Over the years, I’ve gotten to see a lot of great watches, and have been introduced to so many new brands that I’ve lost count. There are a few of them that I’ve come across that call my hometown their hometown, and those have been great ones to find. You can meet up with the maker in their space, see what they’re designing, and play around with some of the fun things they have in the works. It’s been some time since I’ve sat down with Chase Fancher, the guy behind Oak & Oscar, but that’s understandable – this is a busy guy. His latest watch, part of the permanent collection, was just introduced – the Oak & Oscar Humboldt.
For me, when I see the dial of the Oak & Oscar Humboldt, it’s immediately recognizable as coming from Fancher’s brain. This is a design that I know and like, from the central recessed ring, to the counterbalanced seconds hand, to the font that is used for the numerals both on the date disc (color matching for the win!) and the cutouts on the sandwich dial. That is to say, there is a clear design language for Oak & Oscar watches, and it helps to unify the lineup. That is not to say that the watches are all clones, as they are all their own unique design. It’s interesting to see them, and see how Fancher is evolving his design.
I also find it quite interesting that the Oak & Oscar Humboldt is the first time we’re seeing a watch from the brand coming with a stock bracelet. I like bracelets on watches, and I always espouse getting one when it’s an option, because you can always pick up a leather strap down the road. OE bracelets, on the other hand, those are more difficult to come by. That all said, Oak & Oscar are known for producing some rather nice leather straps, so if you’re not a bracelet guy (or gal), I think you’ll be happy with the stock leather strap options.
With the bracelet, it really does give the watch that everyday feel that I think a good, classic field watch should have. And that’s where I classify this watch. Sure, with a 200m WR rating, you could consider it a diver, but the bezel breaks that idea apart. With a 12-hour bezel on it, you’re watching some bigger units of time. That speaks to me of, say, tracking how long you’ve been down on the trail, so you know when it’s time to head back, or even how long you have left on the parking meter. Regardless of what you want to classify the watch as, it’s a design that will blend into every day life, but is built in a way that is ready for some adventure as well.
With the brushed finishing on the Oak & Oscar Humboldt and the metal bezel insert, this is a watch that is not only tough, it’s one that won’t be readily showing any smudges or scratches that you may pick up while wearing the watch. It’s currently up for pre-order, with delivery anticipated for the spring of 2019. On leather, you can pick up a Oak & Oscar Humboldt (with either a blue or grey dial) for $1,450 or on the bracelet for $1,650 (both of those are a $100 discount on the expected retail), with a portion of the proceeds going to a local dog rescue. I think Fancher has brought a great new addition to the Oak & Oscar family, and I am very much looking forward to going hands-on with the watch once he has some units in for review. oakandoscar.com
- Brand & Model: Oak & Oscar Humboldt
- Price: $1,550 (leather), $1,750 (bracelet) (pre-orders net a $100 discount)
- Who we think it might be for: Who isn’t it for?
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? Yes – I’ve liked the other Oak & Oscar watches I’ve handled, and I do kick myself for not getting one when they were starting out. With the bracelet, this is a great new addition to the brand
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Curious how a color-matched bezel insert would look
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: While the watch is utilitarian, the design itself is not – it’s well sorted, and everything just comes together in a lovely way
Tech Specs from Oak & Oscar
- ETA 2892A2 automatic 21 jewel mechanical Swiss movement
- 42-hour power reserve
- 28,800 bph / 4 Hz
- 316L Stainless steel
- 39.5mm case diameter with 40.0mm bezel
- 12-hour bi-directional bezel
- 20 ATM water resistance (200 meters)
- 12.4mm case height
- 20mm lug width
- 46.8mm lug-to-lug
- Crystal: Double-domed sapphire crystal with multi-layer anti-reflective coating
- Color-matched date wheel with custom typeface located at 6 o’clock
- Nylon strap with orange stitching and matching signed hardware
- Sandwich dial with Super-LumiNova BGW9
- Waxed canvas watch wallet
- Two-year limited warranty
- Portion of profits donated to local Chicago dog rescue, One Tail at a Time
- Available with Charcoal grey or Navy blue dial
- On bracelet, MSRP $1750, limited time launch price $1650
- On leather, MSRP $1550, limited time launch price $1450
- Expected ship date of late Spring 2019