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For sale we have a very well-preserved example of a 1924 Fears LTD of Bristol pocket watch. It has an excellent enamel dial with roman numerals and in-set sub-second dial. The thermally blued spade and whip style hands elegantly indicate the time. The case is formed of 9ct gold and is in top condition, with a period monogram of initials to the rear of the case. The case design is unusual, with a solid case back. The movement is accessed by lifting up the bezel, with the movement, crown and bow within a central hinged section. The crisp hallmarking indicates the watch was assayed at Birmingham office, with the date letter for 1924. Inside, the English lever movement has a gilt finish and is in brilliant condition cosmetically and functionally. It was manufactured by Rotherhams for Fears and is keeping time to within a variation of 2 seconds a day. It is a pin set movement for setting the hands.


Rotherhams are well renown for being an English watchmaking company who produced pocket watches and wrist watches, using English Lever movements. These were comparatively expensive due to the inability to compete of scale of production with American or Swiss manufacturers.


In 1790, Richard Kevitt Rotherham, a former apprentice of Samuel Vale, was listed as a partner in the firm of Vale, Howlette, Carr and Rotherham. In 1842 it was transferred to Richard Kevitt Rotherham & Sons. The R&S assay punch mark was registered in Birmingham in 1841.

In the late 1800s, Rotherhams main factory for production was in Coventry, with the company opening offices in Holborn Circus, London which became the head office. This is where the London signing on pocket watches such as this stems from.

They manufactured good quality English pocket watches. These were traditional, with full plate movements, split bi-metallic balances and spring barrel driven.


Fears are also one of the oldest family run companies in Britain, being established in 1846. Edwin Fear based a workshop and showroom at Nos. 33-35 Redcliff Street in Bristol.

In 1866 the business expands to a second premises on Bristol Bridge, with was the Fears HQ until it was destroyed during the blitz in WW2. When Edwin passes in 1877, the business was handed down to his son Amos Daniel Fear. Under his leadership the Fears company was made a limited company in 1908, changing its name to Fears Limited. From the 1930s the company was simply known as Fears. Today, the 6th generation of the Fear watchmaking family, Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, heads the company.


It was common for makers to use other manufacturers movements or cases during the 1800s, up to the mid 1900s. This pocket watch represents a historically interesting collaboration between Fears LTD and Rotherhams & Sons. 


Considering its 99 years of age, this is a very good example, and you would be well pressed to find another example this good. The allure of gold within a pocket watch is always hard to resist too.


This is not a Fears Heritage example and has not been serviced by Fears, it is a piece from my own collection.


Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.

A further condition report is below.



The dial is original and is in very good condition. The enamel is excellent, without chipping, cracks or hairline fractures. The railroad track, hour markers and sub-second signing is good with little wear.  



The hands are original. They are thermally blued and are in good condition with a very light variation in tone.



The glass is original. It has some light marking.



The crown, stem and loop are good and original, functioning as they should. It shows little evidence of having been on a chain, with no wear to the loop.



The case is formed of 9ct gold and is in very good condition for the age. It has some light surface scratching associated with age and has not been polished. It has no denting. The hinge is good to the inner movement section including the stem and loop.



The case back is formed of 9ct gold and is a solid piece. It is in very good unpolished condition. It has a personal engraved monogram of initials which is well executed. It has light surface scratching associated with age.



The movement is a manually wound English Lever movement. It is manufactured by Rotherhams at their London premises.


The immediate service history is unknown, but the movement is very good cosmetically and functionally. There are multiple service etchings to the inside of the case, indicating it has been well maintained.


It is keeping very accurate time. It has a daily variation of +/- 2 seconds a day with an amplitude of 235 degrees, and a beat error of 0.1 m/s.


Case dimensions:

Case width: 50mm

Case length: 50mm

Case length with crown: 61.25mm

Case length with crown loop: 69mm

Case Depth: 15.25mm

1924 Fears Bristol 9ct gold Roman numeral pocket watch Rotherhams English Lever

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