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? We offer so many wood watches on it can be a bit overwhelming to find one that suits your needs. In this comprehensive guide, we go through a number of steps that you can use when deciding what watch to purchase. Let's get started!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 +
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 beautiful handcrafted wood watch.