As last year was winding down, I started thinking about what I wanted from 2024. There are a few milestones that I hit this year with turning 50 in September. My wife and I will have been married for twenty-five years in October. Our children continue to grow up with Hadley living in Alaska and attending college in the fall and Finn thriving in his first year of high school as part of student council and on the golf team. In my professional life, I have just over two years until I can retire if I wish. And, somehow T.F.M. turns sixteen this fall. It's been said before, but life moves fast.
I'm not usually one for resolutions but jotted down several goals for the year that I wanted to reach. Surprisingly, I've already checked a couple off the list with taking a significant fly fishing trip (Brazil with a few more planned through the year) and that I wanted to find a nice watch.
This watch idea has been somewhat of a slow burn for the last couple of years. It likely kindled in having to choose a wristwatch when I reached my 20th work anniversary as a gift from the town that I work with. They signify milestones of your career with a desk clock at 10 years, a wall clock at 15 years, and then a wristwatch at 20 years. That watch is usually only worn when I'm in my dress uniform. I've been wearing an Apple Watch at work for a few years but on the weekends, I wanted something of more significance to wear in my off time.
I began researching different watch companies, leaned on a few watch nerd friends, traded DM's with fly rod maker Matt Leiderman (who is also a watchmaker), poked around Instagram, and began working through what I did and didn't like. Just like considering a new fiberglass fly rod, I needed to figure out what I was looking for, budget, small brand vs. big brand, movements and complications, and more. As always, it can be enjoyable to take on new obsessions and the learning that comes with it.
It didn't take me too long to come across Oak & Oscar. They are an emerging watch company in Chicago with a neat brand story. A small team. A connection to fly fishing. A "microbrand" within the industry who are creating a community of "Owners" around their high-quality watches. This is a brand that I could get into as I like the storytelling and brands constantly engaging with those who are investing in their company. It also helped that I have two friends who have several of their watches who they have nothing but positive things to say.
Over the last couple of months, I've gotten to know Chase Fancher and Greg Trotter of the Oak & Oscar team and one thing quickly led to another. What started with me looking at the green dial Olmsted 38, ended with me going a differently direction in purchasing the Humboldt GMT with a black dial. I wanted something that I could dress up with the stainless bracelet or brown leather strap while also being able to change the look with nylon straps of several colors. I've been wearing this watch for several weeks now and am beyond impressed.
So, while I'll try not to be the weird wrist check photo guy on Instagram, I make no promises...
If you're into watches at all, check out Oak & Oscar. Follow along with their story on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel.