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