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A Tasteful Sandwich: The New Oak & Oscar Olmsted Matte

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Oak & Oscar is a Chicago-based watch company founded in 2015 by Chase Fancher. The company has produced a few models to date, with the last two - the Humboldt and the Olmsted 38 - avoiding a somewhat irritating habit of micro brands whereby each model is only available in a restrictive limited edition before being sold out. Oak & Oscar have built a solid foundation within a short time, and the watches are well worth a look. This topic takes a look at the latest offering from Oak & Oscar - a more rugged-looking and “stealthy” reinterpretation of the Olmsted 38 field watch, called the Olmsted Matte. This new model is not “officially” a limited edition in that production ceases after a strictly limited number of watches have been produced, but because of the more complex and demanding process of manufacturing this model, production will be slower and in limited batches.






(Above two pics from hodinkee.imgix.net)



(Above pic from worn&wound.com)




The key property of the Olmsted Matte that sets it apart is the use of a durable matte black ceramic coating over the 316L stainless steel case, executed by Oak & Oscar’s coating partner in the United States. With its sensitive parts protected, the 38 mm X 10.8 mm case is bead-blasted before being coated in ceramic and then heated to a high temperature to cure and harden the coating. The result is an even matte black surface having a pleasing tactile quality and scratch resistance although it needs to be stated that because the case is not solid ceramic but coated, heavy use will entail the watch acquiring a certain permanent patination of wear that some purchasers might not desire. The embossed and coated steel caseback of the Olmsted Matte, is solid with no viewing crystal, and carries a modern leaf design as well as four six-pointed stars that represent the City of Chicago.

In redefining the original Olmsted 38 for this model, it was decided to remove the date feature altogether and focus on just a simple three-handed time-keeping minimalistic design which is very effective and strengthened by the matte black of the case and back plus the signature sandwich dial (the latter being a characteristic element of the Oak & Oscar house style). The overall impression of the watch is one of elegance combined with rigorous attention to practicality, and the company has gone to some lengths to ensure that this watch is somehow “seamless” in its blend of function and aesthetic. Interestingly, in keeping with this ethic, Oak & Oscar have also ensured that the ETA 2892A2 movement has been modified to remove the date adjustment crown position and also the date wheel entirely to prevent any “phantom date” issues. The 21J automatic ETA 2892A2 has a 42- hour power reserve and beats at 28,800 bph; at Oak & Oscar the movement in each individual watch is tested, regulated and fitted into the case by hand at the brand headquarters in Chicago.








(Above four pics from i1.wp.com/www.wristwatchreview.com)




Other specifications of the Olmsted Matte also testify to the practicality of the watch. The crystal is double-domed sapphire with multiple anti-reflective coatings and water resistance is at a stated 10 ATM (100 metres); the lume used on the hands and the sandwich dial base is BGW9 Super LumiNova. The watch comes supplied with two straps; a hand-made Horween leather strap in medium saddle brown which tapers down from 20 mm to 18 mm at the buckle end, and a drab olive 20 mm nylon strap with contrasting orange stitching. A strap changing tool is provided and the lugs of the watch are drilled through to make the task of changing straps easier. Also note that the strap hardware is black ceramic-coated to match the watch - further reinforcing the sense that attention has been paid to getting the details right. The Olmsted Matte has now come on sale, with the first batch of watches numbering 100. For a limited time period the price is US$1,475, and then rises to US$1,550. The watch comes with a limited two-year guarantee.

The Oak & Oscar Olmsted Matte is a worthy addition to the models so far produced by the company; removal of the date feature might seem a loss (I myself do tend to use a date feature quite frequently) but when assessing the aesthetics of the watch, the enhanced beauty of the dial design outweighs the date omission and will therefore probably have little impact on the numbers wanting to own an Olmsted Matte. In ending this topic, I would just say that the Olmsted 38 itself is available to purchase in a variety of colourways, and I feel that whatever model of Oak & Oscar watch one acquires, there are unlikely to be any feelings of disappointment.





Above Youtube video of Worn & Wound  November 2020 interview with Chase Fancher and Nathan Bobinchak of Oak & Oscar (youtu.be/Mz6Esh5539)



(Above pic from cdn.shopify.com)


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I must admit that I too have wondered about the long-term effects of wear on the ceramic coating. I presume that, unlike fired enamel, the ceramic coating will not be easily chipped or cracked. I myself have no problem with the scuffs and scratches accrued to a metal-cased watch after a long period of normal wear and tear, but I am not sure I would appreciate chunks out of a ceramic-coated watch. It will be interesting to see how successful the Olmsted Matte proves to be in the marketplace. 

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It will probably continue to look as it does upon purchase, like the vast majority of ceramic watches. My neighbour over here has kept his late wifes ceramic Rado as a keepsake,, which he bought for her years ago and which she regularly wore. It looks as good as new, ceramic bracelet as well.

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21 minutes ago, Always"watching" said:

Interesting, dear Caller. I wonder though, is the Rado watch in solid ceramic or just coated? 

I don't know, I doubt he does either, But I will ask him. But Rado have been producing ceramic watches for many, many years. Maybe someone else will know? 

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43 minutes ago, Always"watching" said:

Interesting, dear Caller. I wonder though, is the Rado watch in solid ceramic or just coated? 


19 minutes ago, Caller. said:

I don't know, I doubt he does either, But I will ask him. But Rado have been producing ceramic watches for many, many years. Maybe someone else will know? 


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