History of Wrist Watches & Wooden Watches

    Watches have been around in some way or another for centuries at this point. Ever since man made time, so everyone could be on a uniform scale to get work done, they needed a way to keep track of it. First they used sundials, and then as technology advanced they eventually started making large clocks. People wanted an easier way to tell time though that was more convenient. This is what drove the demand for watches to be made. The big hold back in the begging was getting the parts small enough and fine-tuned enough that the watch would work in a consistent manner. It is debated on when they finally accomplished this goal, but most would agree that the first watch was made between 1485 and the early 1500s.

     Today’s mechanical watches work pretty much the same as these early watches. The only difference now is that most of today’s watches are automatic. This simply means that the main spring in the watch is wound automatically thru the process of wearing the watch, instead of it having to be wound by hand in the old watch. The main spring is the engine for the watch and is what causes the gears to spin. As the main spring winds down it moves the hair spring which transfers the force into the balance wheel. The balance wheel is the part of the watch that you see moving back and forth if you have ever seen the inside of a mechanical watch. The balance wheels vibration is what moves the seconds gear ever so slightly. This keeps track of each passing second. The gear for the seconds touch a slightly larger wheel that is for the minutes. For every sixty movements of the seconds gear you get one full rotation of the minutes gear. This is probably self-explanatory because there are sixty seconds in a minute. This same process is used with the minute gear and hour gear. The hands of the watch are connected to these gears, and each movement of the gears also moves the heads on the watch.


      Now you want to insure that the watch stays reading the right time, and to do this watch makers used jewels to help minimize friction. The jewels were generally literally jewels and made from little bits of ruby or other stone. As time progressed however they were able to start making synthetic jewels. Preventing friction is important because it stops heat from building up, which could damage the parts, also so that they move in the exact same distant on every turn. Over time it became possible to make the parts inside the watch smaller, and we were able to move from pocket watches to tiny wrist watches. The invention of the wrist watch was an important step because it allowed for a lot more convenience. No longer did you have to carry a heavy watch in your pocket, but know you could wear it on your wrist, and even make a style statement.


      In the past watches were generally always made of metal, and if you were wealthy you could even get some made of gold. Then when plastic came about watches began to be made cheaper and cheaper. The invention of digital watches has also had an effect on cheaper watches, but recently people have been wanting to get back to a quality watch that they can be proud to wear. History has showed that some nobility had wood watches in as early as 1600, but using wood was for the wealthy and precious metals began to overtake that. Within the past couple of decades though starting in the 1990’s or so, there has been a resurgence in using wood for watches. People wanted a material that brought class and style back to watches. Now that people have cell phones, wearing a watch has become a lot less common. It is almost like we are back to the pocket watch days, where our phone is the pocket watch. The movement has also been driven by many factors. One advantage of using wood over plastic, is it is a lot friendlier on the environment. Plastic is a byproduct of petroleum and with the concern of our oil supplies running out, we know we need to get away from relying on it for everything. Wood is a renewable resource, so if the watch makers are responsible, and replant the trees that they cut down to make watches, we will have an unlimited supply to use.
 

     Using wood for watches also provides for another benefit. With so many types of wood, variety of colors and different grains make for a unique watch every time. No two wood watches are exactly the same. Due to the nature of wood and its grain one watch will have a different pattern than another. You can also use more than one type of wood to add different color accents to the watch, and use different stains on the same type of wood to get the same accent effect. Due to the different quality of woods, wooden watches can be made from different types of wood depending on what qualities are needed.


      A cheaper wood is pine, and also included in this group is birch. These woods are easily obtained and therefore are relatively cheap, so if you want to make a budget friendly watch it is a good choice. It is generally yellow or whitish with brown knots, and one of the best qualities about these woods is they resist shrinking. This is important when it comes to a watch because you don’t want the band to shrink and crack. A downside to these family of woods is they are a soft wood. This means that it is easy to dent or scratch it, so if you are an active person than you may want to consider a hard wood option. Pine normally gives a nice rustic feel, and develops a nice patina over time. This means it would go good with a plaid button shirt and a pair of jeans. It is just a nice simple look that isn’t to flashy, but still it won’t go out of style.


      Another wood that wooden watches can be made out of is cherry. Cherry is a hard wood and is more expensive. Normally cherry is reddish brown, like the name would indicate, but it can also come in lighter colors, and can even be as light as blonde. Some other benefits to cherry is it is easily shaped, and can even be carved pretty easily. This means you can have different depths in the band. Since cherry is a more expensive wood, a watch made from it tends to give off a more classy feel. It would be a great watch for a business man or to wear on a night out. Wear it with a dark neutral color so it can stand out, and be a statement piece. One downside with cherry is it can darken over time.


      If you want the same look as cherry, but not the cost, than a wooded watch made of maple would be great. Maple is a creamy white, but can stain to the reds of cherry. It is also ultra-durable, so if you are active than oak may be a good wood for your wooden watch. Oak is the same way in the durability department as maple, but oak has a very distinctive grain. If you want a watch that will be unique then oak is the wood for you. Also oak comes in red and white, so you can get one of pretty much any color. 


      You can get other more luxury woods for your wooden watches, but they will cost a premium. The premium may be worth it though because your watch would be extra unique and give a great impression to anyone who sees it. Speaking of making an impression you got to dress right to make yourself look good. The great thing about wooden watches is they can be dressed up or down. Like has been mentioned a button shirt and some jeans or kakis make a great look with your wooden watch. Just be sure to pick a color that won’t clash with the watch, so if the watch is a reddish color a red shirt by not be the best choice. If you need to be fancier than a button shirt you can throw on a suit and your wooden watch will help you stand out of the crowd because it is unique and different. If you are feeling casual though a fitted shirt and some jeans or even some trendy athletic wear will still look good.


      Another advantage to a wooden watch, is as long as it is all wood you should not really have an allergy to it. Unlike metal watches that can have nickel or copper, which some people have skin reactions to. A wooden watch normally doesn’t cause this problem. Due to the fact that it is wood though some different care measures need to be considered. First unlike metal watches, you should really try to keep your wooden watch dry. These days most of the wooden watches are treated to try to prevent damage from moister, but water is a natural enemy to wood. If wood gets wet constantly than it could eventually start to deteriorate, and you don’t want that. Also, if you get your wooden watch wet it may affect the color and lead to darkening of the wood. This could make the watch look bad or make the grain of the wood stand out to much.


      Something else that can affect wood is rapid temperature change. Shifts in temperature can lead to the wood  cracking. This is because wood does have some moisture in it, and when water freezes, it expands. The expansion and contraction of the moisture in the wood can lead to damage of the wood, and eventually lead to cracking. This means if you live in an area where it is cold, you want to take care to not allow the watch to get cold when going indoors and outdoors. If it is the winter and you know you are going to be outside for a while you might not want to wear your wooden watch that day. Also, you want to store your watch in an area where it won’t be subject to rapid temperature changes. Leaving your watch in the car is not a good idea.


      Humidity also plays an effect on the wood. Like the temperature change too much humidity can lead to swelling, and not enough can lead to shrinking. The wood wants to stay in a balanced state. From day to day use this shouldn’t really affect much. You can’t be scared to wear your wood watch after all, but you need to remember this when it comes time to store the watch. It is best to store the watch in the original box or in a jewelry box if you can. This box should be keep in your home and in the main living area. Your bed room is fine, but it is just something to remember, so your wooden watch will last for as long as possible.


      One last thing to ensure your watch lasting for many years is cleaning it. The wood will build up oils and residue from you wearing it. This can affect the color of the stain. To prevent damage and darkening, it is important to treat the wood with Tung Oil or Lemon Oil. All you have to do is put a little oil on a cloth and rub it onto the watch. This helps recondition the wood making sure no oils are on it, and it also provides wood with the moisture it needs for an extra measure to prevent cracking.


      Watches have been around for centuries, but now they are finally coming back in style as a statement piece, instead of just a convenience piece. The days of cheap plastic watches have passed, and now if you are wearing a watch you want people to notice. Wooden watches are a great choice because you can get them made of different woods allowing for all kinds of styles. The different colors and patterns that wooden watch are capable of proving are top notch, and also every wooden watch is unique. On top of that wooden watches have a quality and craftsmanship to them, which standard metal or plastic watches don’t have. On top of that as long as you take care of your wooden watch properly, it will provide you with accurate time for years to come.