170 year old British watch brand given second life after 60 year hiatus

Fears Watch Company, a business that can trace its history back to its foundation in Bristol in 1846, is re-launching after 60 years in mothballs at next month’s Salon QP exhibition.

2016 would have marked 170 years of continuous watchmaking for the British brand, had it not suspended operations 60 years ago.

The company has been brought back to life by Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the original founder’s great-great-great-grandson.

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Fears Watch Company was originally founded by Edwin Fear in 1846 in Bristol, before growing during the 19th and 20th centuries to a point that by the late 1920s it was employing over 100 people.

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The export warehouse, which had its own Post Office branch, fulfilled orders received from 95 “Foreign and Colonial” countries.

Having survived two world wars, Fears closed in the late 1950s when the fourth generation decided not to continue the business.

It has been brought back to life by Mr Bowman-Scargill, the 6th generation of the Fears family, after he completed nearly five years training with Rolex in their London workshop.

Visitors to SalonQP, which opens on November 3 at London’s Saatchi Gallery, will see the first new collection. The watches have been designed in Britain before being manufactured in Switzerland, meaning Fears watches still carrying the “Swiss Made” label as they had for over a century before.

The first watch to carry the Fears name on its dial in 60 years will be revealed on the opening night of the show.

The Fears Redcliff Date takes its name from the street in Bristol where the company was originally founded.

The Redcliff Date is an analogue three-hand watch featuring the date in a window at 3 o’clock.

It is powered by a Swiss Ronda quartz movement housed in a 38mm stainless steel case designed to suit both men and women.

Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the original founder’s great-great-great-grandson, has brought Fears Watch Company back to life.

Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the original founder’s great-great-great-grandson, has brought Fears Watch Company back to life.

White and blue dial editions are being launched both priced at £650.

Fears will sell the watches directly via its own website, but is also building up a channel of independent stockists.

“Today is an exciting day in the British watch industry. After 60 years absent, one of the country’s oldest names in wrist watches is once again on a watch dial,” says Mr Bowman-Scargill.

“We’re very fortunate to have 170 years of company history to inspire us while we created a modern, stylish watch for 2016. The new watch and re-established brand has also been influenced by the classic lines of mid-century British design, typography and architecture. This was one of the last periods when items were elegantly designed to last a life time, something Fears firmly believes in today. I look forward to re-building the company into one the past three generations of Managing Directors would have been proud of.”

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