Types of Wood Used for Wooden Watches

Watches are made from a variety of materials, including everything from platinum to bamboo. Why use wood to make watches instead of metal, then, when metal seems like the more durable, long-lasting option? While many popular watch companies do make stunning watches using metal, wood has its own benefits and characteristics that metal just can’t match. For one thing, each wooden watch is 100% unique, since it’s not manufactured and is instead harvested. If you’re seeking a watch that’s one-of-a-kind, then a wooden watch is definitely the accessory for you.

Not only that, wooden watches are the more eco-friendly choice. Plastic is a petroleum byproduct, so watches that contain plastic parts are contributing to our reliance on the fossil fuels that are constantly being depleted. Even metal watches cause major environmental damage in areas where the ores are mined. Heavy machines are used, creating more pollution in the air and destroying nearby ecosystems in hillsides and mountains. You might think deforestation causes the same issues as mining, and you’d be right. When done properly, however, cutting down trees isn’t a bad thing. Trees get old like we do, so clearing out the old or damaged ones allow the younger trees to flourish and grow stronger. Also, if the logging companies replant what they harvest, then wood is an extremely reliable and renewable resource. Metals and fossil fuels, on the other hand, are not.

Now that you’re convinced wood is a viable, and environmentally helpful, material to crafting watches from, let’s talk about the types that can be used. Woods can be broken down into two categories; hardwoods and softwoods. Softwoods, like pine, are trees that allow their seeds to fall straight to the ground, where they may take root or find a home elsewhere as they are blown about by the wind or moved by animals. Hardwoods, on the other hand, have a fruit that covers the seed, like an acorn from an oak tree or an apple from an apple tree. Softwood trees grow quicker and are cheaper than hardwoods, but hardwoods tend to have better grain patterns and more vibrant colors. Depending on how the wood is stained, the same type of wood can vary in color. Also, certain woods change color as they age, but as long as they are taken care of the tarnish can add even more of an individual flair.

bamboo wood

1: Bamboo

Although bamboo is technically a tree grass, many people believe it to be a type of wood. Bamboo is a strong, lightweight, and naturally water-resistant material that is perfect for crafting watches. It does shares a lot of characteristics with wood, despite being a grass, and the fast-growing nature of this plant makes it ideal for crafting, especially because it can be harvested often and does not cause environmental damage.

Color & Appearance

In terms of coloration, bamboo is a light, yellowish color, allowing it to retain different stains easily. Watchmakers can create different colors from the bamboo while retaining the strength and positive characteristics of the material.

Where it's found

Bamboo can be grown all over the world, but is most commonly found in parts of Asia and Australia.

Facts & Information

  • While it can take up to twenty years for certain bamboo trees to mature, bamboo shoots can grow to their full height within one season. If you let them grow for another year or two, they will only double in size. The quicker growth allows the cost of bamboo to be significantly less than other types of wood.
  • Since bamboo is a tree grass, it's actually a fiber type material. This fiber material allows for tremendous resistance to water, and also makes caring for the bamboo watch a lot easier than one made from an actual wood. These features along with the benefit of being so affordable makes bamboo a great option for a watch, especially if you are an active or outdoor person.

Check out our full line of bamboo watches

ebony wood

2: Ebony

Ebony is a dense, black hardwood. There are three species of ebony, which are Ceylon, Gabon and Makassar. Ebony trees usually grow in moist soil in tropical forests, and often at lower altitudes. Because the ebony tree is so popular, the number of trees in the wild has consistently decreased as a result of extensive harvesting from their natural habitats. The Gabon ebony, for example, is currently listed as endangered because it is so desirable. Ebony is a finely-textured wood, and has a very smooth finish when polished, making it valuable as an ornamental wood for ebony watches.

Color & Appearance

Ebony is a dark black color that can come from a few different species of trees in the genus diospyros. The bark of ebony trees is usually scaly and dark grey in color, and is often covered with moss and disease. Heartwood of an ebony tree is black or brownish in color and is most commonly used to craft black chess pieces, black piano keys, tool handles, and other luxury pieces. The grain of ebony is straight and generally tight. Due to the dark color of the wood, you cannot see the grain too much. If you are seeking a wood with more pattern to it, than ebony or heartwood may not be the option for you.

Where it's found

Ebony wood can be commonly found in India, Sri Lanka, Western Africa, and even Indonesia, depending on the exact species.

Facts & Information

  • Ebony trees can grow very tall. In fact, they can grow anywhere from 65-68 feet tall.
  • The fruit of the Gabon tree is used to make certain alcoholic beverages, beers, wines and spirits.
  • Humans aren't the only ones that love the ebony tree. Animals like elephants, giraffes, monkeys, and warthogs love to feed on the leaves and fruits.
  • The ebony tree is so extremely dense that it does not float like most other wood. If you were to place a piece of ebony wood in water, it would sink right away.
  • The bark of an ebony tree can be used as a source of dark blue pigment for painting cloth.
  • The ebony tree can live for hundreds and hundreds of years, and doesn't reach maturity until it's anywhere from 60-200 years old.
  • There are a large number of protection acts on this wood, which makes it hard to import it in certain areas. Due to all the protection and the time
  • required to grow new trees, ebony is generally only used for small things like wood watches.
  • Ebony is a nice wood to use for watches because it is one of a handful of woods that can provide such a rich, dark color.
  • Ebony wood also polishes extremely well, making it a great wood for a shiny, polished watch.

Check out our full line of ebony wood watches

sandalwood

3: Sandalwood

Color & Appearance

Although the reddish brown is the most sought after color of sandalwood, it can also be found in red, black/brown, green, and yellowish colors.

Where it's found

Different species of sandalwood can be found all around the world. Two common places sandalwood can be found are India and Sri Lanka.

Facts & Information

  • The oils that it produces have been said to have magical properties. The oil has been used for centuries in eastern medicine, cosmetics, and for religious purposes.
  • It is known around the world for its beautiful fragrance, and the fragrance is retained in the wood for decades after it’s harvested.
  • Due to the demand, sandalwood has been over-harvested, making it a more expensive wood to use for watches. It’s considered a luxury wood, so you will stand out when wearing a sandalwood watch.

Check out our full line of sandalwood watches

zebrawood

7: Zebrawood

Color & Appearance

Like the name implies, zebrawood has a rich grain that is stripe-like. The grain tends to be a dark black, while the surrounding wood is more of a light-brown or cream color that can merge into a more yellowish-brown.

Where it's found

Zebrawood is found solely in Africa.

Facts & Information

  • Zebrawood is a hard wood, and the grain can vary. Different trees have been given the name zebrawood, and some have tighter, more linear grain, while others have grain that is almost chaotic with its waviness.
  • Zebrawood isn’t nearly as pricey as ebony, but it is not on the cheap side either. It is a good middle-range price.
  • Zebrawood can be a little harder to work with due to its interlocking grain, but it is easier to work with than ebony because it is not as dense.
  • If you are seeking a watch that is unique, then zebrawood is the perfect choice. It has a high quality look without being extremely expensive, and you
  • can have a whole watch made from this material, including the band. The fact that it is a lighter color gives it a rustic look that rounds out any outfit.

Check out our full line of Zebrawood watches

maple wood

5: Maple

Color & Appearance

Since there are so many different kinds of maple you can get it in pretty much the whole range of colors. While the regular maple that most people are used to is a lighter whitish brown wood. Red maple can have the darker reddish brown that can be extremely desirable.

Where it's found

Maple is mostly found in North America and Europe.

Facts & Information

  • Maple has been used in woodworking for ages.
  • It is very affordable because it can grow so tall, as tall as 150 feet. These trees provide a lot of wood just by harvesting one tree.
  • There are also a lot of different species of maple. While all maple trees are hardwood, some are softer than others. The softer, less dense ones are easier to work with.
  • The grain of maple is generally not very noticeable like in zebrawood, but it is more visible than ebony. The grain is normally straight, but some species will have wavy grain.
  • Maple is a good middle of the road option. It can allow you to get an attractive color at a cheaper price, and it can provide you with a unique watch with a noticeable grain.
  • Due to how easily maple can mimic other woods, it is a great wood for making watches out of.

Check out our full line of maple wood watches

6: Teak

Color & Appearance

Teak is in the brownish-gray color group, with a moderately noticeable straight grain.

Where it's found

It is normally sourced from India and surrounding Asian regions.

Facts & Information

  • On occasion, the grain can be wavy.
  • Despite its wide availability, teak can be on the expensive side. This is normally only for large pieces, however. Since watches don’t require large planks, using teak does not cause the price to jump by too much.
  • Teak is easily workable and has great durability and resistance to rot.
  • Check out our full line of teak wood watches

    7: Pui

    Color & Appearance

    Pui is generally yellowish in color and has a straight grain that isn’t super distinct.

    Facts & Information

    • Pui trees grow well over one hundred feet, so each one provides a lot of wood, keeping the cost down.
    • If you want a wood option that is easy to work with like teak, but not as expensive, than pui is the way to go.
    • Check out our full line of pui wood watches

      Wood watches provide a lot of variation from standard metal watches. Each wood watch that is made is unique because even the same type of wood can vary in certain qualities. The quality variation can be seen in the:

      • Grain pattern (straight or wavy)
      • Noticeability of the grain (light or distinct)
      • Color of the wood

      These differences can make your wood watch stand out from the others. If you want your watch to stand out even more you can have mixes of types of woods, or woods of the same type stained differently. You can mix and match differently providing unlimited options. Wood watches have a craftsmanship that metal watches lack. Since the wood has to be carved, which is normally done by hand, the watch stands out and has an individualistic quality. Even if a cheaper wood is used, a wood watch still acts as a bold, stylish statement piece. No matter your price range or taste, there is a wood option that will be perfect for you, your personality, and your needs.