Wood may seem a strange material from which to craft a watch. Okay, it is strange – barking, if you’ll allow us a terrible pun. There aren’t many luxury Swiss watchmakers polishing their woodwork skills to create the next big thing in horology.
But maybe, just maybe, the timber timepiece has been overlooked. After all, these days a number of start-up brands are offering some interesting designs.
And is it really that weird? Watches, Swiss or otherwise, are often housed in cases made from natural materials: the bronze trend from last year’s Baselworld, Hublot’s galvanised carbon. Even otherworldly metals like gold and platinum are dug out of the ground.
Wooden wristwear has form in men’s accessories, too. Tateossian is one brand that popularised the wooden bead phenomenon. And, let’s be honest: watches are just a complicated extension of standard men’s jewellery. So wooden timepieces aren’t really that odd, and there are differences from the traditional sort that can be a bonus too, says the Wooden Watch Company’s director, Sam Watts.
“Wooden watches are largely natural, and this is the greatest point of difference as they’ll age and weather over time, adding uniqueness and character.” Not unlike the gradual patina of a bronze watch or leather wallet. Watts also says that many wooden watches boast hand-carved components, adding a personal touch to every piece.
Sure, it might not be the craftsmanship seen in Le Locle, but it’s craftsmanship nonetheless – and usually at a fraction of the cost. That’s why we’ve put your assumptions on the chopping block with the best wooden watches you can buy right now, all listed below.
Wewood Unisex Assunt Watch
Wewood’s Assunt watch could, at a glance, be confused with any regular carbon or steel timepiece. Upon closer inspection however, this timber ticker is crafted from 100 per cent natural wood, emphasised by the subtle grains that run throughout.
Mam Originals Stainless Dark Watch
Mam is something of an anomaly: it creates wooden watches using responsibly sourced materials, but they look nothing like traditional wooden timepieces. What’s more, FSC certification means every purchase helps sustain social and economic projects for the countries of origin. Look good, do good.
Eclipse Wooden Watch
Sure, wooden watches may be incredibly different to their Swiss counterparts, but you can have best of both worlds. Eclipse’s iteration melds a light wood dial with a traditional silicone strap for a design that echoes a traditional sports watch without the unnecessary chronographs (and testosterone-fuelled marketing campaign).
Original Grain Ebony Matte Minimalist
As with any trend, jumping in with both feet can seem a terrifying prospect. Instead, dip a toe with Original Grain, which has created this slick minimalist watch with just a touch of wooden detailing to the bezel.
Tree Hut Stainless Steel Wood Watch
Hybrid watches don’t just end with dual-metal styles. While previous attempts to ‘traditionalise’ wooden watches have fallen flat, Tree Hut hit the sweet spot with a stainless steel bracelet and case that sits comfortably with real ebony wood inlays.
Core Maplewood 45mm
If G-Shock ushered in a plastic fantastic revolution, consider Core’s Maplewood a Greenpeace uprising. By switching a traditional shell for a natural material, this light wooden watch is all about clean lines and eco-friendly design.
Amexi Men’s Wooden Watch
Rather than pander to the classics, Amexi fully embraces the wooden approach. Its take on the trend incorporates various types of wood for a watch full of texture, earth tones and even functionality, boasting a date aperture at 3 o’clock and an extremely lightweight structure.
Jord Dover Series
Natural needn’t mean simple. Jord’s Dover watch features all the technicality of traditional blue chip designs – including a self-winding, automatic movement and skeleton dial – yet pulls it together in an unorthodox material that doesn’t cost the earth.