Welcome to the first in a new series of interviews that we’ll be posting here on Vanish. We’re calling them ‘Wild Ingenuity™.’ In alignment with our passions of Nature/Culture/Future™… we’re speaking with movers and shakers from around the world about these three very topics. Our first guest is Chase Fancher, founder of one of our favorite adventure-ready watch companies: Oak & Oscar.
Chase, tell us a bit about yourself, your company, and how nature is woven into your product strategy.
Hey there! I’m Chase, founder of Oak & Oscar. We’re a Chicago-based independent watch company doing cool things with great people. Three guiding principles drive everything we do: to make no little plans, the belief that good people make great products, and that the details always make the design.
On a personal level, I need nature to help me find my center. Walking through a city park, canoeing, kayaking, hiking or even just sitting next to a lake inspire me and help me think. Our two current watch models, The Humboldt 12-hr ($1,550) and The Olmsted 38 ($1,375) are named after historical figures that explored their environments and valued nature. One major brand motto we have is “Built to Discover” and we live by that. Whether it’s the discovery of a new fishing spot or a new coffee shop, we follow the idea that seeking knowledge and experience is one of life’s great pleasures
From an annual “adventure trip” with fellow Oak & Oscar Owners to virtual events with knowledgeable experts, we’re always out there looking for new ways to explore and experience nature.
Where do you, go for inspiration and what out there is creating the best or most interesting vibes to motivate you?
Oh man, that list is long! Everywhere from the amazing museums of Chicago, city parks, restaurants, coffee shops and nearby nature reserves. Personally, my family and I love to find a local park and just explore, I’m looking forward to taking my two boys out on their first camping trip one day – hopefully get them into a canoe! We’re lucky also to have explored the Boundary Waters just last year and man, that place is just magical. I’m hoping to make it back up there later this year if possible.
As for motivation, we pay a lot of attention to culture as a whole and take inspiration from all different aspects of life. Whether it’s design inspiration while walking through the Vitra Design Museum in Germany or endlessly scrolling through the neverending crazy of social media. Motivation, for me, comes from the drive to do both good and well. I absolutely love knowing that our products end up on the wrist of some amazing people for amazing reasons – everything from birthdays, weddings, births to simply loving and appreciating our products. We know that our watches are becoming part of someone’s story and that’s such a phenomenal feeling. It’s very motivational.
Right now, we’re balancing the need to look at the “far” future (1-2 years from now) with the “near” future of what the landscape will look like in 1-3 months. No one really knows what that will look like. What I do know is that dedication to our community, both proud Owners of our timepieces and the #watchfam as whole, has always been a significant focus and will continue to be so. Developing real, authentic relationships with such an amazing group of diverse, creative, and interesting folks is one of the absolute best parts of my job.