So you’ve decided to take the plunge and purchase a wooden watch!  Maybe you’ve read how eco-friendly they are, or how stylish they can be.  But where do you start in finding this perfect timepiece?  There are so many wood watches on the market it can be a bit overwhelming to find one that suits your needs.  In this comprehensive guide, I’m going to go through a number of steps that you can use when deciding what watch to purchase.

1.  Setting a Budget

Yes, watches can be expensive but you don’t need to break the bank to find a quality timepiece.

Wooden watches can range from less than $50 to more than a $1000 – however the majority are between $50 and $500.  Factors such as wood, movement, brand and functionality all come into play when the price of a watch is set.

Some brands manufacturer within their own country (such as Tense) and you’ll find that their prices are naturally higher than watches manufactured in China (such as Bewell) where labor is cheaper.  Of course, there are other factors that come into play such as

Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the watch is cheaper means that it lacks quality.  Doing a quick search on Amazon will bring you dozens of wooden watches, with the majority of them below $100.  Many of these are very popular, and for good reason – they are of decent quality and have great designs.  Simply reading user reviews on Amazon, forums, blogs and other resources will give you a good idea if the watch is worth the money.

It is true that the more you pay, the generally better the watch but you can still find a great number of watches that won’t strain your wallet.

2.  Choosing (or ignoring) a Brand

How much does the watch brand matter?  Well like many things the answer falls into a bit of grey area.

Firstly, there are popular and reputable brands like WeWOOD and Tense who are renowned for producing high quality watches.  It is quite easy to find information about these brands from a variety of online sources.

Another popular brand is Treehut which is a bit cheaper than the aforementioned brands.  The watches are hand-crafted in their San-Francisco studio.  You’ll notice they pretty much offer one design of watch that comes in many different woods and colors.  Basically, if you like their core watch design then there is a good chance you will find what you are looking for.

And now we enter into a bit more obscure territory with Chinese brands of watches.  The good news is that they offer some of the most affordable watches on the market.  The bad news is that sometimes quality may be lacking.  Easily the most popular Chinese brand is Bewell.  Almost all of their watch line is priced at less than $50 and surprisingly most of their watches are decent in quality.  They are definitely worth considering as they offer a wide variety of watch designs made from different woods.

Other brands include Gassen James, Jord, Original Grain, Luno WearMistura, and the list goes on.  In summary, there are several factors you need to consider when choosing the brand of watch:

  • Price range
  • Quality (can be determined from reading reviews, where manufacturing takes place and brand establishment date)
  • Range of designs
  • Warranty

All of this can be greatly confusing, so we’ve created a brand comparison table with the intention of removing some of this grey area and helping you figure out which brands are right for you.

BrandAssemblyPrice RangeWarrantyNo. of Designs
Analog Watch Co.
Est. 2013
N/A$15012 Months1
Apache Pine
Est. 2014
China$240 - $3206 Months7
Bewell
Est. 2006
China$20 - $100Subject to Seller25 +
Gassen James
Est. 1992
China$40 - $150Subject to Seller25 +
Grovemade
Est. 2009
USA$239 - $3196 Months2
Jord
Est. 2013
China/USA$169 - $39512 Months10
Luno Wear
Est. 2014
China$8012 Months4
Martin and MacArthur
Est. 1961
Canada$125 - $195024 Months25 +
Mistura
Est. 2005
Columbia$189 - $78960 Months17
Original Grain
Est. 2013
China$149 - $499Lifetime Warranty5
Spring Break
Est. 2013
N/A$69 - $79Lifetime Warranty6
Tense
Est. 1971
Canada$124 - $125924 Months25 +
Treehut
Est. 2014
USA$99 - $19530 Days2
WeWOOD
Est. 2009
Indonesia & China$99 - $38024 Months25 +

3.  Watch Specifications

We are now at the nitty gritty part of this guide – the watch specifications.  When viewing most watches you’ll be given a list of information about the watch such as the wood, movement, measurements and features.  Some of this may make sense to you -and for those not sure – we’ve gone through the some of the key points to consider.

3.1 Wood

Wood is of course the key component in wood watches and is essentially one of the biggest influences in whether you will be interested in the watch or not.   The dial, watch case and band may all be made of wood.  Many watches also use wood with stainless steel, plastic and other materials.

There are several factors that are unique to each timber:

Pattern of Grain:  This refers to the pattern seen on the surface.  There are 6 general types – straight, irregular, diagonal, spiral, interlocked and wavy.

Durability:  The last thing you want is for your watch to chip or crack easily.  A good natural resistance to insect damage is also a good quality.  Keep in mind that many manufacturers apply coatings that improves durability.

Texture:  This is how the wood feels.  It may feel naturally rough or smooth, but many watch makers end up polishing the wood for a smooth finish.

Color:  Woods used may be a variety of colors from black all the way to creamy and white.  Color is extremely important as it is the largest factor influencing the appearance of the timepiece.

Luster:  The more lighter the wood in color, the greater the natural sheen or luster.  Generally, light colored woods will have greater luster then darker woods.  Having said that, polishing, buffing and sanding can add luster to any wood.

 

Wood Comparison

3.2 Clockwork:  Movement and Battery

The movement is the mechanism which is responsible for moving the hands and other functions.  There are two main movements – quartz and mechanical.

On a quartz watch, the second hand has a tick-tick motion while a mechanical watch will have a smooth, sweeping second hand movement.

The most common movement is quartz – it is cheaper than it’s mechanical counterpart and has fewer moving parts while being extremely accurate and reliable.  They are also battery powered which can last for years.

The two most common quartz movements you will find in wooden watches are:

  • Japanese Miyota Quartz Movement
  • Swiss Quartz Movement

Both are extremely reliable and accurate with the Swiss movement regarded as slightly more accurate.  You will definitely know if a watch has a Swiss movement as it will have the words ‘Swiss Movement’ or something similar being printed somewhere on the watch. The Swiss movement watch will also cost a little bit extra having originally been made by a Swiss manufacturer.

Having said that, you can’t go wrong with choosing the Japanese movement and you’ll find the majority of wooden watches have adopted this movement.

3.3 Watch Crystal

The watch crystal is the ‘glass’ that sits on the dial.  Most people refer to it as glass but this is not always the case.  Let’s go through the most common watch crystals:

Acrylic Crystal

This is by far the cheapest watch crystal.  It is tough and durable making it extremely hard to break.  Crystals that are acrylic also have low glare which is useful for obvious reason.  However; they scratch very easily and it’s this property which makes most watch companies avoid using them.

Expect only the cheapest of watches (less then $20) to be using this type of crystal.

Mineral Crystal

This is basically glass with a tempered formulation.  It’s a lot harder to scratch than acrylic but also easier to shatter.  You can expect a wooden watch to either have this crystal or sapphire crystal.

Sapphire Crystal

Highly transparent, scratch-resistant and extremely hard, sapphire crystal is the premium choice for watch crystals.  The only issue is that it shatters easier then both acrylic and mineral glass.  Despite this, you will usually find these crystals in the more expensive watch range.

Unless the price is very low, you can expect the watch to either have a mineral or sapphire crystal.

3.4  Band and Watch Face Measurements

In the past, a thin watch meant that it had a better and more refined clockwork then its thicker cousins – this explains why so many luxury watches are thinner then less expensive models.

However; there has been a trend in recent times for larger and bulkier watches – both case diameter and thickness has increased.  Many wood watches reflect this trend and it is up to your preference on whether you wish to wear a small, proportional or over-sized watch.

Wrist size is key in determining what size watch will look proportional.  To measure your wrist:

Get a tape measure and snugly fit it around your wrist (in the area where you would like the watch to go) to get an accurate measurement.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a tape measure you can use other flexible objects around the house that you know the length of.  Dollar bills usually measure 6 inches.

If you are a man, 6 – 7 inch wrist circumference would be considered small to medium.  7 – 8 inches + would be considered medium – large.

If you are a woman then we can take these measurement down an inch, 5 – 6 inches is considered small to medium with 6-7 inches being medium to large.

Depending on your wrist size, these case diameters are suitable for your wrist:

  • For a Man:
    • Small – Medium: 38 mm – 42 mm
    • Medium – Large: 42 mm – 46 mm
    • Large – Extra Large: 46 mm +
  • For a Woman
    • Small – Medium : 30 mm – 37 mm
    • Medium – Large: 38 – 43 mm
    • Large – Extra Large: 44 mm +

Watch Measurements

Most manufacturers have watches that are for males, females or are unisex.  You should be fine purchasing a watch if it’s the correct gender as most brands will make the size smaller or larger.  Most brands do make wooden watches on the larger side, so if anything expect the watch to be slightly larger then a more conventional timepiece.

Band Length

99% of the time your wrist will fit within the minimum and maximum band length.  If not, many manufactures will supply additional links if your wrist is too large.  There are 3 types of bands:

  • If the band is leather, then it is easily adjustable using the punctured holes.
  • If the band is wood, then chances are it uses pins. You’ll have to remove the pins to adjust the band length.  Either the manufacturer will supply a pin removal tool (as is the case with WeWOOD) or you can seek a jeweler to do the job.  It’s not recommended to do this yourself as you may cause damage by splintering the wood.
  • Similarly to a wood band, a metal band will also use pins.

Thickness of the watch case is also important to consider.  If you plan on wearing shirts over the watch then a thin watch (less than 10 mm) would be better as it won’t cause bulging.  Thickness generally ranges from 6 – 15 mm.

Wood Watch Case Thickness

3.5  Functionality and Features

One other thing you need to consider is watch functionality (called complications).  These are extra functions besides the typical hand movement.  It’s worthwhile to go through this list to see if there are any that you are looking for:

Chronograph:  This is basically a stop watch feature.  It has an independent second hand which you can start, stop and return to zero.  You may find the watch also having independent hour and minute hands as well.  Most watches with this feature have an additional 1-3 buttons that are used for this feature.

Calendar Display:  This is when there is a day, date or month display on the dial.  Some watches will display all three.  There are usually windows on the dial that display this information and can be adjusted using the crown.   Typically, the crown may pop slightly out or in to allow the adjustment of other calendar values.

Luminous Hands:  Some hands and time indications are coated or have strips of luminescent material that will allow for viewing of the time in the dark.

Chronograph-Calendar-and-Luminous-Hands feature

Waterproof:  Unless otherwise specified, most wooden watches on the market are not 100% waterproof.  However; the majority are splash proof.  You’ll usually see terms like ‘3atm’ or ‘5atm’ to describe how waterproof the watch is.  Most are 3atm (splash proof).  The abbreviation ‘ATM’ stands for atmospheres which is converted to water depth.  Each ATM is equivalent to 10 meters of water pressure.  No, it does not mean that you can swim with the watch up to a depth of 10 meters!

Hypo-allergenic:  Similar to the water proof property, most watches are also hypo-allergenic which means there is a very small chance the wood will cause an allergic reaction.  A wood watch is therefore a smart choice if you have sensitive skin or your skin reacts to metals.

Analog or Digital:  Most wooden watches are analog but there are also some that use modern digital elements.

4.  What’s Your Style?

Sometimes you want to pick a watch that goes with a certain dress style – there is primarily formal and casual.

Dress Watch

You’ll be looking for a wooden watch that is average in size and relatively thin so it can fit under a shirt or blouse.  Typically, a watch with a leather band will have what you are looking for.

The wood should be a formal colour – ebony, maple, walnut or even bamboo.  It’s best to stay away from exuberant woods like zebrawood or sandalwood which may be a bit too flashy.

In terms of functionality, you want to stick to analog with a simple Roman numeral dial and perhaps a calendar display.

Dress-Wood-Watch

Casual Watch

Casual watches are definitely the easiest to shop for.  Most wooden watches suit a casual style and you don’t have to be too picky with what you are looking for as long as you stay away from the most formal of watch styles.

If you are looking for a big and chunky watch then you’re in luck – wooden watches excel in the category.  Woods with complex grain patterns and striking colors like verawood, rosewood and zebrawood are great choices.

For functionality and features, it really depends what you want out of the watch but this is where a chronograph and luminous hands become acceptable.  This is also a perfect chance for getting a digital wood watch if that’s your thing.

Casual Wooden Watch Styles

5.  Where to purchase a wood watch

There are really two primary ways of purchasing your next prized possession.  You could either purchase it from the brands website (check out the nice little brand table further up) or from a general online store like Amazon.

Amazon usually offer equal or better prices and they also come with warranty which can be longer  or shorter then what you would get on the manufacturers website.  Keep in mind that Amazon does not always stock the full range of a brands watches and you will have to go directly to the brands website.

If you’re new to wooden watches and don’t have a particular brand in mind, I would recommend viewing Amazon first.  Search up wooden watches and you will be given a wide array of results.  Having a browse will help you quickly narrow down what design suits you.

6.  Conclusion

There are so many wood watches out there that it can be a bit overwhelming to choose which one is right for you.  By taking the time to determine your requirements you can narrow down the list to make the process as painless as possible!  We hope that this guide has helped you and that you feel confident in purchasing a wood watch online.