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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Fears has the message we need today

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

“Don’t buy a Fears”. As slogans go it leaves something to be desired. Particularly when your company name is Fears and selling watches is your business.

But in a market where the Mike Ashleys and Tim Martins of the world are squeezing out every last buck to line their coffers with no thought for the human cost, family-owned watchmakers Fears have given us all a lesson in how to do business.

The British company has called on its followers to support their local businesses, such as restaurants doing takeaway or personal trainers doing online sessions, rather than forking out on a new watch. The message, simply put by Managing Director Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, is that Fears can and has looked after its staff and partners, so its customers can support the wider business ecosystem.

I have no doubt it is a perfect bit of PR and so it should be. Companies like this deserve our respect and recognition, both for their strong ethics and their impeccable craftsmanship.

Fears is a family-run watch company and is one of Britain’s oldest. It traces its lineage back to Edwin Fear, who opened a watch workshop and showroom in Bristol in 1846. It lay dormant from 1970 until 2016, when Edwin’s great-great-great-grandson, the aforementioned Mr Bowman-Scargill, reopened its doors.

Today, the company operates a showroom in Canterbury and a website where it showcases and distributes some beautifully-crafted watches, such as the Brunswick Blue (below) or the Brunswick Midas which is featured in the main image.

The company relaunched in 2016 with its first wristwatch of the 21st century, the Redcliff, whose Bee edition is particularly lovely and is featured further down the page.

But I digress, the Fears team are still hard at work keeping their online business running, but Mr Bowman-Scargill’s message carries a lesson we should all heed; especially at times like this, it is vital that we all support each other, we can figure the rest out once we’re through.

Here is his message, which was posted on Instagram, in full:

Despite my dyslexia, a word I’ve very quickly learnt to spell these past weeks is “unprecedented”. You don’t need me to tell you what unprecedented times we currently live in (or to wash your hands and stay inside). Everyone receiving this newsletter will be sadly well aware of these facts. The Fears team have been working from home the past few weeks and last Friday I closed our showroom and my office in Canterbury. It’s sadly no longer business as usual. At this moment in time, small businesses around the world are struggling. Really struggling. Everyone who works for Fears is still employed and is being paid. Over the past week I’ve spoken on the phone to all our family-run suppliers across Europe. These calls have been to check everyone is safe and well and to console them as they face uncertain times. We have paid our bills early in order to help ensure that their highly skilled workers continue to be paid. So why is now not the time to buy a Fears?

Though we are, for the moment, still able to dispatch online orders (there are bound to be birthdays and special occasions to mark) I ask you to consider first what local small businesses you can help support instead. Be it a local restaurant which has kept its doors open by serving takeaway, or a personal trainer now doing online-only training sessions (like my cousin, All of these industries and businesses are connected and depend on one another. If we take care of the whole system, then Fears will still be able to operate and continue to hand-build and sell elegant watches once the world does eventually get back to normal. The Fears team are busy working on a brand-new website with lots of beautiful new photography and extracts from the Archive (due to go live next month). Though our new watch launches are postponed for the time being, we’re still working on new products and a new printed brochure. The Fears Instagram will continue to be an escape for when you need it. Take care of each other. Help where you can. Stay safe.


Photos courtesy of Fears

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