Tag Archives: Fears Watches

Fear’s 175th Bash

Any readers who might have visited this blog before will be aware that I have known Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the 4th Managing Director of Fears Watches for a few years. I was therefore very pleased to receive an invitation to the celebration of this important anniversary. Given the recent lack of any watch connected social life the invitation itself regardless of the location would have been accepted in double quick time, but this party was held on the top three floors of the Shard in London. Apparently the tallest building in Europe – wow.

An idea of the view

The event as well as a great excuse for a party was an opportunity for Nicholas to showcase his latest book of the company’s history and the limited edition commemorative watches.

The book I have already covered in a recent post has received a positive reaction from those that have seen it. I particularily enjoyed Nicholas’s exhaustive background explanation as a guest on a recent Scottish Watches podcast ( here’s a link)

You will notice commerative watches, plural. The commerative series is known as Archival and it comes in two variants, both of which based on a 1930’s model suitably scaled to a more modern size. Consistent with Nicholas’s attention to detail the size increase is 17.5%.

The inspiration

The two variants are the Archival 1930 and Archival 1930 Small Seconds. The series will be limited to 175 pieces, one for each year ot the history of Fears. Each watch will have the number of a year engraved on the case back.

Of the entire series 39 will be the small seconds version, these watches representing the years that the Fears company was dormant before being re-started by Nicholas.

The two models differ by the movements that power them, with the two-handed Archival 1930 (136 watches) using a new old stock manual winding movement dating from the 1960s. While the three-handed Archival 1930 Small Seconds uses a new old stock manual winding movement dating from the 1930s. Both are movements that Fears used in the past. Each movement, having never previously been used, has undergone a full re-build and recondition in the workshop while receiving an upgraded mainspring to enhance reliability. The small seconds version using a NOS Swiss made ZentRa 185/ETA 717, circa 1935, and in the two handed version you will find a ETA 2360, from circa 1968. Both movements are manual wound running at 18,000 vph.

As we have come to expect from Fears both of these watches are beautifully made. I was lucky enough to have the chance to see and try the in the metal a few days before the anniversay event.

The17.5% size increase nicely satisfies modern tastes, this is a watch that sites very snuggly on the wrist, this helped by the gentle curve of the caseback. This stikes me as being a watch that offers similar utility to the Brunswick, a watch that can be dressed up or down by using a different strap. I continue to suggest to Nicholas how good his watches can be “casualised” using prelon straps. You can just see this watch on wrists at the Hamptons over the summer.

The hint in much of the the Fears literature is that these watches are the first of the Archival series. I am sure many of us will be looking at the back catalogue and will have our own ideas of what should be next. Always be wary of suggesting a dive watch, how many times has Nicholsa been quoted as saying he cannot swim. Maybe if he had swimming lessons he might change his mind.

Here are the full technical specs:

Archival 1930 specification

CASE316L stainless steel, 40mm x 22mm rectangular-shaped with curved front and back (depth 8.54mm). Closed caseback. Made in Germany
LUG WIDTH20mm
MOVEMENTNew-Old-Stock, Swiss made ETA 2360, circa 1968, manual winding, 17 jewels, 18,000vph (2.5Hz) and 40 hr power reserve.  Reconditioned, serviced, and fitted with an upgraded main spring in the UK
GLASSSapphire Crystal to front with ARdur® Swiss anti-reflective coating on inside and outside. Crystals made in Hong Kong, Anti-reflective coating applied in Switzerland
DIALVintage Champagne with 18ct yellow gold coating. Polished and matte finishes. Glossy black printing. Made in Germany
HANDS‘Fears’ hands – Bevelled, diamond polished and Blued. Made in Germany
FUNCTIONSTime
WARRENTY2 Year guarantee from date of purchase
STRAPOxblood Red, British calf leather, lined in Alcantara®, handmade. Leather tanned in the UK, Strap made in Belgium
SERIAL NUMBERIndividually numbered, sequentially
LIMITED EDITIONEngraved with a unique year from 1846 – 1976 and 2016 – 2021
MODEL REFERENCEBS8-1930-0
RETAIL PRICE£3,500 inc. VAT (£2,916.67 ex. VAT)

Archival 1930 Small Seconds specification

CASE316L stainless steel, 40mm x 22mm rectangular-shaped with curved front and back (depth 9.28mm). Closed caseback. Made in Germany
LUG WIDTH20mm
MOVEMENTNew-Old-Stock, Swiss made ZentRa 185/ETA 717, circa 1935, manual winding, 15 jewels, 18,000vph (2.5Hz) and 38 hr power reserve. Reconditioned, serviced, and fitted with an upgraded main spring in the UK
GLASSSapphire Crystal to front with ARdur® Swiss anti-reflective coating on inside and outside.  Crystals made in Hong Kong, Anti-reflective coating applied in Switzerland
DIALVintage Champagne with 18ct yellow gold coating. Polished and matte finishes. Glossy black printing. Made in Germany
HANDS‘Fears’ hands – Bevelled, diamond polished and Blued. Made in Germany
FUNCTIONSTime with subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock
WARRENTY2 Year guarantee from date of purchase
STRAPOxblood Red, British calf leather, lined in Alcantara®, handmade. Leather tanned in the UK, Strap made in Belgium
SERIAL NUMBERIndividually numbered, sequentially
LIMITED EDITIONEngraved with a unique year from 1977 – 2015
MODEL REFERENCEBS8-1930-0
RETAIL PRICE£3,950 inc. VAT (£3,291.67 ex. VAT)

Britain’s Work Benches

If you have not signed up to Giles Ellis of Schofield Watches ‘ amusing weekly newsletter you would have missed this interesting insight to the lives of some of the people behind Britain’s exciting watch sector. Giles posted images of their desks. If you do not want to miss further insights into the world of Schofield you can sign up on the Scofield website.

Giles Ellis – Schofield
Nicholas Bowman-Scargill – Fears
Piers Berry – Pinion
Alex Brown – Elliot Brown

I hope this has not taken away any of the mystery

Fears Book

I started my journey into the world of British watch brands by asking myself questions about the importance of heritage. This question coming from the appearance of Bremont on the market. I think most watch enthusiasts would agree that alongside prestige, heritage or at least a story is an important element of consideration in the choice of a watch.

On person that has understood this very well is Nicholas Bowman-Scargill the (4th) Managing Director of Fears Watches. Until the companies re-launch at Salon QP in 2016, Fears was not a brand most enthusiasts would, as marketing people would say, name spontaneously. Within the space of very few years Nicholas has very skillfully has managed to remind the watch comunity of his brands heritage, which I have not heard anyone question. As well as making the most of this history Nicholas has very successfully and tastefully taken design elements from the company’s history.

Last week saw the announcement by Bristol Books publishes a 176-page book today about the 175-year history of the Fears Watch Company. Titled, “Elegantly Understated: 175 years of the Fears Watch Company” the book takes a detailed look at one of Britain’s oldest watch companies from its founding in 1846, through to its closure in the late 1970s and its re-birth in 2016. Researched and written by Bristol-based author Jane Duffus, the book traces Fears’ extensive history across four chapters, each covering the era of one of the Fear family’s managing directors. The book’s foreword has been written by Roger Smith OBE, renowned watchmaker and Chairman of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers.

Printed and hardback bound in the United Kingdom, “Elegantly Understated” includes numerous photographs and illustrations from the Fears archive. Both watches and artefacts are reproduced in full colour along with maps of the former locations and the logos used by the company in each era. “Elegantly Understated” has been published in the year in which Fears celebrates the 175th anniversary of Edwin Fear founding his workshop on Redcliff Street, Bristol in 1846.

The author’s research over two years unearthed many new facts about the company, which had been thought lost when it closed its doors in the late 1970s. Her numerous interviews included members of the Fear family as well as one of the final watchmakers to work for the company in its first incarnation. This research has resulted in a detailed history not only of one of the oldest watch companies in Britain, but also of a family business that persevered through numerous world catastrophes such as two world wars and the great depression.

Commenting on “Elegantly Understated” being published, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, (4th) Managing Director of Fears Watch Company, says “I am delighted that the history of the company which I’m honoured to run today, has been published in time for such a significant milestone year in Fears’ history. Jane’s enthusiasm for creating this book meant her research left no stone unturned and resulted in her discovering new information that I’d previously not been aware of. To have this all in one place, in a beautifully bound book, filled with interesting anecdotes and numerous pictures is a huge joy for me. I hope that people enjoy reading and learning about Fears’ extensive history as much as I have.”

Commenting on writing “Elegantly Understated”, Jane Duffus, author, says “Tracing the Fear family’s history through time has been such a rewarding experience. This is a story that is about more than watches, because the Fears story also covers two world wars, a financial depression and even a global pandemic. This story about a heritage watch brand has also become a reflection of British society through the past 175 years, and I feel very proud to have been involved with this project. I hope others will enjoy the book just as much as I enjoyed working on it.”

In writing the foreword for “Elegantly Understated”, Roger Smith OBE commented “The 175th anniversary of Fears arrives at a pivotal time for British watchmaking. When we founded the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers to guide the resurgence of our sector, we immediately recognised the importance of Fears as one of our true heritage makers with a fascinating and genuine continuation of one of Britain’s oldest watchmaking families. It was therefore a privilege to contribute a foreword for this important book and I wish Nicholas and the Fears family my very best for another 175 years – and volume 2!”

This initiative underlines to me what an excellent PR job Nicholas is doing for his re-born company. This following his very innovative offer of the loan of a Fears watch to those needing to make the right impression for a job interview. Should Nicholas ever decide watches are no longer for him he would have a great future in PR. We all hope he continue with his current calling – watches

Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers

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:

https://britishwatchmakers.com/join-us

New Fears Elegance

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

http://www.scottishwatches.co.uk/2020/09/28/scottish-watches-podcast-183-catching-up-with-nick-from-fears-watches/

Fears partners with Great Britain campaign

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.”

Commenting 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 the globe.”

Worn & Wound interview Fears

Just a quick post this evening. I have just listened to the latest interview of Nicholas Bowman- Scargiil by Worn & Wound. Well worth a listen https://wornandwound.com/podcasts/the-worn-wound-podcast-ep-114-bringing-back-fears-with-nicholas-bowman-scargill/

In this interview Nicholas gives an insight into the co-operation between the British brands.

Fears Redcliff Streamline

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.

Back again….

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.

https://player.fm/series/wrist-time/nicholas-bowman-scargill-of-fears-watch-company

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.

Fears Brunswick Midas

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 ?

You might remember my teaser

Fears Brunswick Midas – Teaser

Fears Brunswick Midas

Caseback of Fears Brunswick Midas

 

CASE

Phosphor Bronze plated with multiple layers of yellow & rose gold, 38mm x 38mm cushion-shaped, plated and finished in the UK

LUG WIDTH

20mm

MOVEMENT

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

GLASS

Sapphire Crystals to front (with anti-reflective) and back

DIAL

Cold resin enamel with skeleton Fears hands, plated in yellow & rose gold, made in the UK

FUNCTIONS

Time with subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock

WARRENTY

2 Year guarantee from date of purchase

STRAP

Fears Bristol Leather Strap – crafted from premium calf leather made in Bristol

SERIAL NUMBER

Individually numbered, sequentially

MODEL NUMBER

BS23801

RETAIL PRICE

£3,950 inc. VAT