Introducing: Fears Archival 1930

by Adrian Barker August 13, 2021

Happy Birthday Fears watch company! 

Fears is 175 years old, which is likely to make them the oldest British watchmaker still around having been started in 1846 by Edwin Fear. To celebrate this milestone Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, Fears’s 4th Managing Director, has launched 2 new pieces. They both have rectangle cases and are the first watches to be part of the new “Archival” family, with these being called Archival 1930. 

As you can guess from the name, the new watches are a modern interpretation of an old Fears watch from the 1930s with a smart little “easter egg”, These watches are powered by NOS (new old stock) movements from 1930s and 1960s that have been stripped down and rebuilt.

Original Fears from the 1930s.

These modern interpretations, although much larger for the modern wrist and style, carry many of the subtle touches from the original. 

Here are the details:

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Fears Archival 1930
Case:

  • 316L stainless steel
  • 22mm wide x 40mm lug to lug
  • 8.54mm thick
  • 20mm lug width
  • Blued hands
  • Sapphire Crystal with ARdur anti-reflective coating

Movement:

  • New-Old-Stock Swiss made ETA 2360, circa 1968, 
  • manual winding, 
  • 17 jewels, 
  • 18,000vph (2.5Hz) and 
  • 40 hr power reserve.
  • Reconditioned, serviced, and fitted with an upgraded main spring in the UK

Price: £3,500 inc VAT

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Fears Archival 1930 Small Seconds
Case:

  • 316L stainless steel
  • 22mm wide x 40mm lug to lug
  • 8.54mm thick
  • 20mm lug width
  • Blued hands
  • Sapphire Crystal with ARdur anti-reflective coating

Movement:

  • New-Old-Stock, Swiss made ZentRa 185/ETA 717, circa 1935, 
  • manual winding
  • 15 jewels
  • 18,000vph (2.5Hz) 
  • 38 hr power reserve
  • Reconditioned, serviced, and fitted with an upgraded main spring in the UK 

Price: £3,950 inc VAT

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Both watches are limited editions, but the Small Seconds is a limited within this limited edition. Here’s how the press release explains the limited edition:

The Archival 1930 is limited to 175 pieces, recognising the significant anniversary the watch has been created to mark. Along with a serial number, each watch’s case back is also engraved with one of the years from 1846 up to 2021. The 175 watches are split into two models to reflect the 136 years the company has been operational (1846 – 1976 and 2016 – present day) and the 39 years when it lay dormant (1977 – 2015). A subtle nod to this part of the Fears heritage. The first watch, with the founding year, 1846, on its caseback, has been donated to the Bristol Museum for their permanent collection.

The two models differ by the movements that power them, with the two-handed Archival 1930 (136 watches) using a new old stock manual winding movement dating from the 1960s. While the three-handed Archival 1930 Small Seconds uses a new old stock manual winding movement dating from the 1930s. Both are movements that Fears used in the past. Each movement, having never previously been used, has undergone a full re-build and recondition in the workshop while receiving an upgraded mainspring to enhance reliability.

In today's market I don't see these watches as being a "daily wearer", unless you're as well dressed as Nicholas himself, but these do perfectly fit into the dress watch category, and not just by design but by execution as well. Given the attention to detail on the finishing, case curvature, dial framing and subtle touches of colour, these feel special. As you're getting ready for that fancy occasion and you pull our your best cufflinks and belt, these watches will easily join that line up.

Nicholas and the Fears team have done a great job at creating a very classy dress watch which has an impressive amount of details from their original 1930s piece, but tastefully adjusted it for the modern market. 

For more details visit fearswatches.com


Adrian Barker
Adrian Barker

Author


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