An indulgent red velvet cake –Fears x Christopher Ward: Alliance 01
It is hard to review a watch that carries so much weight, specially if you feel that is more than an object, the Alliance 01 is an idea. In 2020 just like every watch geek in Britain, I saw the creation of the Alliance of British Watch and Clockmakers, funny enough I was reviewing the beautiful Fears Brunswick back then and I though that it would be really cool to own a watch from where I live, where my son was born and where I got married. Without getting too sentimental we all know that this hobby in particular breathes nostalgia, so my head came back with a clear: ‘’why not?’’ A lot has happened since then and more than 70 companies are now members of this incredible initiative which aims to help the sector to grow, share information and of course bring back the know how into the island. It is indeed hard to understand why this didn’t happened before, especially with the great history that the UK has for watchmaking. Going back to the project itself, it just gets better and better with the details. Fears is a company that I have always been interested in and Christopher Ward was the first serious watch I’ve review, meaning that the Alliance 01 is a very special watch for me. How to describe it? Well it is Fears watch but with a size that is a bit more casual, more every day, then we have the air of art deco sophistication which is something that it is hard to miss, I’ve hear comments that if you put the Alliance 01 on a nato strap it would work just as well, maybe, I just did not have the courage and enjoyed it as it is.
Fear’s cushion case is one of the most wearable ones I’ve handle, doesn’t matter if is 38mm or 40.5 like our beloved Alliance 01, it wears like a charm on my 6.25-inch wrist, the short lug to lug of 47mm really makes a difference here. The dial is where I spent most of my time, a very rich crimson shade that lies underneath all the numerals, hand, and markers, at a first glance the Alliance looks like one of those dashboards from car in the 1930’s, elegant and of course full of red leather, I can really see that the Alliance 01 would be considered a sports watch back then. At 12 we have the aperture for the hour that jumps precisely when the minute hand hits the north of the dial. The center has a classic concentric pattern that really helps with legibility and then we have only 2 signatures: Fears and England. The onion style crown at 3 is the only part that takes the symmetry away, but it breaks the whole piece nicely and matches the polished surfaces like it should. Inside the case we have Sellita SW200 with the JJ01 jumping hour module, a crisp and sharp snap denotes the quality of the movement, its an unusual complication that works incredibly well.
On the wrist:
The elongated but thin case really makes this watch one of a kind, it has a wearability of a Panerai Radiomir with the size of a Rolex Date Just, you do not need me to tell you that for me is a sweet spot, sporty but classy. Although there is no lume, the legibility is excellent, is odd to think that this watch has only one hand and an aperture, no running seconds hands, no date, no open caseback, feels a bit of a magic trick, you spot the dial and suddenly there is another number indicating a different hour, it is very pleasant to have a machine on the wrist that is working quietly and seamless. The watch come on a burgundy red leather strap, it completes the whole vibe of the watch, I think a grey suede would look incredible but again, I enjoyed as it was, no changes, I wanted the real experience.
By the time you read this review the Alliance 01
might be gone, it was only offered to the Club members of the Alliance of British Watch & Clockmakers, to only 50 of them to be exact. You might think that this is just another LE that people couldn’t get their hands on, and the sole purpose was to create hype, but all the proceedings from the Alliance 01 would be used to its initial mission, which is promoting horological education at home and British watchmaking abroad. There is nobility on this project and I really applaud those who managed to secure one, I also hope this collaboration between Christopher Ward and Fears sparks those internal conversation among watch brands and bring us more special watches like the Alliance 01, I don’t mean co-branded watches but watches that can really leave a mark.
More information at www.fearswatches.com
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