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Introducing The Fears Brunswick

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You'd be forgiven for not recognizing the Fears name. Founded in 1846 by Edwin Fear, a 22 year old watchmaker in Bristol, England, Fears was one of Britain's oldest family-run watch companies in its day. At its height, the company was shipping watches to 95 countries. But, like many family businesses, there comes a time when one generation doesn't have the desire to take it on. And so the business closed its doors in 1966.  

It wasn’t until 2016, when Edwin Fear's great-great-great-grandson, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill (previously an apprentice watchmaker at Rolex in London, where he spent five years), decided over a leisurely Sunday lunch that he was going to restart the old family business. The Brunswick is the first mechanical watch from the company in over half a century.

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The Brunswick in all its glory.


Crucially, this is a watch predominantly made in the UK (aside from the movement and strap), and the business has only been trading for 15 months. The steel cushion case is made entirely in the UK, along with both the dial and the hands. This is no mean feat for a 31-year-old MD whose funded the business himself. Nicholas relaunched Fears with a range of quartz watches (the Redcliff Collection), which “funded the development of the prototyping of the Brunswick,” he said. "It was important to us to utilize and champion as many of the great watchmaking and engineering skills that are alive and well in Britain today,” he continued. And when asked if its been tough, he simply said "I've not been on holiday for four years – but other than that its been great". 

I've long admired Laurent Ferrier – he is able to do what I think all good watch brands should be able to, and that is cover up the name on the dial and have the hands tell you who made the watch

– NICHOLAS BOWMAN-SCARGILL

Inspired by watches in the company archives, the Brunswick is just a damn good looking time-only watch. It's the right size for an everyday watch at 38mm, from a company with small production volumes. The cold resin enamel dial is spot on and the blued skeleton hands are glorious specimens (reminiscent of those on the JLC Master Control models launched at SIHH 2018). The steel cushion case is loosely based on a sterling silver Fears watch dating from 1924 (and requires an entire day of hand polishing!). It instantly reminded me of the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square (one of the finest creations in modern watchmaking, in my opinion), though I appreciate the differences in finishing for sure. It's no surprise Nicholas is also a fan of LF: “I've long admired Laurent Ferrier – he is able to do what I think all good watch brands should be able to and that is cover up the name on the dial and have the hands tell you who made the watch”.

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The man himself - Nicholas Bowman-Scargill.

Flipping the watch over, the caseback reveals a robust Swiss ETA 7001 lightly decorated in the UK with Côtes de Genève. For me though, it's actually what you don't see in the Brunswick that is most exciting. The brand itself is deeply considered, with a coherent brand identity. Though Nicholas would disagree – the man is a control freak (in a great way) – I really feel the brand will push on from here to become something of note in the modern watch industry.

The Brunswick was produced in two initial two batches, both of which have sold out and are currently being made, however, Fears is now taking pre-orders for the third batch, which will be delivered later this year.

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The inspiration for the hands on the Brunswick came from this vintage Fears watch.

The Basics
Brand: Fears Watches 
Model: Brunswick 

Diameter: 38mm x 38mm cushion-shaped, manufactured and finished in the UK
Thickness: 9-10mm
Case Material: Stainless steel 
Dial Color: White cold resin enamel with skeleton "Fears’ hands", thermally blued, both made in the UK
Indexes: Arabic numerals and chapter ring 
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Genuine Alligator in four color – Jet Black, Sapphire Blue, Ruby Red & Emerald Green

It was important to us to utilise and champion as many of the great watchmaking and engineering skills that are alive and well in Britain today

– NICHOLAS BOWMAN-SCARGILL

 

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Great typography  is a big part of why this dial works so well.


The Movement
Caliber:  Swiss ETA 7001 
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Diameter: 23.3mm
Thickness: 2.5mm
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Winding: Manual 
Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 vph)
Jewels: 17

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The ETA 7001 that powers the Brunswick is finished in the UK.


Pricing & Availability
Price:  £2,300 (inc. VAT ) / $2,675 (exc. VAT)
Availability: Pre-orders are now open via the Fears online boutique, delivery will be July/August 2018
 

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The 38mm cushion-shaped case wears very well on the wrist.

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