Mar 4, 2018

Fears Watch Company

Normally, micro brands don't attract me too decidedly, (and I am not sure this is even a micro) but the Fears Watch Co. has a story I find really compelling. Now granted, marketing hyperbole could be at play here, but Edwin Fears founded Fears Watchmakers in 1824 in the United Kingdom, and shuddered due to the advent of Quartz watches in the 1960's. That Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the great great great grandson of the founder decided to start the company back up after a two generation sabbatical, and with a nice looking watch too boot, all this tied together grabs me more than most. These are sold in batch runs, so looking with focus and diligence is advised.
The Brunswick is a very attractive piece, ETA 7001 and made in its entirety in the UK. First Christopher Ward, and now Fears..... A renaissance in British Horlogerie?
Happy Sunday

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Don't forget bremont
What this looks like to me, at least in its early twentieth century phase, is a jeweller who "made" watches by customizing Swiss watches. Cameron Weiss of the Weiss Watch Company has an old pocket watch from the turn of the twentieth century that has Los Angeles on the dial as do his watches. I got enough information about this watch from Weiss's podcast to track down in an old online newspaper archive the maker, which was a one-location downtown Los Angeles jeweller.

This must have been a thing, jewellery retailers buying Swiss movements and maybe even cases, and then adding a dial with the name of the jeweller on it. Kind of like store-brand diet ginger ale.

Here's a 1946 Fears watch that clearly says SWISS MADE:

I'm guessing that the company never made movements, although earlier on they may have sourced movements domestically in England if such an industry existed.

Props to the great x 3 grandson for securing the name. Usually these kind of revivals of dead watch companies involved unrelated parties, sometimes Chinese.

And putting aside what is called "pedigree collapse," the phenomenon of having fewer ancestors than you think you do because of inter-cousin marriage, we all have 16 great-great-great-grandfathers. And you could go back further or a little sideways or include moms. I bet many of us could find a gone-bust watchmaker/jeweller in our past to revive.


It appears that there indeed was a bit of pedigree collapse in the Fears family, maybe two or three first cousin marriages?

From that to that in only five generations.

I got this from here, I haven't read it and there seem to be many company details, so my suppositions about the nature of their watches may not be accurate:
Great post clo, thanks! This is why I post stuff in talk... to get people talking Back and forth and sharing info on watches, precisely like this post of yours. Kudos.

You are correct that watch companies in the 20th century would make pieces for retailers and have them branded for that retailer. Even Rolex would do this, most memorable being the watch made for Tiffany & Co. up until the 1980’s or so. I see this much more in exclusive whisky bottlings for several old usually English retailers who will sell a whisky with their name proudly Displayed front and center, and in smaller print “23 year old Tobermory” or the like. Maybe this was a common practice from the 1800 and 1900’s, as maybe it was thought that other companies are better at marketing and selling than making

Come to think of it, the Massdrop exclusive headphones and the similar are very akin to this.

something to crunch on for the day in the spirit of conversation.

I’ve gotta roll, cheers

There seems to be a lot of micro brands, and honestly I haven’t paid much attention to them. What do you think is driving this renaissance? Is it a value proposition? Ease of fund raising through crowd sourcing? Accessability to millions of customers via social media? Some combination of the above?

This is a really great question. I very rarely pay any mind to micros, and thanks to @kpjimmy, I have developed a bit more appreciation for some of them, but still most just fall by the way side. My only trigger for the interest in Fears is that I like what Christopher Ward has been doing, and the romanticism of watch making having a renaissance in England (Rolex fast forward to the 21st century).

I would say the surge of micro bands might stem from built in marketing thanks to exposure on crowd sourcing websites, and the bountiful production capabilities in China of watchmakers that have likely had a slowdown from fashion brands suffering at the hands of the Apple Watch and it’s like.

Fears apparently keeping assembly and most part production had an allure.
I believe that the white dial is enameled, very cool!
It is a cold resin enamel dial, and those oh so beautiful skeleton hands.... lovely little details
That is nice. Reminds me of a Panerai!
And let's not forget about Farer watches out of the UK, either.
Nice vintage looking piece. It would look great with great with an off white dial and some aged lume. Yet another brand to keep an eye on. Thanks for posting this for us watchaholics.
Simple,yet sophisticated.Lovely.What does it cost ?
In the case of the top of the line Brunswick, about $2400 usd. They do have quartz models that start around $800 usd as well.
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