Published on 11th November 2016
In 1846, a talented young man named Edwin Fear established a watchmaking workshop and showroom on Redcliff Street. Over the subsequent 110 years, three generations of the Fear family grew the business into a respected watch company in the UK and in over 95 countries around the world.
After six decades dormant, Fears has been re-established in 2016 by Edwin’s great-great-great-grandson to once again produce high quality wrist watches designed in Britain and made in Switzerland
We caught up with Nicholas and were delighted to be able to have a look at the watches first hand, we also took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about Fears Watch Company:
What inspired you to create this new generation of Fears watches?
Since I was a child I’ve always loved watches. Whether it was handling them or simply looking at them on my wrist I always was fascinated about how they worked and what made them tick. After graduating I had a false start working in PR for a few years but then reverted back to my true passion and was successful in becoming an apprentice in the Rolex workshops in London.
After several years learning how to repair watches I realised that the time had come for me to take the leap and start my own company, which is when I learnt about the history of the family business from my Mother. That light bulb moment then resulted in two years of obsessive work to relaunch the brand and release the first new Fears watch in 60 years.
Can you tell us a bit about what goes into the making of a Fears watch?
A Fears watch is made up of several key components: the watch head, the strap and the packaging. Just as they did before, Fears watch heads are manufactured in Switzerland to a British design. This not only ensures the quality but also allows Fears to use the best components available in the industry. The straps are handmade in Belgium out of Indian goat’s leather, which is softer and more supple than ordinary calf leather. Lastly, the bespoke packaging is handmade just outside of Milan. All the workshops are family-run and independent, just like Fears, which is an important part of our brand – ensuring everything is done properly.
Have the fears watches of today got any similarities with the original Fears watches?
There are several things about the new Fears Redcliff Date that pay homage to Fears’ heritage. The logo on the dial for one is directly taken from a logo used on Fears watch dials in the1940s, it’s an elegant almost austere typeface that reflects the post-war era perfectly. The hands on the new watch are again taken from the style of hands used in this same period. Simple, with lots of luminosity for glowing in the dark, yet right at the tip have a little point. Finally, the name of the new watch family itself, “Redcliff” is referencing the street in Bristol where Edwin Fear opened his first workshop and showrooms in 1846.
What sets Fears watches apart from those in a similar price bracket?
What makes a Fears watch so special and unique at this price is that there is no other watch which has as much heritage yet is still 100% independent. The timeless simplicity of the design and the quality of materials used ensure that a Fears watch is able to be worn on the wrist for decades to come. This is confirmed with each watch coming with a “Watchbook” which is in essence a service history log book for the watch, similar to a car.
The design of the watch has a number of little design details, like the point at the tip of the hands to the little lightning bolt between the words “Electronic Oscillator” on the lower part of the dial. The more you look at the watch the more you notice these little things, each of which takes countless hours to design and ensure they only add and don’t take anything away from the watch.
What can we expect from Fears over the coming years?
As Fears is an independent self-funded watch company, we are very keen to grown the collection slowly to ensure each model remains available for years to come. Whereas a fashion watch is designed for only one season, a proper watch, like a Fears, is created to be treasured year after year. This means that every new watch to be added to the “Redcliff” family will have been carefully considered to make sure it has earnt the right be called a Fears watch.
Finally what does a Gentleman’s watch say about the Gentleman?
Though often repeated, the saying that a “watch says a lot about the Gentleman” is so true. A watch is often the first thing to be noticed and when you consider what a personal accessory it is, touching his wrist directly, for a watch to be worn it needs to have earnt the respect of the Gentleman putting it on.
Fears Watch Company will be showcasing at The Gentleman’s Grooming Show 2016. Be sure to check out their stand where as well as checking out the new range you will be able to take a look at some of the Vintage Fears collection.