1920s Fears “Oyster” Octagonal “Rustless Steel” watch with Sub-second dial and thermally Blued sword hands.
This is a complex Octagonal case with faceted edges that reflect and play with the light. It was highly unusual for the1920s for a number of reasons. Firstly, the case is composed of Stainless Steel. Secondly, it possesses strong claims to waterproofing. Thirdly, it has shock protection on the AS ebauche inside. This indicates that this was a watch designed to be used in tough conditions. In the modern day we might call this a “tool watch”. This case almost resembles a rough and ready version of a 1920s Oyster case, with its octagonal shape. Yet it seems the watch has been scarcely worn considering its exceptional condition.
The case still maintains its original brushed finish. Sitting proudly on the side of the case is a chunky coin edged crown, which is original. The dial is neatly framed by a smooth bezel that provides subtle contrast from the angular nature of the case.
The dial is signed “Waterproof” “Fears Bristol Eng” at 12 O’clock with “Shookproof” signed above the sub-second dial at 6 O’clock. This signing is presented neatly with curvature to frame it nearly between the hands and follow the contour of the Sub-Second dial. The Fears name sits boldly, ever proud of its home city and country.
The sub-second dial is sunk into the dial which adds an enjoyable texture to the dial. With clear divisions for 10 second periods, which enable accurate time keeping despite the lack of a central second hand. The sub-second hand is thermally blued and is original, fitting the margin neatly. The dial has a bold minute track situated around the outside, with lumed baton hour markers, with double baton at 12 O’clock.
The hands are of “Sword” style which are thermally blued, having expertly replaced lume, with a strong Pumpkin Orange tone.
The movement is an AS Ebauche, a variant of the AS 340. However, this movement has a form of shock protection. This was rarer during this period, along with a different bridge layout to the standard AS 340. The movement has been assessed and serviced by the Fears Team to ensure excellent reliability.
The watch sits neatly on its handmade Bristol Leather Fears strap for fixed lugs. The calf leather has been vegetable tanned in Britain’s oldest Vegetable tannery, Bristol’s Thomas Ware & Sons. Carefully designed to reflect the original leather straps of the era, in a common dark Brown tone, with no padding.
This beautiful example will come nestled in an official Fears box, in “Fears Bristol Blue” with cream interior. Upon opening, you will be greeted by a Fears owner club leaflet, alongside Bold Timepieces card, and a beautiful heritage inspired Fears cleaning cloth. This cleaning cloth depicts the original Edwin Fear business card, dating back to 1846.
Accompanying this will be an extract from the Fears archive, detailing the specifics of this example.
Don’t let this appealing Fears model pass you by. One other exists, which is in the Fears archive. However, it is my opinion it is extremely unlikely to find an example of this model in such crisp condition again.
The dial is in very good condition for nearly 100 years existence. All signing and tracks are clean and un-worn. The hour batons have lost original lume over time to expose a darker base baton. There are some signs of Radium burning from the original lume under the “Fears Bristol Eng” signing. The dial tone is not even overall with some slight discolouration to the lower section of the dial.
The Sword hands are original and maintain a strong, thermally Blued finish. The Radium lume has been replaced with a pumpkin tone that matches the original lume perfectly. This has been expertly carried out by the Fears team.
The crystal has been replaced for clarity and legibility. It is in perfect condition fitting exceptionally with little refraction on the dial on all angles.
The crown is original and is chromium plated. It has some pitting/wear to the plating on the external face. The coin edge finish is very clean.
The Stainless-Steel case is in exceptional condition, with minimal signs of wear. The original brushed finish remains on the faceted sides.
The case back is formed of “Rustless Steel” (Stainless) and is incredibly clean. It maintains its original circular pattern showing minimal signs of wear.
Brand new, Handmade using Bristol Leather. The calf leather has been vegetable tanned in Britain’s oldest Vegetable tannery, Bristol’s Thomas Ware & Sons. Carefully designed to reflect the original leather straps of the era, in a common dark Brown tone, with no padding. The strap will fit up to a 7.5” wrist diameter. The watch is modelled on a 7” wrist circumference to give an idea of the proportions.
NOTE: Each strap is customized to the lug design and size.
A new custom strap can be created for the watch, in Fears Bristol Blue. This will be at a cost of £125 inclusive of VAT and will have a manufacturing time of approximately 4 weeks.
A freshly serviced manual wind movement with 15 jewels and a 36 hours power reserve. This is an advantageous model with its shock protection making it more rugged. The movement is an AS Ebauche, a variant of the AS 340. However, this movement has a form of shock protection, alongside a different bridge layout to the standard AS 340. The movement has been assessed and serviced by the Fears Team to ensure excellent reliability.
The case is on the smaller side, as with many vintage watches. Yet the angularity and lug to lug measurement mean that it has a presence beyond it’s dimensions.
Case width: 28.5mm
Case width with crown: 31.8mm
Case length: 28.5mm
Case length lug to lug: 36mm
Case Depth: 10mm
Lug width: 16mm
1920s Fears “Oyster” Octagonal “Rustless Steel” watch with Sub-second dial
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