Watching Fears Watches grow in confidence and stature has been something of a personal point of pride here at QP, afterall the British brand (re)launched at SalonQP in 2016.
A historic name in British watchmaking, Fears Watches operated in Bristol from 1846, selling its last watch 120 years later in 1966. Fifty years on, the business was reborn under the stewardship of 6thgeneration family member, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, whose keen eye for design helped create a product informed by its past but one that appealed to contemporary tastes.
Launching with the quartz-based Redcliffe model, which quickly developed a following, Bowman-Scargill was able to progress to the Brunswick, a handsome cushion-cased, manual wind watch. We wore the prototype of this watch during SIHH 2018 and the interest it attracted whilst surrounded by luxury watches in the grand halls of Geneva’s PalExpo proved Fears was on the right track.
Since then Fears has not shied away from ambitious projects, releasing a white-dialled Brunswick, with five layers of polished white lacquer that is the closest thing we’ve seen to an enamel or even porcelain dial, and, in a bid to replicate the warm tones of its historic rolled gold watches, the Brunswick Midas, with a marine-grade bronze case plated first in 18ct rose gold before a top layer of 9ct yellow gold. The Midas is limited to single figures each year by the complicated nature of the case and represents Fears most expensive watch at £3,950.
The latest Fears watch is the Brunswick Blue, which is more involved than the colour change the name first suggests. No simple blue-dialed update this, instead Bowman-Scargill has worked closely with his dial supplier to create his most intricate, and accomplished, watch yet.
Three layers are created by machining out both the central section and perimeter 0.3mm lower than the ‘raised’ numeral ring. The small seconds dial is then machined a further 0.7mm lower than that. Vertical brushing is manually applied to the numeral ring before a galvanic blue treatment is applied.
After polished appliques are fitted (Arabic numerals for the evens and dots for the odd) the logo, lettering and railroad ring markings are then printed in a mixture of white and light blue. According to Bowman-Scargill, it’s almost impossible to differentiate the light blue from white with the naked eye, but the difference it makes over printing everything using white is significant, producing a subtler finished product. A total of 56 processes are required but the resulting dial is worth the effort as the light plays different with each individual surface finish and layer.
The steel syringe hour and minute hands are mirror polished and a newly developed end cap placed over the axis for a finer finish.
The 38mm stainless steel case is different too, Bowman-Scargill describing it as the Mk.2 Brunswick case. The lines are sharper and the porthole-style exhibition caseback, which was the only point we were critical of on the original watch, has been subtly redesigned. The original dropped down to the movement vertically, emphasising that the handwound ETA 7001 movement was far smaller, and slimmer, than the case it sits in. The new design slopes more gently from caseback to movement.
While we got a kick out of wearing the original prototype, the Brunswick Blue is the most professional, accomplished watch yet produced by Fears with every aspect refined, lines sharper, details crisper. This is a high definition Brunswick.
The Fears Brunswick Blue is available now priced at £3,350, click here for more information.
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