The Final Fears Quartz: The Redcliff Streamline
I’ve given the Fears Redcliff a bit of a hard time in the past that might have been a little unjustified. Sure, launching a heritage brand on the back of a quartz watch wasn’t ideal, but Fears needed to launch something and it was a stunning little starting point. Then again, I could just be getting a little nostalgic; it is after all time for the last quartz Redcliff to leave the manufacture.
Let’s not get too morose though as there’s also something to celebrate: the 1000th day in Fears’ bright, bold new era. Yep, it was (almost) 1,000 days today that Nicholas Bowman-Scargill relaunched his family legacy with the aforementioned Redcliff and led to me buying a Brunswick. Think about how many businesses fail in their first three years; so far, so good for Fears.
So, what piece is worthy of celebrating two big milestones for the brand? Say hello to the Redcliff Streamline which, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is an impeccably handsome piece.
The 38mm stainless steel case is the same shape as the others in the family of course – this is a tribute rather than a departure – but the dial is something else entirely. The vintage-inspired Forties Silver is, as it’s name suggests, right off old post-war dress watches, complete with a vertical grain. This is then printed with black-edged gilt numerals for a finish straight out of the 40s – which is in fact where it’s from.
The Streamline was originally built in 1946 (sans the Redcliff moniker of course) by the original Fears manufacture and was one of their most popular designs. It’s not hard to see why. It’s elegant in all the ways that matter without being too dressy. The new piece even features a red central seconds hand, a signature touch lifted directly from the early Fears range from the 40s and 50s.
Even the price is vintage. Back in the day, the Streamline cost £11.2s.6d. Today the coins that would have paid for it are probably worth more. In pricing the Redcliff Streamline, Fears hasn’t budged – just adjusted for inflation to £483. It’s not like we can physically pay .6d anyway. I can pretty much guarantee Fears is making a pittance on each one.
To see all this attention lavished on a quartz watch is bemusing and charming in equal measure. Still, it shows that the original Redcliff was more than just a necessity and deserves a good send-off. Plus it means that every new Redcliff will have a mechanical movement, bringing in line with the Brunswick.
Take my money now.