Wood Watches: Weighing the Pros and Cons Before You Buy

Wood watches have become a unique and practical fashion statement in the world of timepieces. Originally known for their distinct style, they now stand as a strong alternative to the usual metal or silicone watches.

Combining classic watch mechanics with a wooden exterior, wood watches offer a unique look. A high-quality wood watch can also be surprisingly durable and fit well with different fashion styles. Let’s take a look at the key things to consider when buying a wood watch, to help you choose wisely.

Pros and Cons of Wood Watches

Stylish wood watch
Wood watches are undeniably classy! See this here.

There are a number of pros and cons to wood watches, so let’s take a quick look at them:

Pros of Wood Watches

Wood watches come with several advantages that make them an appealing choice for many:

1. Unique Style

Wood watches are celebrated for their unique and natural style. Unlike standard metal or silicone watches, each wood watch boasts distinct grain patterns and color variations, making every piece unique. This organic beauty is not just about aesthetic appeal; it reflects a connection to nature and an appreciation for craftsmanship.

Wood watches blend the charm of traditional watchmaking with a contemporary flair, offering a piece that’s both timeless and modern. They cater to those who value individuality and want a watch that’s as unique as their personal story.

2. Lightweight and Comfortable

The comfort of wood watches comes from their lightweight nature, as wood is generally lighter than metal. This feature makes them ideal for all-day wear, without the burden or discomfort often associated with heavier metal watches.

For active individuals or those who prefer not to feel weighed down by their accessories, wood watches provide the perfect solution. They sit comfortably on the wrist, making them suitable for everyday use, from office work to outdoor adventures.

3. Eco-Friendly

Wood watches appeal strongly to the environmentally conscious consumer. Many are crafted from sustainable, reclaimed, or recycled wood, significantly reducing waste and environmental impact. This eco-friendly aspect is not just about using natural materials but also about supporting sustainable practices in fashion and accessories.

By choosing a wood watch, consumers are often supporting smaller businesses and artisans who prioritize ecological responsibility, contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.

4. Hypoallergenic

For those with sensitive skin or allergies to certain metals, wood watches offer a hypoallergenic alternative. Wood, by its nature, is less likely to cause skin irritation compared to metal watches, which sometimes contain nickel or other allergens.

This makes wood watches a safe and comfortable option for anyone with skin sensitivities, allowing them to wear a watch without worry of allergic reactions or skin issues.

5. Durability

While they may require some care to maintain their appearance, high-quality wood watches are surprisingly durable. They can withstand the rigors of daily use, enduring wear and tear while maintaining their integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Properly cared for, a wood watch can last for years, developing a rich patina over time that enhances its beauty and character. This durability makes them not just a fashion statement but a lasting investment.

6. Versatility in Design

The variety of styles available in wood watches is vast, ranging from rustic to modern designs. This versatility makes them suitable for different fashion senses and occasions. They can easily be dressed up for formal events or dressed down for casual outings.

Whether you prefer a sleek, minimalist design or a more intricate, detailed look, there’s a wood watch to match every style preference, making them a versatile accessory for any wardrobe.

7. Warmth and Character

Wood naturally exudes warmth and character, adding a personal touch to accessories. Over time, as wood watches are worn, they develop a patina – a sheen produced through aging and use. This patina not only enhances the watch’s aesthetic but also makes it more personal and reflective of its wearer’s journey.

The warmth and character of wood watches make them more than just timepieces; they become keepsakes with sentimental value.

8. Conversation Starter

The uniqueness of wood watches often makes them a conversation starter. Their distinctive look draws attention and curiosity, sparking conversations about their design, material, and origins.

Wearing a wood watch can be a statement of personal style and environmental awareness, allowing wearers to share their values and preferences in a subtle yet impactful way. This aspect of wood watches makes them not just an accessory but a tool for connection and storytelling.

Cons of Wood Watches

Wooden watches, while unique and stylish, have several drawbacks compared to their metal or plastic counterparts:

1. Durability and Water Resistance

Wooden watches aren’t as tough as those made from metal or high-quality plastics. They easily get scratched, dented, and damaged from knocks and bumps.

Since they’re often not waterproof, they’re not suitable for activities like swimming or showering, or even wearing in the rain. You need to handle them carefully to keep them working and looking good.

2. Maintenance

Wooden watches are sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature. These changes can make the watch warp or change shape. They need more care than other types of watches. You’ll need to oil or condition the wood regularly to keep it looking nice. This extra effort can be too much for people who want an easy-to-care-for accessory.

3. Limited Styles and Features

Wooden watches usually have fewer style choices and don’t have many of the advanced features you find in modern metal watches, like GPS, heart rate monitors, or good water resistance. They have a unique, natural look, but this might not appeal to everyone, especially those who like a more modern or high-tech look. This limits their appeal to a smaller group of buyers.

4. Sensitivity to Chemicals

Wooden watches can be damaged by chemicals in everyday items like perfume, lotion, or cleaning products. These chemicals can discolor or damage the wood. If you own a wooden watch, you need to be careful about what it comes into contact with, which can be inconvenient, especially if you use a lot of different personal care or cleaning products. This sensitivity can make the watch less durable.

5. Weight and Comfort

Wooden watches can be heavier and bulkier than watches made of lighter materials like titanium or aluminum. This can make them uncomfortable to wear for long periods, especially if you’re not used to wearing heavier watches. While they look unique, the discomfort might put some people off, especially those who value comfort and a good fit in their accessories.

6. Allergic Reactions

Some people might be allergic to the types of wood used in these watches, which can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. This makes wooden watches unsuitable for people with allergies to certain woods. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, you need to be careful about the type of wood in the watch.

7. Environmental Concerns

Making wooden watches often uses exotic woods, which can be bad for the environment. It’s important to know where the wood comes from, especially if it’s from endangered trees or unsustainable sources.

This can be a big concern for people who care about the environment and want to make eco-friendly choices. Using exotic woods can lead to deforestation and harm to habitats if it’s not done responsibly.

8. Aging and Color Changes

Over time, the color of wooden watches can change and they can develop a patina. This adds character, but not everyone likes this change. If you prefer your watch to look the same as when you bought it, this aging process might not be to your liking.

The wood’s changing color and texture can make the watch less attractive to its owner over time. This is something to think about if you want your accessories to keep their original look.

How to Care for a Wood Watch

With reasonable care, you can keep your wood watch beautiful and in working condition for a long time.

Many wood watches today are waterproof, so check with your retailer about this. However, in general, it’s best to keep any wooden item away from water, especially from complete submersion. If you don’t swim, shower, sweat, or walk in the rain with your wood watch, as well as if you protect it from insect wood pests, there’ll be little more to worry about. Always take off your wood watch when engaging in such activities.

Also, keep your wood watch away from harmful chemicals as this can break down the finish of the watch and damage the wood.

Keep your watch free from dirt and dust to ensure that it looks its best. If dirty, you can gently wipe the watch with a damp cloth, and dry it immediately.

You can also use a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice, in equal parts, and then wipe gently with a q-tip or soft cloth. This will remove stains and dirt on the watch while maintaining its shine and luster. Make sure you wipe the watch off thoroughly afterward.

Always store your watch carefully, as it can get damaged if pressure is put on it. Wrap in a soft cloth and place in a jewelry box or pouch and keep in a safe area.

Types of Wood Used for Wood Watches

There are multiple types of wood that can be used for a wood watch. The type of wood plays a role in the watch being as durable and long-lasting as possible. Aside from that, however, the color, grain, and texture of the different types of wood are the main criteria that will influence how you choose your future wood watch.

Here are the main types:

1. Bamboo Wood Watch

personalized bamboo wood watch
Beautiful bamboo wood watch. See it here.

Bamboo is one of the eco-friendliest wood types because it is very fast-growing and easily replaceable. What’s more, it also has a very smooth texture and a very light color which makes it great for both men’s and women’s wood watches. Bamboo often has a beautiful natural pattern that adds to the beauty of the watch.

2. Karri Wood

This type of wood has a distinct red color which makes it very suitable for a stylish watch. Its grain is straight and durable, and its texture is relatively coarse. This makes it both beautiful and durable.

3. Maple Wood

personalized maple wood watch
Maple wood watch. See it here.

Maple wood is very easy to craft, which makes it highly praised in the timepiece industry. Its grain is fine and straight, and it is also very durable wear in harsh conditions. This type of wood also has a light color and is very attractive.

4. Olive Wood

engraved olive wood watch
Olive wood watch. See it here.

Olive wood can come in a lot of different colors so you won’t be restricted to a certain one. More importantly, however, because of its slow growth, olive wood has a very dense and hard texture which makes it highly durable. It can withstand exposure better than most other types of wood.

That same dense texture and tightly-grained surface make it perfect for masculine-designed watches as well as for more elegant watch styles.  

5. Sandalwood

Sandalwood wood watch
Sandalwood watch. See it here.

An exotic type of wood, sandalwood is frequently used for face masks and skin exfoliation due to its natural properties which are widely acclaimed to be great for the body. It’s also known for its soft, woodsy scent. 

It can vary greatly in color and comes with a very unique grain that’s typically straight but can also be wavy based on how it’s cut. This adds a certain level of uniqueness to sandalwood among other wood watch types.

6. Teak Wood

Teak has a beautiful light brown color that’s quite unisex. However, teak wood is somewhat difficult to source. That, in a way, makes it less eco-friendly. At the same time, it is very weather-resistant which can be great depending on the climate you live in.

7. Walnut Wood

This is among the most popular wood types for timepieces because of its rich and dark color, making for attractive, classy-looking watches. What’s more, walnut wood is also quite durable, which is always great for a good timepiece.

8. Zebrawood

zebrawood watch
Zebrawood watch with typical stripy pattern. See it here.

Zebrawood has a zebra-stripe appearance that makes it stand out from most other types of wood. It has a wavy or interlocked grain that looks beautiful to look at. It’s a difficult type of wood for designers to work with as the grain is hard and soft alternatingly, making it an unstable wood to work with. However, once crafted into a watch, it’s durable and stunning in appearance.

How Much Does a Wood Watch Cost?

Wooden watch prices vary a lot based on the brand, craftsmanship quality, wood type, and extra features. Cheaper wooden watches, ranging from $20 to $50, usually come from less famous brands. Their quality and durability might not be the best.

Mid-range wooden watches cost between $50 and $200. These are from better-known brands with higher quality craftsmanship. They might also have nicer designs or better mechanisms. The most expensive wooden watches, priced from $200 to over $500, offer the best craftsmanship.

They use high-quality, often sustainably sourced wood and may include luxury features like precious metals, stones, or advanced movements.

Digital Wood Watches

digital wood watch
Digital wood watch. See it here.

It may sound strange but yes – digital watches can be encased in a wooden body as well. It may be an unexpected combination and definitely one that’s sure to start a lot of conversation. The natural aesthetic of wood and the modern look of a digital clock face isn’t a combination that you see every day, making this a special type of watch.

However, from a mechanical standpoint, there’s nothing in a wood watch that prevents the mechanism of a digital watch from working properly. If the face of the digital watch and the color plus the design of the wood match well with one another, they can make for a special combination.

Engraving Your Wood Watch

Most wooden watches can be engraved, depending on your retailer and the specific design of the watch. This allows you to truly customize your watch and make it your own. This also makes a wood watch an excellent gift for a special person in your life.

In general, the engraving is done on the back of the wood watch, giving you a large surface area to have your special words imprinted. However, some designs allow you to have the engraving on the clock face or along the edge of the watch.

Note that you may not be able to return the watch if it’s been engraved, so choose carefully.

Wood Watches for Men and Women

Wood watches look stunning in both masculine and feminine designs and are a beautiful choice for anyone.

Wood watches for men and for women can be made from a large variety of wood types in a variety of different styles and designs. As with traditional watches, wood watches for women are generally smaller and lighter with narrow designs. Wood watches for men, on the other hand, are bigger and rounder.

Of course, these are just general guidelines but as with all things fashion, there really aren’t any rules nowadays.

Where to Buy Wood Watches

You’ll find many specialist wood watch stores on the internet, and these are great places to take your search. Always check whether the retailer is trustworthy and look into its track record. Customer reviews and returns policy are a must-check prior to purchase.

  • Amazon stands out for its user reviews and ratings, which help you understand the quality, durability, and look of the watches before you buy them. The site is known for quick shipping and easy return policies, making your purchase more convenient and secure.
  • Etsy, on the other hand, is great for unique, handmade wooden watches. Most of these watches are made by individual artists or small studios, so each one is special. These watches are more than just timekeepers; they’re like wearable art. Prices on Etsy can vary a lot, depending on how the watch is made and how unique it is.

Wrapping Up

Wooden watches are not just tools for telling time; they also make a fashion statement and show a commitment to being eco-friendly. You can choose from a wide range of options on Amazon or go for the unique, handmade watches on Etsy.

These watches stand out with their natural beauty and environmentally friendly features. They mix style with practicality, making them a great choice for anyone who cares about both fashion and the planet.

Nadi Alahakoon

Nadisha has been a fashion aficionado for as long as she can remember! From following the latest trends to checking out vintage styles, she’s always curious about what’s in and what’s out! She has a background in Nursing, literature, and English. When she’s not writing about jewelry and diamonds, Nadisha spends her time window shopping, dancing, or traveling the beautiful landscapes of Canada.

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