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The watches: Fears’s Archival 1930 and Archival 1930 Small Seconds
The single best thing about this watch: You won’t find a cooler brand name than FEARS.
The backstory: The British watch brand Fears is celebrating its 175th anniversary. The brand is going big, as it should, because it hasn’t exactly taken the easiest route to get here. Edwin Fear founded the company in 1846, and things went swimmingly for about 130 years—and then affordable quartz watches went mainstream in the ‘70s and wiped out huge chunks of the industry, including Fears. The brand went dark in 1976, and remained on ice until 2016, when Fear’s great-great-great-grandson Nicholas Bowman-Scargill rebooted it.
Now, five years later, the brand is digging into its archives for a pair of very handsome rectangular-shaped watches. The two Archival 1930 watches (one with a seconds subdial and one without) are based on a model Fears made in—that’s right—1930. The Tank-style watches were perfect then, and they’re perfect now for a watch culture that’s growing to appreciate watches that aren’t round. But Fears, which knows a thing or two about bringing things back from the past, didn’t just bring back an old style for this watch—the movements inside date all the way back to the 1930s and 1960s (for the one with the subdial and the one without, respectively). These watches use unsold movements that were developed up to nine decades ago. The gold border that runs around the minute track of the watch is a pretty and glamorous touch.
Dawn of the dead (watches): The watch industry is not dissimilar from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video: there are zombie brands dancing around everywhere. In addition to Fears, brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Vulcain, Blancpain, and Nivada have all taken breaks in manufacturing before being rebooted. The reason for reboots in the watch world is obvious: this is a collector community obsessed with the old. Vintage watches are, for the most part, more desirable than brand-new pieces, and the most successful modern pieces often replicate a brand’s older models. A rebooted brand has an entire back catalog to play with. “The launch of this first watch in the new Archival family is a delightful way of allowing us to pay respect to our heritage and extensive archive, in a more direct way, while not being beholden to it,” Bowman-Scargill said in a press release.