OF all the materials used in the demanding world of watchmaking, wood is among the least-employed; it’s traditionally been featured only on small-batch, limited edition pieces. We’ll explore the reason for that paucity in an upcoming article.
Those who adore the understated appeal of wood – and the fact that each timepiece is truly unique – need not fret. The briskness of e-commerce has given life to plenty of microbrands that specialise in the material. Better yet, most offer mid-range options for your wrist. We take a look at some of the popular brands and models out there currently.
01: JORD – The Meridian Collection
Tickers from Jord are pretty much the go-to if you insist on automatic. Most other brands employ Japanese quartz movements which are much easier to work with. The links, lugs and case are reinforced by stainless steel where necessary but are otherwise wooden.
The dual exposed flywheeels are set inside a partially-guilloched metal dial, while a sapphire caseback let you peek into the innards of the watch. A power reserve indicator shows you how much juice you have left in the tank – going up to the maximum of 40 hours. Available at US$429 (~S$585), Black Palm limited to 300 pieces at US$615 (~S$835); prices before shipping.
02: Original Grain – Boston Red Sox World Series 44mm
Many of OG’s steel-and-wood pieces come with a bit of history. This specimen, for example, sports wood taken from retired chairs in the legendary Fenway Park – the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball history and home to the storied Boston Red Sox.
The designers also double down on ruggedness by using stonewashed metal, a technique more commonly employed in the textile industry; the surfaces are intentionally tumbled against stones, imparting inimitable cuts and lines. Beaut.
What’s more, the brand will see to it that a tree is planted for every watch sold, closing the circle of life nicely. Uses a Citizen quartz movement. Available for pre-order at US$595 (S$810) before shipping.
03: Skin and Grain Assorted Watches
Homegrown designers Skin and Grain produce clean and simple quartz pieces with wooden dials and casing and gold or silver roman numeral lettering.
The simplicity of the watches serves as a canvas for the detailed engravings that they specialise in – check out some of the possible designs here.
04: TreeHut – North Black Ebony Monochrome
The clean lines and relatively simple face of this muted watch makes it an elegant keeper, perfect for pairing with light shirts and dark shoes. The dial is made of ebony that’s grained so finely it resembles felt in pictures.
It’s got quite the plethora of functions for a quartz piece; chronograph, date display, 24-hour display, a seconds timer and a 30-minute timer, all packed into a 44mm frame. Available at S$332 before shipping.
05: WeWood – Albacore Collection
While the eco-conscious Wewood fields full wood watches as well, its minimalist Albacore range are the tidiest – and thinnest – among the whole lot. At just 7mm thick, the titanium case sits on either end of a patterned Flexwood band (a combination of canvas and wood). This makes them unobtrusive dress watches that are perfect for more formal events.
The same Flexwood strap is also available for Apple Watches. Available at US$250 (S$340).
PHOTOS: Respective brands.