Listener Article: Oak and Oscar BATCH Nº1 – One Year Review
By Zeb (Instagram @clever_baked)
Founded by Chase Fancher in 2015, Oak and Oscar is a small watch brand based out of Chicago. The name alludes to bourbon (aged in oak barrels) and Oscar, Chase’s canine sidekick.
I’ve met Chase a few times at various watch events, and he has always come across as friendly, knowledgeable, and, most of all, passionate about watches – and bourbon. But mostly watches. That he takes pride in his products is obvious – just ask him about color matching a date wheel to a dial, or Horween leather, or 12 hour bezels and you’ll see what I mean.
Or…you could just look at his watches.
From simple three-handers to GMTs, these are products that speak for themselves. While each watch produced by Oak and Oscar has been unique, the company has clear brand DNA that runs through the entire line. The watches are vintage inspired, but not homages, and everything from the leather straps to the signed crowns feels incredibly intentional.
Plus, Chase uses proceeds from every watch purchase to support dog rescue. Oak and Oscar is a company you can feel good about supporting.
About this watch:
Back in 2017, Oak and Oscar released three chronographs with the Swiss-made Eterna Caliber 3916M. This relatively new movement is modular and can thus be made to a wide array of specifications. For Oak and Oscar, Eterna produced a manual wind, flyback, column-wheel chronograph with a horizontal clutch. Now say that three times fast.
As quite possibly the most affordable flyback chronograph ever (I haven’t don’t the inflation calculations), the “Jackson” definitely caught my attention. Before long, I fell in love with the blue dialed version. But, as usual, I hemmed and hawed – because that’s what I do (I once spent a month researching toasters). Before long, the blue Jackson had sold out, and I was filled with terrible remorse.
But not for long.
I’m not saying that Chase released his next chronograph specifically for me, but let’s be serious: Chase released his next chronograph specifically for me.
Thank you, Chase.
In 2018 the BATCH Nº1 was quietly announced to pre-existing customers. This time without a date aperture, Oak and Oscar’s latest release would be produced in two colorways, 25 pieces each. The stainless steel version sold out overnight. The PVD coated version lasted a little longer.
Fortunately, I had learned my lesson, and so…here before you, standing tall and proud, is lucky number 13.
The dial is mat-finished paper-white. The stacked right register tells you minutes and hours thus obviating the need for a third register (which would normally be found at six o’clock). The absence of the third register and date indication leaves the BATCH Nº1 looking incredibly clean, but the stacked register means that you’re not giving up any chronograph functionality.
If a typical three register chronograph is too cluttered for your tastes, this is your jam.
The shock of orange on the second hand and sub-dial are consistent with the Oak and Oscar color pallet (see brand DNA above). The contrasting color beautifully interrupts what is otherwise a vast and empty sea of negative space. Yes. Those are actually the words I wrote.
The orange accents are playful and unique without being distracting. And the white dial is absolutely lovely. I would have been fine with a color-matched date wheel a six o’clock (à la, the Jackson), but I’m fine without one, too.
Sidebar: for all you fussy watch collectors, there is no phantom crown setting for adjusting the date. As noted, one of the cool things about the Eterna caliber being used in this chronograph is that it’s designed to be configurable.
At $2750 retail, this panda dial, flyback, column-wheel, chronograph packs some serious punch. Although the BATCH Nº1 chronographs are all sold out, you can find them (along with the Jackson) on the used market. As of writing, Oak and Oscar chronographs seem to be selling around 2k used.
As noted above, this watch stands tall and proud. The operative word being, “tall.”
At 14.5 mm tall and 40 mm wide, the measurements of this watch are fine (but not amazing). Unfortunately, the thickness of the watch is exaggerated by a case that rises straight up from the wrist. For reference, a Speedmaster Professional is 14 mm tall. Even though we’re only talking about half a millimeter, the curved edges of the Speedmaster make for a much slimmer feel.
For me? Well, I would have liked a thinner watch. But, deal breaker? Definitely not. Just roll up your sleeves, and get to work.
That’s it. What’s on your wrist?
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