Fears Brunswick Blue Dial Dazzles From All Directions Elegantly Understated since 1846 by Ben HodgesJanuary 15, 2020 MIN READFears Brunswick Blue Dial Dazzles From All Directions
The Fears Watch Company expands its mechanical timepiece offering with a new blue dial option in the Brunswick collection. The Brunswick Blue also signals the gradual phasing-out of quartz watches from the Fear’s line-up.
Nicholas Bowman-Scargill is the fourth Managing Director of Fears Watches. Founded by Edwin Fears in 1846 in Bristol, UK, Nicholas revived the Fears Watch Company name after it faded into dormancy around 1966. Retracing his Great-Great-Great-Grandfather’s steps, he set to work in creating a watch that not only paid homage to where the family business tailed off but would also appeal to the modern watch connoisseur. The Redcliff was a quartz piece, which, in 2016, was not necessarily en vogue with the mechanical watchmaking renaissance. But the story of revival and the history of Britain’s contribution to watchmaking generated enough interest from the enthusiast community for Bowman-Scargill to forge ahead with his family’s revitalized brand.
Re-established by the Sixth Generation of the Fears Family
Nicholas is one of the finest dressed gentlemen I have ever met. During our meeting, he was wearing Church’s shoes, a Hermès belt, and accompanied by the aroma of Acqua di Parma. On his wrist was the newly released manually-wound Fears Brunswick, for which he paid full price. No discount.
In the Summer of 2019, I attended the celebration of the first 1,000 days since the relaunch of Fears in 2016. Hosted in the Pickett leather goods store in Savile Row, London, I was able to get a sneak peek at a watch the Fears brand was developing. While only a prototype at this stage, I could see the brand was cooking up something special.
The Launch of the Fears Brunswick Blue
Fast forward to November 2019: I received a press sample of the Fears Brunswick Blue for a week. During the handover, I considered shooting locations that best suited the watch’s character. Initial misconceptions surrounding the Fears’ brand had me imaging cocktail parties and extravagant hotels, but after talking one-on-one with Nicholas, that all changed.
Under the bleak sky, the Brunswick’s blue dial still shone bright.
The Fears Brunswick collection is thoughtful, considered, and lovingly made for the times of relaxation and reflection. It is a watch that thrives, far from the pomp and circumstance so often associated with our industry. And so, I decided to take the Brunswick on a walk through the country that brought it into being. Off the radar, off the beaten track and surrounded by nature. Under the bleak sky, the Brunswick’s blue dial still shone bright, and the subtly curved case bent the reflections of the living world around itself.
The New Blue Dial
At the forefront of the new Brunswick is the stunning blue dial. Amazingly, the shade of blue used for the central sector is identical to that of the outer ring. To achieve this stunning visual contrast, Fears has grained each section in a different direction. The alternating surface finishes catch and reflect light differently. The result is that the sectors shift from light to dark, depending on the viewing angle. But Fears’ efforts to bring us something extra special don’t stop there/ To learn more about the 56 (yes, fifty-six) processes used to produce this dial, check out the video below:
Fitted to the Brunswick Blue is the vegetable-tanned ‘Bristol’ leather strap, whose name pays lip-service to the brand’s home city. The skeletonized hands perform their duties admirably without obscuring the dial. A recessed running seconds subdial is proportional to the sectors, offering excellent visual balance. Just as astutely considered is the typeface and layout of the dial printing. The numerals on the seconds counter are in a very pale blue as opposed to the ivory-hue of the logo.
The Case and Movement
The Brunswick Blue has a 38mm cushion case of stainless steel. It is reminiscent of the art deco designs of the 1940s. A mixture of brushing and polishing, the watch case has been given tremendous attention (especially the seamless flow from lugs to bezel). The Brunswick Blue’s case flanks are subtly curved, similar to classic models from Rolex, such as the Daytona and Day-Date. This flank forming results in a svelter profile, and a watch that sits close to the wrist, adding comfort to the wearer. As it turns out, all surfaces of the watch have some form of doming, including the sapphire crystal. The only flat exterior surface is the exhibition case back with a view of the movement.
The hand-wound caliber ETA 7001 may well be bought-in, but each gear and spring is disassembled and cleaned by the Fears team. It matters not that every caliber is delivered box-fresh from ETA: Fears will not shirk their quality control standards. The mechanical beating heart is reassembled and given some gentle brushing with the finishing touch being the Fears’ Pipette logo. I would have preferred a more “English” style of movement finish, with frosted baseplates rather than Geneva stripes. In my view, it would accentuate the Britishness, complimenting the case shape that reminds me of the hand-beaten British cars of the 1950s. The onion crown suits the cushion case and is a joy to wind between the 38-hours of power reserve.
I sincerely commend the attention to detail and thoughtfulness in the creation of the Fears Brunswick Blue. The finished product is a unique representation of British watchmaking. Understated yet elegant. The aforementioned frosted finishing on the movement would’ve been my only revision (and hacking seconds is always a bonus). I feel my time with Brunswick Blue brought me a greater understanding of the Fears Watch Company, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes the Brunswick and the focus towards mechanical brilliance. Visit FearsWatches.com for more info.
Brand Fears ModelBrunswick BlueReferenceBS23800ADialBlueCase MaterialStainless steelCase Dimensions38mm x 38mmCrystalSapphireCase BackSapphireMovementETA 7001Water Resistance30 MetresStrapBristol leatherFunctionsTime-onlyPrice£3,350 Watch of the Week
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About the author
Ben has been working in central London for 7 years. In that time, Ben has developed an interest in watches after being gifted his father’s Breitling at 25. He explores the weird and wonderful in horology at all price ranges,… read more
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