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Retro chic – Sinclair Neoteric 60 (1968)

If you see one of these hi-fi amps on eBay, pounce – they're rarer than a Frenchman's steak

What’s the story?

The name Sinclair might summon images of calculators, computers and preposterous personal transport but the other branch of the family has also been designing and developing products for over 40 years. Long before Sir Clive brought computers to the home with the ZX81 his brother Iain had come up with the world’s first digital clock, a pocket TV and the Neoteric 60 hi-fi amplifier.

Why should I want one?

When it launched in April 1968 , the two-inch-high, 60-watt Neoteric made most other integrated amps look like WWII tanks. Hi-fi folklore even tells the story of Danish design legends Bang & Olufsen paying Sinclair a visit on launch day to marvel at the Neoteric’s slimline steel chassis and rosewood front panel. Its retro-futurist aesthetic also caught the eye of Stanley Kubrick, leading to an appearance in A Clockwork Orange.

What to look for

Unfortunately, you can’t afford to be that choosy. Despite tons of interest and plenty of orders the Neoteric ‘60s design complexities made it difficult to produce in large quantities, which means they’re rarer than a Frenchman’s steak. If owning an original isn’t your top priority, give Iain Sinclair a call. Word from the man himself is that an updated reissue would be considered, if there was enough interest.

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