Recently British watchmaking has for sometime been regarded something of a cottage industry, like other similar industries there is an element of chummy collaboration. Often representatives of the various brands will mention other brands in interviews. They have realised that there is enough space for them all to thrive so why not co-operate. Up until now that co-operation has been informal.
During the last ever Salon QP a conversation between Mike France of Christopher Ward and Roger Smith led to the idea of taking this co-operation to another level. I understand all my favourites such as Fears, Pinion and Vertex are getting involved. The video below gives you all the background.
There was also a really nice chat with Mike France and Roger Smith on the Scottish Watches podcast
To support this initative you do not have to be a watch manufacturer. Anyone with an interest in British watchmaking can join up. I for one have put membership on my Christmas list. For more information:
Like many of you, one of the things I am missing during these current social restrictions is a catch-up chat over a couple of watches. One person I have particularly missed is Nicholas Bowman- Scargill of Fears Watches. Nicholas was one of one of my first meeting with any brand and we have kept in touch ever since.
You can imagine therefore how pleased I was to get a message from Nicholas asking if I would like to see some new watches. Of course, I would, is this a sign life might eventually return to something resembling that we had enjoyed only a few months before?
Before meeting I tried to think what the Nicholas might have up his sleeves this time. He has always excluded a diver. He has stopped offering the quartz Redcliff range. So, it had to be a development of the Brunswick. Maybe a chronograph… a different case material.
I clearly, I do not think in the same way as Nicholas. After keeping me in suspense for a good ten minutes he finally revealed these two new variants of the much-appreciated Brunswick. One steel cased with a Salmon dial and a second version of last year’s gold plated Midas with a silver dial. As well as offering more choice to Brunswick clients these watches represent an evolution of the design details of the range.
Both variants feature the new ‘Edwin’ numerals—specially designed for Fears by a horological typographer, Lee Yuen-Rapati. Named after the founder of the company. Lee spent time in the Fears archive, studying all the different typefaces that Fears has used throughout its history, he created a new typeface that is modern, yet influenced by them. The result is a very elegant, classic set of numerals, with some vintage flourishes. Each applied numeral has been treated like a jewel: after being cut out with a CNC machine, to a height of 0.5 mm, they are diamond polished and sand-blasted to create a perfectly smooth and matte finish. Each numeral has then been coated in anthracite, lending a subtle, warm and grey finish, which complements the coppery, pink tones of the dial surface. Finally, each one is applied by hand to the dial, affixed by tiny rivets. The Fears branding is slightly smaller and the model name Brunswick has disappeared, finally the word “England” appears for the first time below the sub-dial acknowledging not only the parts of the watch which are made in the country, but also the fact that every watch is hand built in England.
The new Midas also offers a solid case back. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of display backs and I love the opportunity that a solid case back offers for personalisation or for a simple dedication in the style of retirement watches. The Midas also comes fitted with a new lovely dark brown alcantara lined leather strap, the colour I am hoping Nicholas will continue to call “Otto”.
Both these watches both manage to offer even more elegance to the already elegant Brunswick range. Maybe next time Nicholas will surprise me with an elegant diver’s chronograph.
The Fears Brunswick Salmon retails for £3,150 inc. VAT and is available from 25th of September. More information can be found at www.fearswatches.com/brunswicksalmon. The new Brunswick Midas retails for £4,250 inc. VAT and is available to purchase today with delivery commencing 30th October. More information can be found online at www.fearswatches.com/brunswickmidas.
Then if you would like to hear more from Nicholas about these watches why not have a listen to this recent Scottish Watches podcast
Fears Watches are to partner with the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, which highlights the best the country has to offer the world. It’s an honour for Fears to have its 174-year heritage and British credentials recognised during the company’s fourth year of trading since its re-launch in 2016.
The announcement comes as Fears concludes production of its final Quartz powered watch at the end of February 2020. Since the launch of the mechanical Brunswick in 2017, Fears has been slowly moving towards an all mechanical watch line up. Once the remaining stock of quartz watches are sold all Fears watches will be powered by mechanical movements and, like the Brunswick, will be hand built in the UK. Fears builds its watches in the East Anglian city of Norwich using bespoke components made in Germany (cases & dials), Switzerland (movements & winding crowns), UK (hands and strap leather), Hong Kong (sapphire crystals) and Belgium (strap
Commenting on the announcement of Fears partnering with the GREAT Britain campaign and concluding Quartz production, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, (4th) Managing Director of the Fears Watch Company says, “It’s an honour to have Fears’ extensive heritage recognised by the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign. The GREAT Britain campaign does outstanding work in highlighting and promoting British manufacturing and highlighting the many things that make Britain great today. Fears has a unique history in the British watch industry. Having traded for over 130 years from the middle of the 19th Century until 1976, Fears used to export to 95 countries around the world, something I hope we will achieve again. This recognition comes at a time when we’ve ended production of the Quartz watches that re-launched Fears in 2016 and now focus solely on hand building mechanical watches here the UK. The first three years of trading since the relaunch have been beyond all expectations with a lot planned for the coming year.”
on Fears becoming a partner of GREAT, Jack Karet, Chief Partnerships
Officer of the GREAT Britain campaign says, “The GREAT Britain campaign
shines a light on the very best of what our
whole nation has to offer to inspire the world to visit, do business,
invest and study in the UK. Partnership is at the heart of this, and we
are proud to celebrate our iconic heritage brands, such a Fears, across
Having not run into NicholasBowman-Scargill for a month or so this latest watch from Fears took me a little by surprise, then I was not able to write this entry immediately as I was travelling. Fortunately, I was then able to organise a quick coffee with Nicholas to see the watch in the metal.
As you can see the watch is a very nice modern watch with some “vintage” style influences which like the dial finish and the font used for the numbers. And hurrah ! There is no faux patina, which personally I am not a fan of. The vintage impression quickly disappears when you put the watch on, as the first thing I noticed was the flat crystal, instantly giving a more modern feel. Then there is the 38mm case size, it is the size for just about anyone. Finally, the most significant difference from the past, though not of modern Fears, being the Ronda quartz movement, which is very much in keeping with the Fears philosophy at their re-launch of a high quality time piece at an affordable price.
This limited edition addition to the Redcliff family is to celebrate the 1,000th day since the company was re-established. The Fears Redcliff “Streamline”, directly influenced by their archive and is linked to a previous milestone – the centenary in 1946.
The style of the new watch is inspired by a popular model from the 1946 Fears centenary range called the “Streamline”. The new Redcliff “Streamline” features a galvanised dial similar to its name sake with an antique silver colour called ‘Forties Silver’. The surface of the German made dial is vertically grained with gilt printed numerals and black surrounds, just like the original.
Each Redcliff “Streamline” watch is hand built in the UK using a slim, elegant case that’s made in Switzerland before being finished in the UK. The slim case’s sides are brushed with a polished bezel sitting on top securing a flat sapphire glass featuring anti-reflective.
Commenting on the launch of the new Redcliff “Streamline”, (4th) Managing Director Nicholas Bowman-Scargill says, “It’s incredible to think it’s been 1,000 days since I welcomed people onto the Fears stand at SalonQP in 2016. Though Fears is one of Britain’s oldest watch companies, having been founded in 1846, I believe it’s important to mark this milestone in the company’s re-establishment. From the beginning with a single Redcliff watch it’s been an incredible two and a half years steering the re-establishment of Fears and growing the company to where it is today. I’m pleased to mark this occasion in our 173-year history with the launch of the Redcliff “Streamline” which is directly influenced by our Archive and is linked to a previous milestone – the centenary in 1946.”
The Redcliff “Streamline” is limited to 100 pieces and will retail for £483, the same amount of the originals’ £11.2s.6d – simply adjusted for 73 years of inflation.
From now on I will be keeping closer tabs on Nicholas, he has hinted there is more to come from Fears in the not to distant future – watch this space.
Well first of all for those of you that care I apologise for not posting for over a month. Unfortunately real life has been in the way, nothing serious just “admin”.
However whilst I have been away the world of British watches has not stood still, there is an increasing stream of interesting content to read, watch or listen to. In particular watch podcasts are appearing with increasing regularity.
One person that has already been the subject of a very listenable Time4apint podcast is Nicholas Bowman-Scargill of Fears. The latest Fears newsletter flagged another interview this time by the gentlemen of the Wrist Time podcast.
This is really worth a listen, Nicholas’s passion and enthusiasm really comes through, also that of interviewers. Be careful though, his sentiments are contagious, so you might finish the podcast with a strong need to buy one of his Brunswick watches.
Some of you might have seen this teaser shot I posted on Instagram a little while ago. Well now the facts are public, there is a second Brunswick version, the Midas. This watch has been officially launched at today’s Watchmakers Club event in London. Unfortunately for practical reasons I was unable to attend so I am really looking forward to hear what the reaction has been.
The prototype Nicholas Bowman-Scargill showed me look really nice, the cushion shaped case makes a perfect “gold watch”.
I am really looking forward to see what this young brand comes up with next – a chronograph maybe ?
Fears Brunswick Midas – Teaser
Fears Brunswick Midas
Caseback of Fears Brunswick Midas
Phosphor Bronze plated with multiple layers of yellow & rose gold, 38mm x 38mm cushion-shaped, plated and finished in the UK
Top-grade ETA 7001, manual winding, 17 jewel, 21,600vph (3Hz) and 40 hr power reserve. Movement bridges ‘stippled’ and gold plated in the UK
Sapphire Crystals to front (with anti-reflective) and back
Cold resin enamel with skeleton Fears hands, plated in yellow & rose gold, made in the UK
Time with subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock
2 Year guarantee from date of purchase
Fears Bristol Leather Strap – crafted from premium calf leather made in Bristol
I have several quartz watches including my first British watch a Garrard my Mother bought me for my 21st, now sadly in need of repair. I have always regarded them subconsciously inferior to watch with mechanical movements.
My Garrard – Damaged
I think part of my prejudice steps from the idea that a mechanical mechanism will last forever and that quartz movements are somehow less robust. But as my Garrard demonstrates they just keep going, as long as you change the battery. So this objection would seem a little invalid. So I am starting to look at the great variety of watches out there.
One brand instrumental in me changing my ideas was I think the recently re-launched Fears. When the re-founder Nicholas Bowman-Scargill explained to me he had chosen a quartz movement as the best way of representing the heritage of the brand I surprised myself at accepting his point of view.
With this new “insight” I am now able to open my mind to consider many more British brands more positively. One of which being Omologato who marketing an interesting collection of retro/motoring styled chronographs. Their latest model popped up in my inbox this week and it is so “British” I had to post it her. The watch is the Hesketh.
The watch features a 44.5 mm case housing a Miyota OS20 movement., for the less than extortionate price of £ 289.