making time

2019-6-14 | Chevy New Roads Magazine

Making Time

When Chase Fancher left an unfulfilling corporate job to create world-class timepieces, he joined a much larger movement that’s changing cities and how we view locally made goods.

Chase Fancher liked the salary and benefits of working for a big company. But the job itself? Not so much. “I wasn’t passionate about it,” he recalls. “And just as importantly, my work-life balance was terrible.” He yearned to do something he loved.

 

Even as a kid, Fancher had been fascinated with watches. His first watch was “nothing crazy nice,” he says. “Nothing crazy expensive, but I remember being just so enthralled by it, so in love with it.” Eventually his collection increased, but not as much as his passion to become involved professionally in the watchmaking world.

 

In fact, he had already designed a watch and made a 3D prototype while working his day job. He was at a point when he needed to invest in his dream or put it on the shelf, so he turned to his father for advice. “What would you tell your future kids?” his father asked.

 

“That was one of the very first times that it hit home that I should really go for it,” Fancher says. So after much planning and soul-searching, he left his corporate life in 2015 to open Oak & Oscar and create beautifully designed, world-class timepieces in his hometown of Chicago. “I’m a watch collector, and if I could actually put my mark in the world of horology, then that’s something that I would be absolutely honored to do,” he says.

 

An array of artisans

Oak & Oscar’s original design and clean aesthetic have helped propel its line of watches to quick success and almost cult status among enthusiasts. The company also sets itself apart by partnering with local artisans to create handcrafted straps and watch wallets.

Over the the last four years, the results speak for themselves. Fancher was able to hire talented local graphic artist John Hatherly to keep up momentum and handle the day-to-day operations. Every Oak & Oscar watch the two conceived of has sold out. Reviews from the watch media have been outstanding. And perhaps most impressive, owners are buying and keeping their purchases. In a community that’s notorious for “flipping” watches, listings for Oak & Oscar models are scant on popular online reseller websites; when and if they do show up for sale, it’s for a premium price.

 

The watches quickly become part of owners’ histories, as well. “I’ve got stories of guys who have used our chronograph to help save people’s lives when they’re doing CPR. I used my chronograph to time my wife’s contractions,” Fancher says.

 

Fancher is not alone in leaving convention behind to seek a more fulfilling career. “You have more and more people serving in entrepreneurial roles and doing work in different ways,” explains Brooks Rainwater of the National League of Cities (NLC), which is helping foster this groundswell of entrepreneurialism—called the maker movement—in communities across the country.

 

Makers create artisanal products, new digital technologies, even large-scale prototypes. Some work from their homes, others in maker spaces or innovation hubs within places like libraries, schools, co-working spaces, or storefronts where they share tools and resources and collaborate with people who have different, complementary skills and talents.

I think that anytime you’re keeping opportunities local, it’s a win for the community.

Fancher collaborates with outside sources in his own way. He teams up with businesses that have reputations for making high-quality goods to help produce the watches that he and his team conceive. “Good people make great products,” explains Fancher, who likes being able to shake hands with partners, share a drink, and talk about projects and ways to improve their individual businesses.

 

A number of these partners are local, such as Stock Mfg. on Chicago’s West Side, which makes a waxed canvas wallet to hold Oak & Oscar’s newest Humboldt timepiece, the first watch in its permanent collection. (Fancher dislikes the waste of ornamental watch boxes and prefers the utility of a soft travel case, or “watch wallet.”)

 

Using Chicago-based sewing shops has given Stock Mfg. a competitive edge. “For us, handling the production ourselves and making things locally has allowed us to get an apparel business off the ground and growing,” says Jim Snediker, a Stock Mfg. founder, on the company’s ability to quickly manufacture small batches of its menswear line, custom uniforms, and specialty products.

 

But makers are creating an even bigger impact. “I think that anytime you’re keeping opportunities local, it’s a win for the community,” says Snediker.

American Watchmakers Worth Watching

Oak & Oscar isn’t the only new U.S. company making beautiful, small-batch timepieces.

Lorier

Husband and wife team Lorenzo and Lauren Ortega were teachers in love with the classic sports watches of the 1950s, but couldn’t afford to put them on the wrist. Their company, Lorier, attempts to bring that vibe to all customers with classic proportions, mechanical movements, and charming acrylic crystals at prices that make the watches perfect for daily wear. lorierwatches.com

Pelton

A watch’s dial tends to get the lion’s share of attention, but Michigan-based Pelton is making the bracelet the star of the show. Pelton’s Perseus model has a bracelet built totally in-house—an extreme rarity for an American company—from no fewer than 131 hand-finished pieces. peltonusa.com

Weiss Watch Company

Very few small watch companies produce watches from start to finish in their own workshops. The folks at Weiss do just that, building everything—including their very own watch movement—at their Los Angeles–based facility. weisswatchcompany.com

Woodnsteel in nearby Fort Wayne, Ind., makes the leather watch wallets that Oak & Oscar sells as accessories, and it also crafted all of the leather straps and wallets for the company’s limited-edition and special-edition timepieces.

 

The trust and rapport that has developed among the partners means Dustin Case, creator at Woodnsteel, can focus on the important things. “It’s the details that will help a product stand out, and I think this is something that larger companies often overlook,” says Case, who, like Fancher, left another career to follow his passion for making custom leather goods. “I hope that the care that we put into making a quality product will gain back the trust of owning something that is made in America.”

 

Sourcing local vendors can help the community, as they might then be able to expand their businesses and employ more local people. Cities are even finding that an inclusive maker movement can give underserved low-income and minority populations an economic leg up.
 

And consumers want local, too. People today are much less worried about having more and more goods within their home and instead want unique, custom, craftsman-style goods that have “a true connection to their community, their place,” says Rainwater. As well, they want to know their makers, just as they want to know the farmers who grow their food. Given all these factors, Rainwater expects the maker movement to become even stronger in the years ahead.

 

Owners of Oak & Oscar watches get it all: a thoughtfully designed and well-built product, plus lots of face time with Fancher, who loves hosting dinners and whiskey tastings for them at the company’s Chicago store and across the country. “It’s important to me that they feel like they’re part of it,” he says of the brand named for his love of oak barrel–aged whiskey and his mischievous dog, Oscar, a shop regular.

 

“People want products that have some character and soul, and I think that’s something that we do well,” adds Fancher, who admits to working harder and putting in longer hours than ever before at his corporate job. “But at the same time I absolutely love it.”

 

STORY: ANNE NAGRO / PHOTOGRAPHY: CYBELLE CODISH

Back to New Roads
  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution

  • EPA-estimated 29 MPG city/39 highway with 5-speed manual transmission and 30 MPG city/38 highway with available Continuously Variable Transmission

  • EPA estimated with 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA estimated with 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner's Manual for more information.

     

  • EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Sonic Sedan with 6-speed manual transmission 27/38; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34; Sonic Hatchback with 6-speed manual transmission 26/35; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to User Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service and GPS signals. OnStar links to emergency services. Visit onstar.com for more details.

  • Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.

  • Connected Services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan, and 1 month/3 GB of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Data plan offered by AT&T. Services subject to user terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell service, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  Visit onstar.com for more details.

  • If you decide to continue service after your trial, the subscription plan you choose will automatically renew thereafter and you will be charged according to your chosen payment method at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. To cancel you must call SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. See SiriusXM Customer Agreement for complete terms at siriusxm.com. All fees and programming subject to change. Sirius, XM, SiriusXM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc.

  • EPA estimate for Sonic with available 6-speed automatic transmission.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and driving technique.

  • EPA-estimated 238-mile EV range. Your actual range may vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain, and conditions.

  • Read your vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read your vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • EPA-estimated MPG highway for Cruze Sedan with 1.4L 4-cylinder engine.

  • Cargo space for Cruze Hatch with rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • EPA-estimated 37 MPG highway for Cruze Premier Hatchback.

  • If you decide to continue service after your trial, your selected subscription plan will automatically renew thereafter. You will be charged at then-current rates. Fees and taxes apply. To cancel you must call SiriusXM at 1-866-635-2349. See SiriusXM Customer Agreement for complete terms at siriusxm.com. All fees and programming subject to change. ©2018 Sirius XM Radio Inc. All rights reserved.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range may vary based on several factors, including temperature, terrain and driving technique.

  • EPA-estimated 53-mile range based on 106 MPGe combined city/highway (electric); 367-mile extended range based on 42 MPG combined city/highway (gas). Your actual range will vary based on several factors including temperature, terrain and driving conditions.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Visit my.chevrolet.com/learn for vehicle and smartphone compatibility.

  • Available late 2018.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Requires available Performance Exhaust or Z51 Performance Package.

  • Requires available Performance Exhaust or Z51 Performance Package.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • EPA-estimated 28 City/39 Hwy MPG

  • With second row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Read the vehicles Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Does not detect people or items. Always check rear seat before exiting.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android (TM) 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

  • Service varies with conditions and location. Requires active service plan and paid AT&T Data plan. See onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • Premier shown seats seven. Standard on L, LS. Available on LT.

  • EPA-estimated with available 3.6L engine (FWD).

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • The system wirelessly charges one mobile device. Some devices require an adaptor or back cover. To check for phone or other device compatibility, visit my.chevrolet.com/learn for details.

  • With rear seats folded. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • With 5.3L EcoTec 3 engine. EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Suburban 2WD 15/22, 4WD14/21.

  • Based on GM Large SUV segment. With 5.3L EcoTec 3 engine. EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Tahoe 2WD 15/22, 4WD 15/21.

  • With second and third row seats folded flat. Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

  • Available on all trims and standard on RS and Premier including 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Requires AWD model. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices. Map Coverage available in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

  • Dependability based on longevity: 1987–July 2017 full-size pickup registrations.

  • Model year 2018 and newer vehicles include: 1 month of OnStar Safety & Security Plan and 1 month of Chevrolet Connected Services which include navigation services, Remote Access Plan, and 1 month or 3 gigabytes of 4G LTE data (whichever comes first) from vehicle delivery date. Services are subject to user terms and limitations. Visit onstar.com for more details. Data plans offered by AT&T. Availability subject to change.

  • Requires Silverado 3500 HD Crew Cab 2WD DRW with fifth-wheel hitch and available Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • With available Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android(TM) 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.

     

  • 308 horsepower with available 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Colorado 2WD with available Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner's Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • 308 horsepower with standard 3.6L V6 engine.

  • Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner's Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See your vehicle Owner’s Manual for more information.

  • Connected services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan. Services subject to Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell reception, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  See onstar.com for details. Availability subject to change.

  • Connected services include navigation services and Remote Access Plan. Services subject to Terms and limitations. Certain services require working electrical system, cell reception, and GPS signal. OnStar links to emergency services.  See onstar.com for details. Availability subject to change.

  • EPA-estimated MPG city/highway: Sonic Sedan with 6-speed manual transmission 27/38; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34; Sonic Hatchback with 6-speed manual transmission 26/35; with 6-speed automatic transmission 26/34.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Certain features require a SiriusXM subscription and the Chevrolet Connected Access plan. See siriusxm.com and onstar.com for details and limitations.

  • Do not use summer-only tires in winter conditions, as it would adversely affect vehicle safety, performance and durability. Use only GM-approved tire and wheel combinations. Unapproved combinations may change the vehicle’s performance characteristics. For important tire and wheel information, go to my.chevrolet.com/learnAbout/chevrolettires or see your dealer.

  • Premier shown seats seven. Standard on L, LS. Available on LT.

  • Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Standard on all trims:  Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Intellibeam Headlamps. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Always use seat belts and child restraints.  Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint.  See the Owner's Manual for more information.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Read the vehicles Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • On LS models with available front-row split-bench seat.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Read the Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity to some devices.

  • Read the Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Read the Owner's Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Requires AWD and 3.6L engine. Before you buy a vehicle or use it for trailering, carefully review the Trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.

  • Read the vehicle Owner's Manual for more important feature limitations and information.

  • Chevrolet Infotainment System functionality varies by model. Full functionality requires compatible Bluetooth and smartphone, and USB connectivity for some devices.

  • Standard on Extended Cab and 2WD Crew Cab Short Box models.

  • Standard on 2WD Crew Cab Long Box and 4WD Crew Cab models.

  • Available on Extended Cab models

  • Available on Crew Cab models

  • Read the vehicle owner's manual for important feature limitations and information.

  • Equipment from independent suppliers is not covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty. GM is not responsible for the safety or quality of independent supplier alterations.

  • The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

|