Welcome to Episode 20 of Tenn & Two Featuring Fears Watches
We are absolutely thrilled to be joined by our dear friend Nicholas Bowman-Scargill from Fears Watches as he stopped in Nashville during his recent US Tour. Y’all, he’s so Nashville already and we love it! We begin today with a bit of Nashville talk and hearing about what he thinks of the city.
He’s fresh out of New York where he attended Wind Up and talked about his experience there as a guest. Instead of presenting at the watch show, Nicholas spent a few days hosting a trunk show at a friend’s shop in the city. He explains his preference of being able to have one on one conversations and interactions with his clients. He discusses that in three years, he hasn’t seen a Fears watch come up for sale on the secondary market and we discuss the idea that it is because of his attention to his clients and the fact that they become an extension of his family.
So, let’s get into the history of Fears watches which goes back 173 years after being started by Edwin Fear, Nicholas’ great great great grandfather. We talk about some of the vintage pieces that have come through Fears since the launch of the Fears Heritage program, which allows Nicholas to see these original pieces that were made by his family. The program includes a Fears Archive which is quite difficult considering the lack of information on older Fears watch models. Many Fears structures were destroyed during the war and what information was left had been discarded when the company closed. In just a few years, he has been able to piece together quite a bit of the history in order to construct these archives.
We chat about how he became involved with the family business as he spent most of his life not knowing about the history behind the family brand. It wasn’t until a few years ago while Nic worked for Rolex and was at lunch with his parents that his mom suggested he re-start the family business. Just in case you’re wondering, Google isn’t the most helpful in regards to “how you start a watch company”.
Nicholas’ start into the hobby was quite interesting. As a teenager, he had catalogs from Omega and Ernest Jones sitting around and would flip through them. After doing his fair share and research at various watch dealers, he started working and saving up. His first good watch, the Omega Great White that he spent two years saving for that he bought just before his 18th birthday. His second watch, a Ball RR watch that he purchased for the history and due to his passion for trains.
Back to Fears, his first release in 2016 was the Redcliff Date. Followed swiftly in 2017 with the release of both a GMT Redcliff and the Brunswick (which launched 4 years early). Keeping things close to the history of the brand, both watch names come from historical cities for Fears watches. Nicholas shares the unique history and story behind the Brunswick collection being their first mechanical timepiece.
Nicholas talks about the future as next year Fears will be celebrating their 175th anniversary. There may be a limited edition watch coming out to celebrate and we are quite excited about this. Another part of his celebration, restoring the burial site of Fears Watches founder, Edwin Fears which was recently discovered.
We talk about the fact that Fears does not have investors and Nicholas is totally in control. This is something that allows him to make watches that are truly specific to what he wants in the design of his timepieces. Nicholas explains that he has no desire to do a dive watch and that if he were to ever do a sports watch, it would be suitable for sipping gin and tonic on a yacht. He discusses the identity of the brand and how important it is that every timepiece produced reflect that truthfully. The Fears slogan, “Elegantly Understated”, is a true representation of what they do as a brand.
Fears today is going towards mechanical timepieces and they are down to the final few Redcliff designs. There is a new watch launching here in just a week and some new and exciting things coming next year.
Nicholas takes a few moments to answer some questions from our listeners which leads us to discussions about the new wool straps featuring Romney Marsh Wools. We also find out what parts of the watch are produced in the U.K. and possibly design a new watch. And we get to find out about his meeting with Tim Mosso thanks to a question from our Scottish friends.
This is where we wrap things up as we are heading off to meet some of the local Nashville watch fam!
We are incredibly thankful for Nicholas who spent so much of his day with us and the Nashville watch community. Be sure to check out his timepieces through his website and follow along over on Instagram.
Thank you to dear friend Abishek (Instagram @awatchgram) for capturing some of the photos from our meetup with Fears and thank you to The Bobby Hotel for accommodating us for the evening.
We hope y’all enjoyed and look forward to hearing your feedback and what you think!
Kat and Katlen
Tenn & Two