INTRODUCING: The Fears Brunswick Pt. combines platinum and diamonds with British understatementThor Svaboe
Fears Watch Company is a big part of the renaissance of British watchmaking and yet another sign of the new roaring 20s as UK horology continues to regain its momentum. The most important model in the Fears catalogue is the Brunswick and I had the impression that it peaked with the beguiling vertical striations on the salmon-coloured reference we covered here. Today they turn their hand-crafted dial up to 11 with the Fears Brunswick Pt.
I admit to this now being on my own wish-list, as I do have a tendency to wave the flag for the spirit and determination of the smaller, independent maisons. I had a peek behind the proverbial curtain last week, and the pleasure of chatting with their managing director Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, and was knocked out by the audacity of this launch. The sheer enthusiasm and intuitive horological understanding – while not adhering to trends – is thoroughly refreshing and apparent from the timeless designs in their repertoire.
The Brunswick in itself is a wristwatch close to my heart in terms of its 38mm size with the pebble-smooth oeuvre of a Laurent Ferrier. This says a lot for the design nous of Bowman-Scargill and his team without using words like “nail” and “head”. But why during our interview was Nicholas clutching a solid lump of graphite, and why did the moody shot of the Brunswick Pt seem familiar, yet very different, almost lusciously so with the reflected light bouncing off the rounded case sides and that delicious twinkle in the crown? The dial itself is a two-tone soft black with the outer part finished in a delicate vertical brush technique, framed with a quiet silver railroad track. And yet more twinkly details…
The teased letters Pt should have given the game away, Platinum indeed it is. By using nearly 100g of Platinum, the Brunswick Pt case is a Brunswick, but not as we know it. It takes nearly 100 man hours in their Norwich studio to shape and hand finish each case, to the impossibly deep lustre only the Big P can achieve. Turn it around and the solid soft back gives us the vibe of a Platinum ingot, purposefully of course, quips Bowman Scargill. Fears have gone to the charming lengths of actually registering a new hallmark for use on the back of the Brunswick Pt, NBS carrying forward a Fears tradition from 1846, where the Managing Director at the time had his initials as a hallmark, and so it is in 2o21, on both Platinum case and buckle.
The dark dial itself is the picture of British understated elegance, and made me want to put on a decent shirt in the home office for writing this (true story). The dial has a coating of real anthracite combining three surface finishes to give me the feeling of a rich black smoking jacket with matching silk lapels, such is the discrete tonal variation. The Arabic numerals are platinum-plated, while the solid platinum hand set is hand-bevelled and polished. In a British take on Zaratsu through determination rather than a spinning wheel, each hand takes a full day of hand finishing, the bevel being frosted on one side, polished on the other.
Yes, that first glimpse of something special in the crown is indeed an inset clear diamond, as is six of the indices on the dial, a restrained look instantly enamouring me to the sparkle of the flawless stones. Without sounding chauvinistic, it doesn’t take more than this to now fully comprehend my wife’s obsession with this hardest material on earth. I’d have to fit one of those fiddly clasp locks to stop her from robbing me in my sleep..
Due to the inherent time spent hand crafting the watch, the Fears Brunswick Pt will only be produced in a number of four pieces a year, so it’s in fact a made-to-order wristwatch, further enhancing its appeal. The 38 x 38mm cushion-shaped case has a 12.12mm thickness with its domed sapphire crystal, 20mm lug width, and comes on a stylishly juxtaposed strap made of Kevlar, with a platinum coloured seam and dark blue alcantara lining. A delightful and contemporary twist to this hand-crafted piece of wrist dazzle. Its movement is the iconic ETA 7001 hand wound calibre, a 17 jewel movement beating at 21,600 vph with a 40-hour power reserve.
My conclusion is simple. With Fears, one of Britain’s oldest family-run watch companies headed by the great-great-great-grandson of Edwin Fears, they have hit a nerve. One which revolves around quiet elegance, British understatement and that, somewhat inconveniently, now has me yearning for a watch with diamonds.
The Fears Watch Company Brunswick Pt, price and availability:
The Fears Brunswick Pt is priced at £28,200 on a Kevlar strap. For more details and other options, visit Fears Watch Company right here.