British watchmaking is making a comeback - One great watch brand at a time...
Founded in 1846 and currently under the watchful eye of 6th generation Managing Director, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, Fears are steeped in history. Originally located in Bristol and one of the oldest watch family-run companies in the UK, they have been revived by Nicholas’ passion for horology and a steady release of wonderful watches since they rebooted in November 2016 has increased their popularity and demand for the brand.
Fears first came to my attention during the inaugural Red Bar Bristol event way back at the beginning of 2020. Nicholas was in attendance, not to push the brand, but as a fellow enthusiast and collector. We had a brief chat about Fears and watch making and all the while I was smitten with the white Brunswick. In a room full of Rolex, Grand Seiko and Zenith I couldn’t help but gravitate back to this wonderful piece which is a testament its excellent quality and design.
A straightforward three-hander, no fuss, an instrument for telling the time only. Although, this piece isn’t as simple as it might first appear. With an elegant cushion case, dynamic blue dial and open case back all making for a compelling piece on and off the wrist.
Well-proportioned dimensions with a 38mm cushion case, coupled with a 42mm lug to lug and mere 11mm thick, the Brunswick sits perfectly on my wrist. In a world of circular dominated watches, I admire the square case shape and how it fills the wrist without being overbearing. Following my time with the Brunswick, a ‘square’ watch is certainly on my radar.
Fears haven’t cut any corners with quality and finish on the Brunswick. The multi-faceted case is forged from 316L stainless steel with flowing curves from domed bezel to case on to the gorgeous lugs. At first I was unsure on the lugs and considered them an afterthought, but spending time with the Brunswick made me realize how much they add to the overall aesthetics and help pronounce the square case shape further.
Fears state the blue dial passes through no fewer than 56 processes which result in the stunning dial which reveals itself in varying angles and light. There are two blue segments to the dial, a lighter blue around the outer track, with a darker blue taking up the middle where the subsidiary seconds dial is located. The sub-dial is neatly executed and a welcome addition, and without it the Brunswick runs the risk of being, dare I say too sterile.
Even the Arabic numerals are applied by hand, with dots taking the place of odd numbers. Along with the mirror-polished pipette skeleton hands, they provide a sense of height and dimensionality to the dial. Personally, I adore applied markers and it is something other brands (I am looking at you NOMOS) need to experiment with to add height and texture to an otherwise flat dial.
An open caseback is home to a reassembled manual wound ETA 7001 movement. A tried and tested workhorse and perfectly reasonable for the Brunswick. There is an extra opportunity to discover the Fears pipette, in gold this time and all told it is tastefully executed, although part of me wishes a solid caseback would suffice and help bring the cost down a little.
Watch Straps for the Fears Brunswick Blue
Let's take a quick look at a few of our favourite strap combinations for the Fears Brunswick.
Dulas Vintage Genuine Leather Quick Release Dress Watch Strap in Brown
That blue dial is super versatile and looks spectacular on just about any of WatchGecko straps, and the textured Dulas Vintage in brown offers a wonderful contrast to the sector dial with its darker hues, coupled with its matching stitching it doesn’t take anything away from the watch head. If the Brunswick was in my collection I could see it living on this strap for good, it really does look incredible. Coupled with being beautifully soft and comfortable and the addition of quick release, it’s a no brainer for me.
Beswick Novonappa Leather Watch Strap in Diamond Pattern Brown
The diamond brown of the Beswick Novonappa adds some much-needed texture and detail to the package. The Brunswick being quite simple in its overall aesthetic enables a variety of straps to work with it and add detail whilst not being too overpowering. A 4mm taper to the buckle complements the elegance of the Brunswick perfectly.
Geckota "Oblique" Milanese Mesh Stainless Watch Strap in Polished
Last but by no means least is the Geckota Oblique Milanese Mesh strap which looks superb with its straight end links and gives the watch a real retro feel, whilst also flattering the stainless steel case of the Brunswick. This is a really refreshing look for the Brunswick, and the tight neat weave of the mesh hugely enhances the piece. It may be for everyone, but if you love a metal strap this really matches the design language. I love it.
Things I'd change
Pressed hard enough there are a few areas I would do differently, but not much, Fears have done a terrific job with the Brunswick. One of those would be the crown, which for me doesn’t flow with the overall aesthetic. Not being a huge fan of onion crowns in general doesn’t help, and maybe I am being a touch fussy here. The price is the one hurdle which may result in the Brunswick never finding a spot in my permanent collection.
Some final thoughts
We all read about in house movement this and brand prestige that, but Fears have created a compelling piece in a crowded price point and that is to be applauded and heralded, especially for a British watchmaker. Clearly, I am not alone in this assumption as the Brunswick blue, white and salmon dials are all sold out at the time of writing.
My time with the Brunswick was terrific, wearing it daily in almost all situations, I was sad to part with it when it headed back to HQ. Apart from my qualms mentioned (which are few and far between), I admired the Brunswick for its case shape, wonderful lugs and dynamic blue dial. The fact that it comes from a British watchmaker who is so passionate about horology makes it even better. If you haven’t done so already, please go and check them.
The Fears Brunswick Blue is now available for £3,350. We'd like to take this moment to thank Fears for sending this watch in on loan. Click here to find out more.
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