was rolled out across the country, and the response was very encouraging, especially among younger consumers.
This includes the point-of-sale displays in its retailers, which have again had a complete transformation. Time Products has made a huge financial investment in this key area, and the reaction from Accurist’s retailers has been exceptionally positive. Where the old displays looked a little tired and cramped, the new displays are fresh and contemporary and really do justice to the brand and its new product introductions.
The final key way that Time Products has put its stamp on Accurist is through its peerless after-sales service provision. Time Products has a reputation for being second-to-none in this area with its other brands, including Sekonda. It therefore has the capacity and infrastructure in place to provide truly outstanding customer service, both to its retailers and to the end consumer. With an ocean of spare parts dating back decades, and a fount of expertise and knowledge from its vastly experienced and talented team, Time Products plans to offer the same level of support that it provides with Sekonda and Limit.
So, in the safe hands of Time Products, Accurist’s future looks bright. Retailers are feeling confident in the brand again, and the feedback from all the changes that have been made has been overwhelmingly positive. The product range is evolving, the value for money is unrivalled, and now it has a strategy and team in place that can allow it to soar once again. Accurist is a brand with a fantastic past, but the best could yet be still to come.