To us and undoubtedly to many others, watchmaking is far more than just producing and selling watches. It is about passion, friendship, building a community and supporting and protecting the craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking for future generations. And every now and then, paths taken in the industry tend to intertwine, which can lead to intriguing collaborations benefiting both sides of the party. Garrick is one such company, determined to reinstate British watchmaking as the leading industry it once was. Today the brand announces it has joined forces with Fears Watches, another British watchmaking institution. The result is the best of both worlds, aptly named the Fears Garrick.
Garrick & Fears, Fears & Garrick
Garrick is no newcomer to MONOCHROME and a brand we’ve featured many times before. Headed by David Brailsford, it aims to put the UK back on the map as the watchmaking power it once was and has devoted all its efforts to creating beautiful, intriguing mechanical watches. It started out with relatively affordable collections like the Shaftesbury, Hoxton and Norfolk lines and has gradually upped its game with increasingly complex movements combined with more and more in-house artisanal craftsmanship. The kickstart to this newfound ambition was the Portsmouth, which featured a proprietary movement developed with industry legend Andreas Strehler and his company UhrTeil Ag.
Fears Watches can be traced back to 1846 and is one of the oldest family-run companies in Britain. The company was founded by Edwin Fear in Bristol, from where he imported, sold and serviced clocks and watches from the US, Germany and Switzerland. Fears would also produce pocket watches and subsequently wristwatches under its name. With ownership handed down from father to son through multiple generations, Fears Watches survived the great depression of the 1930s and even WWII despite facilities being bombed by the Germans. By 1976 the company had gone bust, only to be revived by Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the great-great-great-grandson of Edwin Fear.
The two men leading both Garrick and Fears Watches have been long-time friends, so it was to be expected that at some point, a collaborative effort would ensue. The project, which started way back in 2018 in a coffee shop, was intended to unite Garrick’s expertise in high-end watchmaking and Fears’ heritage and attention to detail. Now, three years later, the covers are pulled back to reveal the Fears Garrick.
The Fears Garrick Watch
From the outside in, we start with a 42mm wide and 10mm tall 904L stainless steel fully polished case produced in Garrick’s workshops. It has a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the front and back and a large, sturdy pull-out crown to wind and set the watch. The relatively thin bezel opens up the face of the watch for a rather large dial. The flowing lugs give it a soft, gentle profile and should make for comfortable wear on the wrist.
The dial is where Fears’ input can be appreciated, sharing elements from several collections by the brand. It starts with an Old English White base dial with a paper-like matte finish. This is embraced with a black printed minute track on the outer edge of the dial, only to be interrupted by the large, exposed balance wheel at 6 o’clock. One step in, we find applied diamond-polished Edwin Fears’ numerals with a black gold coating.
In the top half, we find a small seconds sub-dial with a bevelled edge, black printed scale and a black-finished hand. Opposite is the power reserve indication, which has a very fine red and black printed scale and a black-finished hand. In between is the combined branding of the two companies. The central hour and minute hands are hollowed and again finished in black for a refreshingly modern look.
But of course, the main attraction in the Fears Garrick is the fully visible free-sprung balance held in place by a hand-finished bridge with bevelled and polished edges. Courtesy of Garrick’s Exclusive Calibre UT-G04, this runs at a leisurely pace of 18,000vph and provides 45 hours of autonomy. The UT-G04 was introduced in the stunning Garrick S3 and was an update on the movement used in the Garrick S1 and Garrick S2. In typical British style, it has a three-quarter plate covering most of the movement with the winding system mounted flush on top and several screwed and polished chatons for the jewels. The sober finishing is done by hand and includes frosting, polishing and anglage. It’s also mounted very close to the sapphire crystal, which makes it look like you could literally touch it.
The Fears Garrick comes on a blue or taupe calfskin strap handmade in the UK. It is limited to a production of just 10 to 15 pieces per year and is exclusively available through Fears Watches. This is mostly down to production capacity as these watches take time and patience to finish to perfection, and both brands work in small teams. Orders can be made now, with the delivery of the first pieces to commence by December 2022. The price for the Fears Garrick is GBP 16,250 excl. VAT or GBP 19,500 incl. VAT.