Earlier this month, I found myself at a formal dinner sitting a few seats away from Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, proprietor, and 4th generation managing director of the quintessential British watch brand Fears. As much as I enjoyed the discussion, I couldn’t help but notice the rather peculiar watch on his wrist. Nicholas, ever the gentleman, was quick to hand me the watch, and without explaining anything, sat there waiting for my reaction. The watch in question was the Fears Garrick, a collaboration between two British brands, representing the distinguished styling of Fears paired with the remarkable engineering of Garrick in a single vision. My reaction? This thing is good. Very good.
The Fears Garrick is as much a celebration of friendship as it is British watchmaking, having begun as a conversation between Nicholas and Garrick co-founder, David Brailsford over a pot of tea in 2018. Fears had only been resurrected by Nicholas a mere 2 years prior, after a brief 40 year period off the market (the brand was founded by Nicholas’ great-great-great-grandfather in 1846). The pair managed to push the project through the global unpleasantness of recent years, and the result is quite special.
The watch, which is officially called the Fears Garrick, will be built in the Garrick workshop in Norfolk, with output expected to be between 10 and 15 pieces per year. It is not limited. Garrick is known for their shunning of mass production methods, with each piece being built to order. They’ve developed a movement in partnership with Andreas Strehler called the UT-G, which is beautifully reserved in its finishing, and houses some trick features that you can read about here. The Fears Garrick will employ a new movement based on this caliber, called the UT-G04.
This is a hand-wound movement which places a power reserve indication at 2 o’clock, and a running seconds at 10 o’clock, joining a fully exposed balance wheel at 6 o’clock. I’ll admit, I’m generally unmoved by open dial watches, but this watch may have single handedly changed my stance on the matter. The balance wheel sits against a matte gray bridge underneath, making for a crisp view of the free sprung balance spring and Sircumet rimmed balance wheel. Traversing the structure is a single horizontal bridge that receives a satin brush at the top, and a steep polish chamfer along its edge. It’s a striking component to behold, begging a closer examination of its finer details.
An “Old English White” dial serves as the canvas, and appears matte in texture, pushing all focus to the balance, and the black gold polished ‘Edwin’ style applied numerals which stand tall in full contrast. Finally, an openworked hour and minute hand navigate the time in restrained style aided by a railroad minute track. All of this is fit within the confines of a 42mm steel case, which maximizes the impact of the dial.
The typeface of the numerals is bespoke to Fears, and is meant to be a distillation of historical Fears typefaces. They are simple yet distinctive in a way that feels effortless, but also makes me want to see more of it than the limited selection I’m getting on the dial. Likewise with the design of the hands, there’s not much to them, but they feel special. I’m tempted to call them my favorite single detail of the watch, but this feels an impossible task. Seriously, they are thin lines that use the negative space to create the appearance of a thick hand when you need to read the time, but fade to the background when enjoying the rest of the dial. Like many of the other small details, the more you observe them, the deeper you appreciate them.
This watch should be a tentpole for Fears in their journey to re-establish the foundation of their roots. Garrick serves as instrumental in making that happen in a way that few others could. If this watch says one thing it’s certainly this, Fears is back.
The Fears Garrick is a permanent collection watch that will be produced in limited quantities, and available exclusively from Fears. The price is £16,250 excluding VAT, which is equal to a touch over $20,000. More from Fears here, and be sure to check out Garrick here.
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