Many people believe that wooden watches first appeared as a “fashionable” watch, rather than a practical choice.
After all, wooden watches give you more outfit-matching options. This means you can dress them down or accentuate them for a more formal look. The rich wooden sheen says “high-class” without catching the eye enough to draw attention away from another accessory.
So, does the well-known metal watch supersede the stylish flexibility wooden watches offer? Are wooden watches durable enough to withstand everyday wear?
This article is your guide to wooden watches. We hope it helps you decide whether the wooden watch is the right timepiece for you.
Wearing a wooden watch may seem like a strange concept at first. We are used to seeing the classic metal timepiece adorning the wrists of our co-workers and friends. Wooden watches are an oddity that stands out from the crowd, provoking curiosity and providing a great conversation-starter for the social butterfly.
Fortunately, the wooden wristwatch has proven itself over the years to be a practical alternative to metal, providing several benefits:
No matter the type of wood encasing your watch, it is much more heat-resistant than its metal counterpart. If you are outdoors a lot or want to help extend the lifespan of your watch, getting a wooden watch may be the way to go.
In metal watches, exposure to heat over time can cause damage to the gaskets and gears inside the watch. Once heat enters the band, it is difficult for it to disperse, meaning it will get hot quickly and it will stay hot longer than a wooden watch.
So, the true test; are wooden watches durable enough to stand up against moderately high temperatures?
It turns out that they are indeed more durable:
Pure wood is not as conductive, so wooden watches won’t get hot as quickly. Better yet, if they do get hot, the wood provides a natural grain to help disperse heat and cool down the internal mechanisms inside the watch. This natural heat dispersal also helps keep heat away from your wrist and prevent burns, unlike metal watches, making them much more durable than metal watches.
Beyond the breathtaking designs and wide array of wood and stain combinations, do you know how many people already have a wooden watch?
Metal watches have differences between brands and styles, but the mass-produced designs and standard colors mean they won’t stand out at a social event.
Wooden watches provide an extra flourish of style that can speak volumes about your personality. Using a wooden band and casing allows the watchmaker to add intricate details and include an extra level of customization because every piece is still handmade. You will be hard-pressed to find two people with the same wooden watch.
Are wooden watches durable if they are lightweight?
This is a common question buyers ask if they are new to concept of wooden watches. It’s safe to say the lightweight material doesn’t alter durability.
Wooden watches are lightweight because the base material is not as dense. The downside to this is that wood is a softer material, meaning it is not suitable for high-impact activities such as sports, and it may have a shorter natural lifespan than a metal watch.
A lightweight material such as wood is, however, perfect for the wearer who does not enjoy the heavy feel of a typical watch. It is also less likely to pinch your skin, making it a more comfortable accessory overall.
Another benefit of wearing a wooden watch is that the material is naturally hypoallergenic. Wearers who experience allergic reactions to metal or plastic may consider wooden watches for this reason alone, giving them the ability to wear a classic timepiece without the uncomfortable side effects.
As more attention is turned toward the effects toxic plastic and metal waste have on our environment, watch wearers are looking to wooden watches to support ethical eco-friendly options and make a statement about our planet.
Renewable resources are becoming more important in our search for materials, and hardwoods are plentiful and easy to regrow. With sustainable sourcing, it is cleaner for the Earth and helps forests continue their natural cycles.
As an example, bamboo is an increasingly popular wood to use in wristwatches, prized for its ability to grow so quickly, durability and lightweight feel. (1) Other types of wood also help protect the environment from harmful plastics, so long as they are sustainably sourced.
“Each week, an estimated one million acres of forest are lost to deforestation. But bamboo’s versatility as a renewable alternative for hardwoods offers a chance to considerably reduce that amount and protect the forests we have left.”
Ashley Jude Collie, Huffington Post
Most wooden watches are made from sustainably sourced or recycled wood that is not coated with toxic chemicals that damage your skin and the environment. Of course, it is always important to verify you are purchasing a genuine wooden watch.
Many of the inexpensive “knock-off” wooden watches on the market are either made of faux-wood, which is typically a plastic composite material, or simply a metal or plastic watch with a wooden shell around it. A true wooden watchmaker should be able to provide a certificate for sustainably sourced wood.
It is time to answer the question: Are wooden watches durable?
In short, the answer is yes. Wooden watches are durable.
The common wooden watch uses the same internal mechanisms that metal watches use. This means the gaskets, dials, gears and springs inside will use the same materials and give you the same trusted performance that metal watches do. The only difference is that the outer case and wristband are made from wood, which provides many of the benefits listed above.
You will occasionally see a wooden wristwatch that also has wooden components on the inside. These watches, while exquisite in their design, will typically have a shorter lifespan and be much more difficult to repair than a traditional watch with a wooden case and wristband.
Overall, the durability of an individual wooden watch will depend on the type of wood it is made from:
Maple is the most popular wood, prized for its durability in watchmaking. Typically, hard maple and sugar maple are considered the most durable species of wood for watchmakers to use. Combined with a unique, creamy color and smooth grain, it is a popular choice for fashion flexibility.
Teak is prized for its durability, rarity and rich coloration. Because of the high oil content naturally present within teak bark, it is more water-resistant than other wooden watches, and it is resistant to natural decay if it touches metal. Teak is highly sought-after for this low decay rate, making it a much more expensive – yet durable – choice.
Cherry wood is known for its straight grain and smooth texture. These features make it a popular choice for watchmakers, but it can be difficult to craft with, making true cherrywood watches more expensive.
Walnut wood features a rich coloration, exotic texture and tight grain, making it highly sought after for an expensive-looking wooden wristwatch that doesn’t break the bank. Unlike most other types of wood, walnut will lighten as it ages.
Acacia is a unique choice for the natural purple coloration and unique striations. While this hardwood is incredibly durable and water-resistant, it is much more difficult to work with, making it an expensive choice.
Bamboo is a popular choice in wooden watches for its fast and sustainable growth, lightweight material, and ease to work with. While it is not the most durable type of wood, it is easy to replace and is soft to the touch.
There are many reasons wooden watches are appealing, and each reason can be as individual as the person. There are, of course, plenty of benefits that come with owning a wooden wristwatch that cannot be overlooked
“No matter the type of wood encasing your watch, it is much more heat-resistant than its metal counterpart.”
In addition to the practical benefits, however, there are intangible benefits that come with wearing a watch in a public setting.
Wearing a watch will help you check the time on your wrist, rather than pulling out your phone in the middle of a conversation. Several experts suggest that checking the time on your watch could increase your chances of getting a job when everyone else in the interview room is using their phone. (2)
“[…] it is a combination of each of these characteristics with intangibles, such as chemistry and those little personal things that separates you from everyone else.”
Stephen Viscusi, Huffington Post
It’s no secret that wristwatches are here to stay, despite the majority of the current generation using their phones to check the time, as technology replaces the need for tradition.
A wooden watch is a classic yet stylish way to make a statement. You are encouraging the respect that comes with discreetly checking the time in conversation, but you’re not afraid to wear something that stands out; a bold fashion statement that many people from all generations are embracing.
The classic timepiece, even as it is updated to modern standards, tells us a lot about someone’s societal status, giving us a window into someone’s personality:
“In the space of about 25 years the mechanical wristwatch has gone from being the marginal taste of a few eccentrics to being one of the central totems in the male pantheon of status, conferring goods right up there along with the other trophies of material success”
Nick Foulkes, The Independent
Beyond any of that, for those who are concerned about keeping up with the times, wooden watches are making their way into the spotlight. Wooden watches are fashionably unique, sustainable and bold. They are an iconic choice that won’t break the bank, with most true hardwood watches ranging anywhere from $300 to $600. Ebony, zebrawood and walnut wood are all among the trendy wood choices for this year.
Jord is an affordable luxury wristwatch brand that values modern design and sustainable practices. Each wooden watch design is unique, from the trusted mechanical gears inside and striking faces to the pure exotic woods that make up the case and wristband.
The collection of wooden watches available from Jord’s master watchmakers is exquisite, offering styles that seamlessly integrate metal and wood in a way that will make a bold statement on any wrist.
Jord sources wood from naturally felled wood – such as trees downed in storms or due to other natural circumstances – or with furniture remnants. Rather than burning the remnants or placing them in a landfill to decay and ultimately wasting the material, naturally felled trees are shipped to the watchmakers to create beautiful timepieces.
Jord’s other sustainable use of wood comes from taking the wooden remnants from furniture makers. Scrap pieces of wood from the furniture can make a whole watch, where the material might have otherwise been burned or discarded.
Make your next watch purchase a sustainable choice and purchase a Jord watch.
Watch Technicians carries Jord wristwatches, giving you peace of mind in a good quality product that is backed by a professional watch repair center experienced in both metal mechanisms and wooden watch care.