Oak & Oscar have returned with a new sleek take on the already quite sleek Olmsted, their hit field watch introduced in the fall of 2019. The original Olmsted was one of those watches that immediately just made sense upon introduction, taking the trademark Oak & Oscar sandwich dial construction and shifting it into a modern field watch aesthetic. Ed Jelley reviewed the white dialed Olmsted back in May, and was impressed with the clean look and easy wearing comfort of the 38mm case, but also noted that Oak & Oscar, as a brand, provides a high quality consumer experience that extends to the thoughtful packaging and customer service. The new Olmsted Matte is a product of that same dedication and drive to do better, as we can see through some subtle improvements in this new watch.
First, and most obviously, the case has been given a ceramic coating that lends it a darker, more utilitarian appearance. According to Oak & Oscar, the watches are coated in small batches at high temperatures to cure the ceramic, leaving behind a perfectly matte, non reflective surface that’s meant to fly under the radar, which is kind of the whole point of a field watch, after all.
Unlike a PVD or DLC coating, the ceramic coating process used by Oak & Oscar will patina and age over time, as opposed to chipping or falling away, as is common with some coatings that are applied less than expertly. We’ve seen ceramic coatings on stainless steel watches before (Unimatic comes to mind) and the intent, along with delivering a certain aesthetic, is often to protect the watch from scratches. Time will (literally) tell how the Olmsted Matte’s coating (over solid 316L steel) wears in over the long haul, but we’re always interested in seeing different coating applications applied to new watches, so we’ll be watching closely as these new Olmsted’s inevitably make their way to Instagram.
The darkened case matches the charcoal gray dial, with bold Arabic numerals popping out in high contrast, and with full lume by way of Oak & Oscar’s sandwich dial construction. New in this version is a no-date display. The original Olmsted had a date window cut discreetly at 6:00, but here that has been removed in favor of a more symmetrical design. The ETA 2892-A2 movement has been modified by Oak & Oscar to remove the date function, so users will be pleased to not have to deal with the dreaded “phantom date” click when operating the crown. This is a nice touch by Oak & Oscar and a great example of their attention to detail in providing a really solid watch wearing experience to enthusiasts.
Other than the removal of date functionality, specs on the Olmsted Matte mimic the original. The watch carries 100 meters of water resistance, has a screw down crown and sapphire crystal, and ships with both leather and nylon straps (each with hardware matching the coloration of the case). True to form, Oak & Oscar also packages the Olmsted Matte in a waxed canvas watch wallet with a zippered closure, offering a sensible and sustainable packaging solution that can potentially be used as part of an everyday carry solution.
The Olmsted Matte is available now on the Oak & Oscar website at a launch price of $1,475. The regular retail price is $1,550. Oak & Oscar