Okay, so I have a bit of a rant. I wrote a post similar to this last December, but I removed it the same day I posted it as the owner of the company responded to my email listing my concerns about their "business practices". Because of that, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, so I removed the post for a little while to see if he would actually do what he said he would. To date, he has not.
I purchased the Humboldt GMT from Oak & Oscar last December (2022). I LOVE the watch! Nearly everything about it is what I look for in a watch. But I also love to have multiple strap options, so in addition to purchasing the watch, I ordered one of their new canvas straps. It looks and reads to be as rugged as the watch itself, and because they were made for these watches, I anticipated an excellent fit. That is how I justified the premium price ($115 USD).
Well, when it all arrived I quickly realized that the custom canvas strap was not a great fit at all. It was too wide for the lug width of the watch. And not just by a little bit, I really had to force the strap in between the lugs. This causes the end of the strap to kind of puff out, or round out, so it rubs on both the lugs and the watch case itself, and it catches on the ends of the case quite often. This has already caused some of the color to wear off of the strap where it contacts the case, and it reduces the mobility of the strap on the wrist which reduces comfort and making it much harder to break it in.
Shortly after receiving my order, I got an email from the company asking me to review the items I purchased. So I did. On December 18th. I gave the watch 5 out of 5, and I gave the strap 3 out of 5. On December 21st my review for the watch was posted on the O&O website, but not my strap review. So I emailed the company to see what was up and express my concern that it APPEARS that they artificially suppress less than desirable customer reviews to keep their ratings high on their website. Chase, the owner, responded.
We're crazy swamped right now and your watch review was a quick and easy approval for me. But, your strap review was, in my opinion, a little harsh. I wanted to take some time to reply to the review before publishing it and have a quality response noted on the website.
As for your strap issues, it's a natural, organic material that is formed, by hand, into the shape. There will always be some variance and tolerance in the width and thickness. Personally, I'd rather it be too thick than too thin. I also have no clue about the "shedding" as I've never heard or seen that before on any of the canvas straps we've sold.
I'm also not sure why you didn't reach out to us directly about your issues with the strap before posting a negative review. We'd have happily discussed it with you as the issues you're having are a first for us. Making sure our Owners are happy, and just generally being good people, are absolute priorities for us and I would have hoped that came across when you met us at the NYC Windup.
That response from Chase was on December 21st. My review is still not on their website. Also, here are my problems with his reply.
Thanks for your email. We absolutely appreciate all reviews—good and bad! Good constructive criticism given in the right way is absolutely vital to learning and doing better. I wholeheartedly believe that.
We've been very fortunate, and put in a lot of hard work and effort into making great products, that we've not received any legit bad reviews (some reviews were made for wrong products or by folks that didn't even purchase the items they'd left reviews for). The reviews posted are legit and uncensored, typos and all! We absolutely do not curate the reviews (again, except for the ones that are obviously not accurate or otherwise inappropriate) to inflate the ratings.
I hate this because this casts a negative cloud over this company for me now, which also makes me look at my watch a little differently. Customer ratings matter to me, a lot. I read reviews to help me make a determination when making a purchase, especially for items that cost thousands of dollars. As I am sure most of us do! I now naturally assume that O&O only post reviews that are 4 or 5 stars, while keeping other reviews off of their websites, which is extremely disingenuous and misleading, which I said to Chase.
My review specifically noted why I gave the rating I did, that fact that the actual fit and compatibility of the "custom" canvas strap does not actually fit and does not appear to be compatible. I could have bought a much less expensive version from Etsy that likely would have been a better fit.
I waited over a month, and well after the holiday season to see if he would do as he said he would, post my review with his "quality" response. He has not. So, my post is now back.