As many readers will know, thanks in part to this article, Fears has a long and rich history – though the majority of it is from a time before the current Managing Director was aware of its existence. The Fears brand was revived by Nicholas Bowman-Scargill in 2016, and a year later launched the Brunswick; that watch that is now their flagship model and from which several other iterations have originated.
On first viewing, the Brunswick is a fairly simple watch. Blued hands over a white dial, all contained within a modestly sized and highly polished case. It’s only if you’ve had the chance to handle one, or studied many photographs of one, that you can fully appreciate all of the subtle touches and small details that are combined in this little package.
Let’s start with the case. What on paper looks like a small watch is actually more substantial than you may expect. The 38mm diameter is nicely sized for a dress watch, but the cushion case means that the watch as a whole probably takes up as much real estate on your wrist as a 40mm diameter watch with a more traditional shape. This isn’t to say it wears particularly large though. I measure the lug to lugs distance at about 43mm making this suitable for wrists far smaller than my own.
Additionally, the case isn’t simple at all. Instead, an intricate combination of flowing polished lines, crisp edges and relatively large expanses of brushed stainless steel offer plenty to enjoy at almost any angle. The circular brushing which frames the dial at each corner of the cushion is delicate enough that it reflects plenty of light and remains dressy, yet offers a good deal of contrast against the polished sides of the case. Only the rear of the watch feels a little plain in comparison, but Fears offer an engraving service here to personalise your watch.
Like the case, the dial becomes more interesting the closer you look. The hand-polished white lacquer dial beams a brilliant white as you would expect, and acts as a good base for the black printing above. The railroad track and Arabic numerals suggest a marine-type dial but the numerals themselves are too stylised to fit into that category. The tails of the curved numbers are a little too fancy for my personal tastes, but do suit the watch down to the ground – another example of something seemingly simple actually being a deliberate and distinct stylistic choice. The shape of the skeletonised hour and minute hands are already a recognisable feature of the brand, and thermally blued hands over white dial are always winner.
Inside the Brunswick is the ETA 7001, originally developed by Peseux in the 1970s. This hand-wound Swiss calibre beats at 21,600 bph and gives a power reserve of 42 hours. The main draw to using the ETA 7001 is its size. In additional to being small in diameter, it is also very thin. The Brunswick sits at just over 11mm in height, which is a little more than I would have anticipated, and certainly taller than it actually feels on the wrist. That height does include the domed sapphire (with internal and external AR), but as you might be able to see from the photos some of the height is hidden by the mid case and lugs sitting a little higher than the case back. The movement has been decorated with Côte de Genève, and a golden Fears ‘pipette’ applied.
This watch is fitted with a deep blue calf-leather strap which is soft straight out the box, though other options are available from Fears. I have to say that although the strap suits the watch it doesn’t necessarily suit me, but a nice warm ostrich strap plays well against the blue hands. I’ve also seen the watch on Fears’ ‘Passport Red’ strap and the combination works better than you might expect. The Brunswick strap has quick-release spring bars and a 20mm lug width to make strap changes nice and easy.
Overall, the Fears Brunswick doesn’t really suit my lifestyle and doesn’t suit my budget (this model comes in at £2,850 including VAT) but I can’t help but like it. The price is high for an ETA 7001 equipped watch, but I’d wager that the case, dial, maybe even the handset each contribute to the cost just as much as the movement alone. With the Brunswick you’re not just paying for a white dial dress watch. You’re paying for an intricately designed and well finished case, a hand-finished dial, a unique handset and plenty more besides, all produced and assembled in small batches. If you really appreciate the value in those kinds of things, then this feels like a suitable purchase to mark a special occasion, to be worn on special occasions.
- Dimensions: 38mm diameter x 11.25mm height x 42mm lug to lug
- Weight: 55g
- Water resistance: 5 ATM / 50m
- Movement: ETA 7001
- Accuracy (observed): +3 sec/day
- Lug width: 20mm
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: £2,850 inc VAT
- Buy here: https://www.fearswatches.com/products/brunswick-white