All about wooden watches and all manufacturers!

wooden watch on wrist of man

Introduction

Did you know there’s more than plastic, steel, or resin watches? There are also watches made of wood! This post gives you everything you need to know about wooden watches. At the end of it, you’ll find a list of the 21 best wooden watch manufacturers. Very handy if you’re in the market for a wooden watch but don’t know where to buy! There are about 14 million wooden watch manufacturers on Google alone; you know…..(pun intended). 

Let’s say there are so many that it can be hard to decide where to buy.

I currently don’t own a wooden watch so this is not a real-world watch review. It’s more of a collection of all information that I could find on the web about wooden watches, condensed into one blog post for your convenience. 

Someday I will buy a wooden watch and do a proper review. I the meantime, I hope you’ll find this article useful! Let’s get started!  

What wood do they use to make wooden watches?

Wooden watches are made of tropical hardwood to ensure they are sturdy and ready for everyday use. 

The advantage of hardwood is that it has a higher density than softwood (i.e., cider, pine, or spruce). 

That is because hardwood trees grow slower than softwood trees, which gives them more time to build up density. This increased density makes the wood harder and more robust and perfect for making watches. It’s no wonder that watch manufacturers use hardwood. Some use eco hardwood, but I also found manufacturers that use reclaimed hardwood. 

Some hardwoods (like Koa) are also excellent for polishing. 

I checked several manufacturers’ websites and found that the most used hardwoods for wooden watches are: 

  • Leadwood: from bushwillow trees found in southern Africa. A very tough wood. 
  • Olive: This wood is dense and durable and comes from the olive tree, found in countries around the Mediterranean sea. 
  • Acacia Koa. This wood comes from Hawai. It is known for its beautiful grain pattern and absorbance to shocks, making it an excellent raw material for wooden watches. 
  • Padauk: this is African lumber wood. It is relatively hard and has a reddish color. 
  • Walnut. This wood has a beautiful grain and is perfect for polishing (like Koa). 
  • Mahogany. This wood comes from the mahogany tree found in the tropical Americas. It has a beautiful dark reddish-brown color. 
  • Zebrawood: a coarse-grained African wood with characteristic zebra stripe pattern. 
  • Sandalwood: robust, close-grained, and long-lasting. 

With so many different options, what is the best wood for a wooden watch? 

Honestly, there is no such thing as “best” wood. All woods listed here are perfect for making wooden watches, so it comes down to what style and looks you prefer. The best wood is what you like best. 

Of course, there are differences in the movements, finishing, and decorations (more on that later), but mostly, the hardwoods are the same for all manufacturers that I checked.  

Are wooden watches durable?

For what they are, they are relatively robust but don’t expect stainless-steel or G-Shock (link to durability test on Youtube here) durability from a wooden watch. Wood is an organic material that is sensitive to the elements. Therefore you shouldn’t expose your watch to water or UV rays. However, if you treat your wooden watch well, it should last a very long time. I see no reason why a wooden watch wouldn’t last just as long as a “normal” watch if you take good care of it.  

Movements 

I found that most manufacturers use Japanese quartz movements from Citizen Miyota (link to Miyota website here). These movements are very reliable and will give you a long service life. For example, Jord wood watches (link here) uses the CITIZEN MIYOTA GL20, 0S10/0S1A, GP11, 2015, and 2035 movements. Another manufacturer, Holzkern, uses Miyota and Epson movements. Epson movements are rebranded Seiko movements. 

If you buy a wooden watch with a quartz movement, you can be sure that it has an excellent quality quartz movement onboard. Regardless of the brand of the watch. Japanese quartz technology is the best in the world.  

What about automatic movements? 

When it comes to automatic movements, things are a bit different. Most manufacturers use lower end Seagull movements from China. These are considered run-of-the-mill movements by watch connoisseurs and are OK, but nothing special. That’s at least the consensus that I found on some forums like this one (link to watchusseek.com forum). 

That’s not to say that these movements are bad. 

They do their job, and if you don’t mind losing a few seconds accuracy every day, there are no issues. Be aware, though, that wooden watches with automatic movements are more expensive than watches with quartz-powered movements. 

Wooden watch Sizes 

Ahh.. the sizes. Unfortunately, we are in pancake territory when it comes to sizes. Most of the wooden watches that I found (especially those for men) are just HUGE! Almost all watches are 40 mm or more prominent, some of them even 46 mm like this one (link to Burnham website). 

Since this blog is about watches of 38 mm or less, you can imagine how I feel about those huge monsters! 

Whoever invented those big size watches should be sent to the watch purgatory immediately. Once there, the watch gods (who happily sport their 36 mm vintage Rolex Datejusts for all sinners to observe), will try them.

Wooden watches materials used 

Glass: most wooden watch manufacturers use mineral glass or (coated) Saphire on the higher-priced models. Nothing surprising here, this is what you’d find on regular watches as well. 

Watch decoration:  I found that some manufacturers use gemstones like Sodalite. Others use marble. Still, others use a combination of marble and stainless steel (be sure to check my list of 21 manufacturers of wooden watches for all details and links to models). 

Wooden watches are fashion watches 

The combination of mass-produced movements and relatively cheap decorative materials tell me that most wooden watches are fashion watches, catered at a fashion-sensitive audience. These are not watches intended for a lifetime of dependable service, but that’s OK. 

Can you swim with a wooden watch? 

Unfortunately, wooden watches are not suited for swimming. They should not even come into contact with water, as it will cause the wood to swell. Therefore no swimming, no showers and no exposure to rain. 

Be sure to keep your watch dry at all times to prevent ruining it forever. 

Are there any wooden watches made in the USA? 

I found the below manufacturers of wooden watches headquartered in the USA. 

Does that mean that their watches are 100% made in the USA? Probably not. Many manufacturers use imported materials from the far East or use production plants in China and Hong Kong. It could be that (some) assembly is done in the USA, though. The websites that I visited weren’t self-explanatory on that. 

The exception is Treehut (link here). Their watches are said to be handmade in San Francisco, CA. 

List of wooden watch manufacturers headquartered in the USA

For more manufacturers, please see my full list of 21 wooden watch manufacturers at the end of this article. 

Are wooden watches from China reliable? 

Well, as with many mass-produced items from China, quality can be hit and miss. It’s impossible to make any general statement about the quality of wooden watches from China. 

The best way to find out is to buy one and judge for yourself. 

By the way, a quick search for the term “wooden watch” on Aliexpress.com gave me 613,215 hits, with most watches costing between US$ 19 – US$ 40. 

Some models on there looked very similar to the models from other manufacturers, which confirms my belief that many American and European brands are white-label. The exception again being Treehut. 

Well, as with many mass-produced items from China, quality can be hit and miss. It’s impossible to make any general statement about the quality of wooden watches from China. 

What are the best wooden watches?

That’s impossible to say because I don’t know what your definition of “best” is. If I had to buy a wooden watch today, I would probably buy a Treehut or a Holzkern (link to the Holzkern website here). 

Why?

Simply because their watches are manufactured by hand in, respectively, the USA and Austria. What I also liked about Holzkern is that they donate €1 for every watch sold in reforestation projects in Nicaragua or toward the employment of people with reduced physical, sensory, or mental capabilities. 

Holzkern watches price

So what does a Holzkern watch cost? Prices range from US$100 – US$400, depending on features and movement. They are more expensive than some of the other brands that I found, but they look very well made. 

Engraved wooden watches  

Looking for an engraved wooden watch as a gift for your husband or wife? A wooden watch makes a lovely gift, in my opinion. Almost all the companies that I found will engrave their watches for you. Please check my list of 21 best wooden watch companies to find out more! 

Where can I buy a wooden watch? 21 best wooden watch companies

Here’s a comprehensive list of all wooden watch manufacturers that I could find on the web. May it serve you well when you’re shopping online for a wood watch! 

Name Country Website Custom engraving available?
HolzkernAustria www.holzkern.comNo
TreehutUSA www.treehut.coYes
Woodwatch The Netherlands www.woodwatch.comYes
Truwood USA www.mytruwood.comYes
We-Wood Italy www.we-wood.comYes
Original GrainUSA www.originalgrain.comNo
Plantwear Poland www.plantwear.comNo
BobobirdChina www.bobobird.comYes
Wooden Watches ClubUnknownwww.woodenwatchesclub.comNo
Kerbholz Germanywww.kerbholz.comNo

Conclusion

You can buy a wooden watch almost anywhere online these days. It looks like there are plenty of wooden watch companies, but It’s difficult to find out where they manufacture their watches. I assume that, unless their websites state differently, most of the wooden watches I found are white-label, produced in the far East. Nothing wrong with that, but for me, I guess a wooden watch is not my cup of tea. 

Leon

I'm Leon. I write articles about small watches (usually 38 mm or less in diameter) because I like them. They look stylish and classy to me. Most of the watches on the market today are 40 mm or more, which I think is too big. This blog was born out of curiosity when I was shopping for a small watch myself and couldn't find the info that I needed.

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