Fears Reintroduces the Redcliff Collection, Including a Limited Production Onyx Dial Made with Collective Horology

Fears has reintroduced the Redcliff collection today, which made its first appearance in the catalog when the brand was re-established in 2016 by Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the great-great-great grandson of Edwin Fears, the company’s founder. The Redcliff 39.5 Date seen here is an interesting new step for Fears. The brand has seen tremendous growth over these past few years, and they’ve done it almost entirely on the back of the cushion cased watches that make up the Brunswick collection. A straightforward, circular case with a mechanical movement has been notably absent from the collection, and it stands to reason that a more traditional, and perhaps approachable, case platform like the Redcliff could broaden the brand’s appeal considerably. Of course, there are still plenty of small touches that make this iteration of the Redcliff identifiable as a Fears, and there’s a limited edition variant made in collaboration with Collective Horology that seems to be in direct conversation with one of last year’s key Fears releases. 

We’ll start with the case, as at least at first glance, that would seem to be the most significant departure from what most would consider the established Fears design language. In stainless steel, it measures 39.5mm in diameter and has been designed to be slim at just 9.95mm tall. It has a mix of finishes, including a prominently brushed midcase and a polished, sloping bezel. The crown is oversized and screws down, which helps to give the Redcliff a 150 meter water resistance rating. The case is handsome and classic, but doesn’t draw attention to itself. 


Something Fears has really excelled at with recent releases is their dial execution. There are always a ton of little details and hidden textures that aren’t always apparent from a cursory look, but reveal themselves over time, and perhaps with the help of magnification. The recent collaborative watches with Topper Jewelers are a great example of this principle at work. For the Redcliff watches, Fears has utilized a multi level design with a raised center section with a brushed finish (vertically or sunburst, depending on color), and an outer section on a different plane with a minute track and very fine grooves that resemble what you’d see on a vinyl record. The diamond cut hour markers are hand applied and lume filled, and the hour and minute hands similarly lumed for easy legibility in dark situations. Not including the Collective collaboration (more on that in a moment), Fears has relaunched the Redcliff in four dial variants: Cherry Red, Pewter Gray, Raven Black, and Mallard Green. The latter is a boutique exclusive. 

When the first Redcliff watches appeared in 2016, they ran on Swiss quartz movements. The new Redcliffs are powered by the La Joux-Perret G100 caliber, which is a shift from ETA calibers we’ve seen in the Brunswick watches over the last few years. The LJP caliber has a quick-set date, a 60 hour power reserve, and they are regulated to 0/+5 seconds per day. Also new: the bracelet. The Redcliff watches are available on what Fears describes as a bespoke, three link bracelet, which features brushed and polished finishes designed to mimic the case. The bracelet has push button micro-adjustment in the clasp that allows for easy resizing on the go.

In addition to the four references announced by Fears, Collective has also launched their own limited production version of the watch with an onyx dial. At a glance, this variant has a similar appearance to the standard production Raven Black dial, but you’ll notice that Collective’s version lacks numerals, a date window, and the multi layer dial construction, which is to be expected given that it’s, you know, made of stone. Onyx dials were once incredibly popular in watchmaking, and they are one of the most deceptively complex gem stones that can be used for a dial. Onyx of course is known for its deep, inky black qualities, and nice examples of the stone exhibit a real depth that makes them perfect for watch dial applications. In person, the onyx dial should present very differently from the standard black. 

It’s not a particularly useful endeavor to speculate about a brand’s future release plans, but we can’t not point out that one of the most talked about Fears releases last year was the Brunswick Aurora, which of course has a gorgeous mother of pearl dial. Now with an onyx release as well, it’s impossible not to wonder about future exotic or stone dials that Fears might have planned. As tastes seem to finally be shifting from a nonstop diet of pure sports watches, perhaps there’s a new crop of more opulent, colorful, and unusual watches on the horizon from Fears and other small brands with a similar mindset. Fears

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.