Andrew Grima, a Britain’s arguably greatest jewelry and watch designer (2020)
In the early to mid-1970s, British designer Andrew Grima created two of the most groundbreaking and rarest watch collections of the 20th century. The second, created in 1976 for Pulsar, has almost "Unicorn" status amongst digital watch collectors; most have heard of their existence but have never seen one in reality. In 1969, over dinner in Philadelphia, Robert Forster, Omega's Director of Production, outlined a brief to British designer Andrew Grima for a collection of watches that would recreate the same sense of fantasy and flamboyance that had characterized the elaborately crafted decorative timepieces so coveted by the aristocracy during the 17th century and again at the turn of the 19th century. Grima, who had never made a watch before, insisted on being given completely free rein in terms of overall theme, individual designs, component materials, and cost per piece - the only thing he conceded was that each watch would have an Omega movement. "It was. a collection above the tides of fashion, a collection that would be a work of art in its own right. But the significance of the Grima collection goes even further. In turning the watch into a jewel, Grima hit on a simple yet brilliant idea, the substitution of a precious or semi-precious stone for each watch glass. It is this revolutionary idea of seeing time through stones that not only forms the unifying theme of the About Time collection but also ensures Andrew Grima his place in the history of the watch." Rew Grima designed a second watch collection in the mid-1970s for Hamilton Watch Company's Pulsar brand which pioneered the digital electronic watch. Again, Robert Forster was the instigator: he had left Omega to join the Hamilton Watch Company and approached Grima with a commission to work on 18k gold versions of a digital LED watch.