The Story Of Wooden Watches
While watches as we know them today really got their start in Europe a few hundred years ago, wooden watches started gaining popularity in the United States around 2010. It started as a few different fashion companies like Jord began with the novel idea to create unique and artistic watches that feature different kinds of wood.
Once a few wooden watches like Original Grain were out in the population, they began to gain some notoriety and the initial demand began to increase which allowed for numerous other companies like Burnham Watches to join and begin to create many, many new styles and sizes of watches.
Why People Choose Wooden Watches
There are 3 main reasons choose a wood watch over a standard watch and they include health reasons, fashion preference or making a statement about their values.
- Choosing Wood for Health: Wooden watches are made from natural materials and many are naturally oiled. These watches are hypoallergenic, which are a great choice for anyone who may be allergic to the various metals in standard watches.
- Wood Watch For Fashion: Perhaps the most popular reason for buying a wooden watch is that people tend to love the look and feel of these watches. They have such a wide range of colors, movements, sizes and designs. They are unique and often start a conversation.
- Natural Grain For A Mission: For some wood buyers, wearing a watch made of natural materials allows them to make a statement to the world that they like nature or value the natural world.
The 3 Main Styles Of Wooden Watches
First, we admit, categorizing wooden watches into 3 main groups is a bit of an oversimplification – but it’s a great place to start and give an overview.
- All Wood Case & Band: The first, and most classic style of wooden watches that may people got to knew have an all wood case & crown, plus an all wood band. The mechanics of the watch at still metal, and the face is covered with a crystal, but otherwise almost everything else is wood. The wood sections of these watches are held together with metal pins or screws that are hidden.
- Metal Case With Wooden Accents: The other popular style is a watch case that is actually made from metal (usually stainless steel) but that features a wooden face or wood accents on the case. They are then frequently paired with a metal wristband that also has wood accents or insets. Over many years, these watches tend to be a bit more durable – just because the case is metal.
- Wooden Watch With Leather, Rubber or Nylon Band: One of newer styles that has emerged in the past few years is one of the above styles of case that is then paired with various types of bands ranging from leather to rubber or Nylon.
- Example: This red wood watch with leather band from Burnham
What Kinds Of Movements Do Wood Watches Use?
These watches tend to use the same kind of movements that your everyday Skagen or Fossil might use. These include:
- Standard Quartz movements from Japan or China.
- Upgraded quartz movements from Switzerland.
- Mechanical, self-winding movements. These are also sometimes referred to as automatic watches. And are also paired with a “skeleton face” design which means you can see the watch movement through the face or back of the case via a glass window in the watch.
Example Of An Automatic Movement
Check our our Guide: Best Automatic Movement Wooden Watches
Example Of A Quartz Movement Wooden Watch
What Kinds Of Wood Are Used?
Wood watches are most frequently made from the following 7 kinds of woods – although their are actually dozens of different varieties in use.
- Red Sandalwood (sometimes referred to as Rosewood)
- Ebony wood which has a very dark, almost black color.
- Zebrawood is a lighter colored wood that has zebra like stripes in the wood grain.
- Bamboo most usually has a light almost golden color – other it is frequently stained into dark colors too.
- Walnut wood tends to be a darker color with gray tint, but not as dark as ebony wood.
- Maple wood is on the lighter side and is a more white / yellow color.
- Olive wood has a bit of a green tint.
How Long Do They Last?
As with any watch, it’s lifespan often depends on how you treat it and care for it – but in our experience they can last as long as any other watch with proper care.
Try and avoid getting your wooden watch wet or submerging it. They can absorb the water which may make them swell.
The batteries in a wooden watch will usually last between 18 and 36 months. They can be changed in the same way any other watch – usually by removing the case back and changing it out for a new one.
How Much Do Wooden Watches Cost
How much do wood watches cost you ask? They can range very widely in price with some starting in the $20 range and going all the way up to $1,000.
- Wooden Watches Range From $20 or $30 up to $1,000.
What Price Range Is Best For Wooden Watches?
However, in our experience – we usually recommend purchasing a watch in the $50 – $200 range if you are looking for great quality and great value.
- Watches in the $20 or $30 range are often a little lower quality.
- Wood Watches costing $300 or $500 plus means you are likely paying a little more for brand recognition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, we do it ourselves sometimes! But consider it like paying $10,000 for a Rolex watch. It doesn’t actually cost $9,900 more to make a Rolex than at $100 Fossil or Timex.
- Our favorite category is the $50 to $200 range where you can get great quality beautiful natural grain wood watches for a good value. For choosing a watch in this category, check out our Guide to the Best Wooden Watches Under $100.
When To Buy A Wood Watch?
People purchase watches for many different reasons from a small gift for themselves, to match a particular outfit or as a gift. The most popular events are:
- Christmas Gift
- Father’s Day
- Wedding Anniversary
- Groomsmen / wedding gifts
Can A Wooden Watch Get Wet?
Many watch companies will say their wooden watches are “splash proof” or may be rated water resistant to 1-5 ATM. While this may technically be true – our opinion is to prevent your watch from really getting wet or submerged.
While the mechanics of your watch are likely sealed, wood can warp or stain if it get’s wet. So our recommendation for your wooden watch is to prevent water.
Now, if you get caught in the rain or it gets splashed while washing your hands, we would recommend gently drying it with a towel and not worrying about it. But we say avoid swimming with it, showering with it or taking it to the beach!