In the thick of Major League Baseball’s postseason, Chicago-based Oak & Oscar is rolling out a new limited-edition watch developed in partnership with Wilson Sporting Goods — a timepiece with a clever, first-of-its-kind complication aimed squarely at fans of America’s national pastime. Here’s the windup… here’s the pitch… now here comes what you need to know about this week’s Watch to Watch, the Oak & Oscar Ashland.
“Ashland Manufacturing Company” was the original name of Wilson Sporting Goods, longtime maker of sports equipment, accessories and apparel, including the official glove of Major League Baseball, and, like Oak & Oscar, is based in Chicago. The watch, limited to 130 pieces, has its 40-mm stainless steel case mounted on a strap made from Wilson’s own proprietary A2000 Copper Pro Stock Leather. Each watch also includes an additional strap made of another proprietary Wilson product, called Navy SuperSkin, plus a specially designed, gray-suede watch wallet that incorporates both materials. SuperSkin is a microfiber material used in baseball that is engineered to be lightweight, durable, and moisture-repellent. Purchasers of the watch also have the option to add an Oak & Oscar-branded Wilson A2000 1787 baseball glove, made by master glove craftsman Shigeaki Aso, featuring both companies’ logos as well as the “four stars” motif from the flag of the city of Chicago.
So aside from the materials and accessories, what makes the Ashland the ideal wristwear for the ballpark — especially when baseball, unlike sports such as football, basketball, and soccer, is famously played without a time clock? Aesthetically, there’s the sandwich-style dial, in a shade of green inspired by the grass of a baseball field, complete with white foul-line indices and a home-plate-shaped icon at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock is a color-coordinated date window, with the date in a custom-designed typeface. On the technical side, there’s the unique “inning tracker” bezel with its 1-through-9 scale, with intermittent dividers for the top and bottom of each inning, which allows the wearer to keep track of the passing of innings during the game by rotating the bezel so each half-inning lines up with the home plate index at 12. If a game goes into extras, simply use the bezel’s 12 o’clock pip for the 10th, the “1” for the 11th, and so on.
Inside the 200-meter water-resistant case is a workhorse movement, the Swiss-made, automatic ETA 2892A2, with 21 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 42-hour power reserve. The case’s drilled lugs allow the watch’s owner to easily switch between straps using the provided tool. Of the 130 pieces being produced, 100 will be available to the public, with the other 30 reserved for Wilson executives and “other key players.” One piece will be donated to raise funds for Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes, a charity for first responders founded by Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber. As with all Oak & Oscar watches, a portion of profits from all of the Ashland pieces will be donated to One Tail at a Time, a Chicago dog rescue operation. The retail price is $1,850, $2,150 with the special Wilson baseball glove.