Introducing: Oak & Oscar Olmsted Matte

A time-only field watch with matte ceramic coating from the Chicago brand

A time-only field watch with matte ceramic coating from the Chicago brand

Chicago-based Oak & Oscar has released the latest addition to its growing collection of watches, the Olmsted Matte.

Based on the Olmsted, released last year, the Olmsted Matte features a limited production, matte ceramic coated case. But unlike the Olmsted, the Matte strips away the date window at 6 o’clock, making for a clean, time-only design. The result is a 38mm field watch with a two-layer sandwich dial, screw-down crown, and a charcoal grey dial and matte ceramic coating that perfectly complement each other.

In the Olmsted Matte, you’ll also find some of Oak & Oscar’s trademark design elements: orange accents on the minute track, that distinctive typeface, and a case back that’s engraved with Chicago’s four stars (hiding an automatic rotor with the same design to match). Most importantly, this means Oak & Oscar’s typical commitment to doing things right. Each watch is coated in ceramic in small batches in the United States, then hand-assembled, tested and regulated in the United States by Oak & Oscar’s new Director of Watchmaking, Nathan Bobinchak.

Because of these extra steps, the Olmsted Matte will be limited in production. Not limited edition (i.e. they’re not cutting off production at a certain quantity), but the coating and assembly process take time, meaning it won’t be a true, serially produced model.

Listen, Oak & Oscar’s founder Chase has been doing things the right way since founding the brand back in 2015. He’s dedicated to nailing every single detail: of course, this shows in the watch itself, but also in the accessories, customer service, and the way the brand interacts with and supports the watch community.

As the proud owner of an Olmsted, I’m thrilled to see this extension of the line. There’s something classic and All-American about the original Olmsted. Sure, as a Chicagoan it felt like a small act of patronage to acquire a watch from a local brand doing things the right way out of Ravenswood, but the appeal of Oak & Oscar is broader than one city. As Norman Mailer put it, Chicago is the “great American city.” It makes sense that a modern watch that still feels so quintessentially American would come from within that city’s borders.

But while the Olmsted is a pure expression of this Americana, the Olmsted Matte has a bit of a badass edge. It’s Michael Jordan sitting in the locker room, talking trash while smoking a cigar and swinging a baseball bat. In addition to the Ceramic Matte just looking badass, there’s a certain rebellious quality to doing things the “right way” nowadays, when so many are skimping or cutting corners. “Make no little plans” is Oak & Oscar’s motto, and the Olmsted Matte show’s the brand’s commitment to living its own maxim: a dedication to bringing processes to America, taking care to get the details right, and delivering a product that they’re just as proud to make as its customers will be to wear.

Oak & Oscar Olmsted Matte Specs:

  • Dimensions: 38mm x 10.8mm x 44.9mm lug-to-lug, 20mm lug width

  • 10 ATM water resistance (100 meters)

  • Caliber: Modified ETA 2892A2 (no date); 42-hour power reserve, 28,800 bph

  • Case: 316L stainless steel with matte ceramic coating

  • Sapphire crystal

  • Sandwich dial with SuperLuminova

  • Price: $1,475 (launch price); $1,550 (MSRP)

By the way, the accessories that Oak & Oscar sends with a watch purchase are some of the best in the game. The Olmsted Matte comes with a waxed canvas watch wallet, a Horween leather strap, and a nylon strap, as well as an American-made strap-changing tool. If I recall, they also throw in a card with a cocktail recipe as a little personal touch.

Oak & Oscar expects to begin delivery of watches in the winter of 2020/2021.

To order the Olmsted Matte, head to Oak & Oscar’s website.

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