Reviewing the Fears Archival 1930 Watch Collection
Friday - 21 January 2022
The Fears Archival 1930 watch – whether with or without the running seconds - is a close interpretation of an important historical model from the brand’s heritage. From the expertly milled, polished and bevelled blued hands to the layered 18t yellow gold dial base and hand-crafted ox-blood red coloured calfskin strap - every small detail makes the Fears Archival 1930 watch a highly desirable timepiece to collect.
Charismatic Nicholas Bowman-Scargill has proved his capability in reviving a watch brand that once had a distinguished history. Founded in 1846 by a 22-year old watchmaker, Fears was one of Britain’s oldest family-run watch manufacturers and, in its prime, was supplying watches to 95 different countries. Challenging times after the ‘Wall Street Crash’ and the devastation caused to its premises by bombing during the Second World War sent the company into collapse. Alas, Nicholas was a former Rolex watchmaker and Edwin’s great-great-great-grandson who was eager to revive the family business back in 2016. Thus the second chapter in the brand’s story begins...
Since its revival, Fears has moved away from its quartz-powered watches and focused on its mechanical wristwatches, launching the steel cushion-shaped Brunswick watch. The watch was predominantly made in the UK, piquing the interests of British watch enthusiasts far and wide. The Brunswick watch is inspired by a company archive, but it’s not the only one to do so. The new Fears Archival 1930 watch collection is also based heavily on a historic model and is even powered by a refurbished old-stock ETA movement that only further adds to its charm and compelling character. These two new models named the Fears Archival 1930 watches were released back in August and feature a striking rectangular-shaped case that is hard to miss on the wrist.
Why does the Fears Archival 1930 watch matter so much?
There’s a reason why the Archival 1930 watch from Fears is such an important model to collect and own. Firstly, its release coincided with the 175th anniversary of the company, having been founded back in 1846 by Edwin Fear. Although the watch has grown ever-so-slightly, its proportions are a like-for-like match on the wrist. The design is a recreation of an Art Deco model that revives a styling from a bygone era. Lastly – one more reason that makes the Archival 1930 watch so impressive and special? It is powered by a new old-stock ETA movement that has been reconditioned for 21st-century use. Two new Archival 1930 watches define this new collection of Fears watches – one features a running seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock, the other does not.
Presented in a slim, rectangular, wooden box made of solid English ash, it becomes easy to appreciate all of a sudden how the design of the Fears Archival 1930 watch will make such a beautiful gift for those with a natural appreciation for vintage-inspired wristwatches. Whilst most luxury watch brands pay homage to a historical watch by borrowing some of its elements and combining these with a contemporary design, there is something different about the Archival collection. The watch looks and feels vintage and evidently, a great level of time, effort and concentration have been devoted to the design of this Archival 1930. The presentation box is stained in the bespoke blue Fears colour and boasts a slender shape inspired by traditional Fears watch boxes of the past. The cream suede-lined interior enhances the rectangular shape of the Archival 1930’s case.
Expertly machined from 316L stainless steel in Germany, the size, as mentioned, is discreetly enlarged whilst proportions are closely maintained to recreate the feel of the original watch from the year 1930. The milled case is then linearly brushed and highly polished, boasting a curved profile designed to fit the wrist comfortably. Matching this curvature is the back of the case which follows the contours of the wrist carefully. The dimensions of the 30-meter water-resistant case measure 40mm x 22mm and the back and sides of the case have been brushed, connecting to a closed caseback to finish. The top of the case is sealed with a sapphire crystal glass and integrated with an ARdur® anti-reflective coating both on the inside and outside.
The ETA 2360 movement dates back to the 1960s and is the chosen engine for the Archival 1930 model with no small second sub-dial. The manual-winding movement is fitted with an upgraded mainspring and features 7 jewels. It produces a 40-hour power reserve and performs at a rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour. Fitted to the core of the Archival 1930 watch with a small seconds sub-counter is the ETA 717 movements circa 1935. The manual-winding movement features 16 jewels and performs at a rate of 18,00 vibrations per hour, delivering a 38-hour power reserve and has also been fitted with an upgraded mainspring. Both movements chosen for the two models in the new Fears Archival 1930 watch collection have never been used. The original ‘new old-stock’ movements have undergone a full rebuild and reconditioning in the workshop while receiving said upgraded mainspring to improve reliability.
The finished dial in the two new Fears Archival 1930 watches is called the “Vintage Champagne” effect and is achieved through several intricate processes. Firstly, the dial base is polished and plated in 18ct Yellow Gold before being layered with a smooth, matte Champagne finish and a light 18ct yellow gold plating, adorned with a real gold border. Crisp black glossy Art Deco-inspired Arabic numerals create the overall feel of a vintage Fears watch and on the wrist and a railroad minute track surrounds a set of blued, expertly milled and diamond polished central hands with a tapering tip. Both hands feature a central bevel down their length to attract the light. Interestingly, the minute hand reaches out to kiss the minute track, creating a sense of equilibrium across the dial. Whether considering the version equipped with or without the running seconds function, both models make for a refined and timeless companion for the wrist.
A handmade Bristol Leather strap in a traditional Oxblood red colour is fitted to both models, crafted in an unmistakable Art Deco styling. The calf leather has been vegetable tanned at Bristol’s Thomas Ware & Sons facilities and is softy lined in Fears Blue Alcantara® for enhanced comfort against the skin. The strap is finished on a polished steel buckle engraved with the Fear logo.
If you’d like additional information on either of the two new Archival 1930 watches outlined in this introductory article, you can call our Jura Watches sales team on 01335 453453 or check the watches out here.