English Independents Team Up for the “Fears Garrick”A dress watch with a twist.
A pair of watchmakers with English roots, Fears and Garrick have banded together to create a wristwatch that bears the aesthetic of the former while relying on the mechanics of the latter, the Fears Garrick.
Founded in 1846 but having gone out of business during the Quartz Crisis, Fears is an English brand that was revived in 2016 by a descendant of its founder. Though it was not in continuous operation, Fears is now one of the oldest, family-owned English watch brands. Its modern-day offerings are all about clean, simple designs inspired by watches from its past catalogue, which are sometimes paired with period-correct, vintage movements.
Garrick, on the other hand, was founded in 2014. Sitting in a higher price point than the typical Fears, Garrick’s offerings are constructed with the help of Swiss specialists, including Andreas Strehler, and dressed up with traditional decoration such as engine turning.
The Fears Garrick is essentially a Garrick S1, the brand’s most impressive offering to date, but redesigned to give it a simpler aesthetic. Though intriguing, the open dial of the S1 has been done away with and the result is minimalist but appealing.
I actually prefer the look of the Fears Garrick over the S1. But the Fears Garrick does bring to mind the IWC Portugieser, which is a good thing. For anyone who found the movement of S1 intriguing but prefers minimalism and legibility, this is a good alternative.
In fact, the aim of the collaboration was to combine the watchmaking of Garrick and Fears’ trademark clean style. By that measure the joint effort is a success, since it’s been pared down just enough to be unusual for a Garrick but with enough of the Fears aesthetic that it resembles the latter’s other watches.
The twin sub-dials at the upper half of the dial are discreet but obvious, making them useful. And they are balanced by the big balance wheel at six o’clock. The result is best described as a classic dress watch with a twist (and some Portugieser vibes).
Notably, the Fears Garrick is more affordable than the open-dial S1. But the price is still about US$20,000, which might seem steep initially, especially compared with the typical Fears watch that is within the US$3,000-5,000 range.
But the Fears Garrick has a quality of make that lives up to the price. That’s most obvious in the finishing of the movement, which includes several crisp inward angles along the bevelling of the bridges, a feature uncommon in offerings at this price.
Inside the Fears Garrick is the cal. UT-G04, an proprietary movement developed by Garrick with the help of independent watchmaker Andreas Strehler, who makes watches under his own name but is also a major supplier of parts and movements to other independents.
The UT-G04 is sized like a ETA Unitas 6498, the go-to base movement for many entry-level indie watchmakers, but more elaborately constructed. It has a small seconds and power reserve indicator on the dial along with an exposed balance wheel, instead of a typical construction where the balance is on the back.
Fears also contributed its own hands and typography to the dial design.
The open-worked hour and minute hands are much simpler compared with the S1, yet they possess tiny, pointed tips that make them interesting. While the hands are individually appealing, I find there are too many different types of hands on the dial.
The numerals, on the other hand, are in a font designed specifically for Fears by Lee Yuen-Rapati, a British designer and artist.
While the watch is pared back in its design, the movement is more elaborately treated. The balance bridge, for instance, is shaped and finished like a tourbillon bridge.
And the finishing on the back is even better. While the balance bridge has wide, flat bevelling along its edges, the two-thirds bridge on the back sport rounded, polished bevelling that is more difficult to execute and also incorporates several inward angles.
Key facts and price
Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 10 mm
Material: 904L steel
Water resistance: 100 m
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and power reserve indicator
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 46 hours
Strap: Blue or taupe calfskin with Alcantara® lining
Limited edition: No, but with limited production of 10-15 pieces annually
Availability: Now from Fears; delivery starts December 2022
Price: £19,500 including UK VAT of 20%, or £16,250 excluding taxes
For more, visit fearswatches.com.
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