Something Different: The Oak & Oscar Jackson Big Eye Chronograph
Here’s a nice surprise that won’t last long. The Oak & Oscar Jackson Big Eye Chronograph brings back a popular model from the Chicago-based brand with some thoughtful tweaks.
It was all the way back in October of 2017 that we first shared news of the Oak & Oscar Jackson Chronograph. It was an audacious watch for Chase Fancher, the founder of the brand, for several reasons. Firstly, it was the marque’s first-ever chronograph. Second, it brought a new manual wind column wheel movement from Eterna called the 3916M with a flyback complication. Finally, and unsurprisingly, the Jackson brought Oak & Oscar into a different price realm. Did it work? Absolutely and there are currently 400 happy owners out there with one of the three variants on their wrists.
Enter the Jackson Big Eye Chronograph
It turns out that Oak & Oscar wasn’t finished yet because the Jackson Big Eye Chronograph is here. Now, from a distance, this watch may not look entirely different from the original Jackson, but you’d be wise to come a bit closer. Sure, the hallmark colors of grey and orange are there along with the barrel-shaped counterweight on the central chronograph hand. Move a tad closer, though, and you’ll realize that this watch is winking at you. Yes, the rightmost 30-minute sub-register is notably larger than the running seconds sub-register on the opposite side. The other difference is less noticeable, but even more delightful for purists. The date window at 6:00 is now gone.
Looking back to the ’60s and ’70s
When I first saw the new Jackson Big Eye Chronograph, I thought of one of the most famous vintage examples on the theme, the Universal Geneve Uni-Compax. It turns out that there are actually loads of vintage chronographs with this characteristic. My beloved Breitling 765 CP has it. Brands like Longines and Enicar also have their examples. The reason for the exaggerated register is that it helps the wearer read the elapsed minutes with greater ease. Style-wise, it’s a cool look and the register is so exaggerated that it typically eliminates the 3 o’clock index. The Oak & Oscar is no different.
The Oak & Oscar Jackson Big Eye Chronograph employs a variant of the previously used Eterna movement. This time, it’s the Eterna EMC 3907M. Aside from the lack of date function, everything else is the same spec-wise with this manual wind unit. That means 60 hours of power reserve, 28,800vph, a column wheel, and a flyback function. In the last year or so, watchmaker Nathan Bobinchak has joined the team; he regulates and tests each example.
The same 40mm goodness
The Oak & Oscar Jackson Big Eye has the same footprint as the first series of Jackson chronographs. That means a 40mm diameter with a thickness of 14.5mm including the domed sapphire crystal and display back, and a lug to lug of 46.4mm. The watch will come with a brown 20mm Horween strap, a Horween rally strap, a brown Horween watch wallet, and a strap tool. There will only be 50 of these and they’ll be priced at $3,150 on the Oak & Oscar site. The watches are available to ship immediately.
I really like what Chase and his small team have done at Oak & Oscar. The result of his overall work is a brand with a tight following that brings well-thought-out releases with the right frequency. The Jackson Big Eye Chronograph looks great and reminds us that in the watch world, small changes can make a big difference. Regarding the brand’s following, this watch was apparently the result of a collection of requests from current owners. Based on that alone, I’m guessing that these 50 pieces won’t last long at all.