An archival photo c.1969 survives of Grima, pipe in mouth at his home in Sonning-on-Thames, designing watches for the collection that ultimately consisted of 55 different timepieces.
All display the ‘signature’ elements of the Grima style – the use of textured gold and unconventional stones – and featured the novel use of a gemstone as the watch ‘glass’. Launched in 1970 at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, within days half the watches were sold out.
The About Time collection is given a chapter in a new 336-page book Andrew Grima – The Father of Modern Jewellery (£65). The first major monograph on the designer, it has been written by William Grant (the husband of Grima’s second wife Jojo, and stepfather to their daughter Francesca) with BBC Antiques Roadshow expert Geoffrey Munn providing a preface.
A number of the About Time series watches have come to market in recent years. A single-owner collection of Grima jewels offered by Bonhams (14/20/25/27.5% buyer’s premium) in September 2017 included both a Cerini watch (number 80 from the original About Time index) set with a large oval-cut citrine ‘glass’ within a bezel composed of a myriad of gold ‘matchsticks’ and baguette-cut diamonds and Greenland, a gold and pink tourmaline watch bangle (number 15). These sold for £28,000 and £36,000 respectively.
In 2016 Sworders (15/25% buyer’s premium) of Essex sold a ‘Pinkerton’ bracelet watch, bought by the consignor at the Grima store in Jermyn Street in 1970, for £19,500. It included a tourmaline lens, baguette cut diamond highlights and an 18ct bracelet with a bark finish.
Following the success of the About Time collection, Omega launched a more affordable, Time in Style series, which included the Jeux d’Or, Constellation and De Ville watch ranges. While incorporating Grima’s design ideas, they were made at the Omega factory in Switzerland. A 18ct gold pendant watch sold for £3000 at Dreweatts (12/20/25% buyer’s premium) in March 2019.