Fears – Inherited Heritage

Fears’ Inherited Heritage


Nicholas Bowman Scargill - Fears watches


It’s hard to convince people that I just happened to fall into this business. Watch writing isn’t the kind of thing you just fall into, especially when from the outside it looks like the family business. Trust me though when I say that it was never the plan. At one point though, it just… fit.

That’s how I imagine it felt for Nicholas Bowman-Scargill too. Fears Watches might be the revival of a family heritage, but it wasn’t something that was ever really on the cards until it happened. At first, Mr. Bowman-Scargill knew nothing of the old family business and was more interested in (gasp) finance.

The big problem was that he graduated from his economics course in 2008. Remember 2008? The banks still do. Needless to say, it didn’t seem like the best time to go into the finance industry. And so, like anyone that has a degree and isn’t sure how to use it, Nick ended up in PR.


Fears watches


Not to besmirch the good names of public relations workers, but there are more fulfilling lines of work out there. Certainly, there was for Nick, whose interests peaked at trains and watches. After convincing them that watchmaking was a natural progression from PR, he ended up training at the king of watchmakers, Rolex.

That’s actually when I first met Nick. At the UK launch of Tudor, he was front and centre, educating the members of the press in the intricacies of the then-newly revived brand. His PR training certainly came to the fore, that’s for sure, but there was a bigger revelation.

After deciding to go into watchmaking, Nick’s parents casually dropped the fact that he was heir to what was once West England’s largest watchmaker. That’s like training as a mechanic and casually being told that your family used to own Triumph.

How his family had avoided that little nugget for so long is beyond me, but thank god they did. While Rolex gave Nick a phenomenal opportunity, it wasn’t quite enough. Watchmaking isn’t well-known for it’s progression on merit. Master watchmakers have a lot in common with the protagonist of Highlander in that there can be only one.


Fears Brunswick watch


After that, Fears relaunched as a brand in a staggeringly short amount of time. It was incorporated in 2016 and near the end of that year showed off their first watch, the Redcliff, at Salon QP. It was fine but in my opinion launching a heritage brand with a quartz watch was a mistake – one that Fears rectified this year with the stunning manual-wind Brunswick.

Despite being one of the most affordable watches there, the Brunswick was one of the stars of both Salon QP and the Watchmakers Club Evening the night before. It’s clean, simple lines and vintage cushion case reminiscent of an old Vacheron Constantin made it an instant winner – enough that it’ll likely be my own next watch.

The key to the Brunswick is just how little fanfare it gives itself. It’s refreshing to be shown a lovely new watch without some spun yarn about how its revolutionising the watch industry or should be worn only in an Aston Martin DB5 along the south coast of England on the 5th of May at five past noon. Fears watches speak for themselves – and long may they keep doing so.

It just goes to show that, not matter how much you try to distance yourself – knowingly or not – from your family heritage, it can still catch up to you. It may be too late for me, but at least Nick’s making something potentially very special from his.

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