Apple Watch too fancy? These wooden watches dial down the tech


Apple Watch
Eww, they're all shiny. Photo: Apple

We’re just weeks away from the Apple Watch’s launch, but maybe you’re not as excited about it as some of us are. It’s understandable; not everyone needs a $550 watch that offers many of the same capabilities your phone already does (albeit more conveniently).

If you’re in the market for a cool new watch and don’t need all the smart features and gadgetiness of Apple’s offering, here are a few less-shiny options you could check out. And they are, in fact, far less shiny than the Apple Watch. Because they’re made of wood.

The Carpenter Collection by Analog Watch Co.

It's basic but classic. Photo: Analog Watch Co.
It’s basic but classic. Photo: Analog Watch Co.

The appropriately named Analog Watch Co. offers its Carpenter series of watches in an assortment of materials, including teak and bamboo, silverheart and maple, and leather and blackwood. Despite the rustic materials, they aren’t devoid of the schmancies; each version has either silver or gold finishing.

Analog has eco-sense in mind; it uses off-cut wood, and plants one tree for every watch it sells. The company further claims its products are “over 80 percent biodegradable.” Those averse to animal products should know, however, that the loops on every version are made of leather even if the band isn’t.

The design on the Carpenter Series is maybe too basic. Despite its quartz movement and shiny plating, it looks a little bit like something you’d make out of a kit from Hobby Lobby. And it’s on the expensive side — they start at $149.99. So it’s kind of a hard sell.

Bamboo watches by bamb-u

The Bamb-u line has a lot more variety in its styles. Photo: Bamb-u
The Bamb-u line has a lot more variety. Left to right: Husky, Ambassador, Midnight, Nomad, and Navigator. Photo: Bamb-u

While bamb-u already has a line of bamboo sunglasses, it’s currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of a new line of timepieces.

As the name suggests, these watches and their bands are made of sustainably grown bamboo. They’ll also be available in different styles, unlike the Carpenters. The Husky looks good for people who like a bit of clunk in their watches, but fans of a more classic look can opt for the round Ambassador and Navigator styles or the squarish Midnight. I like the dual-dialed Nomad, personally; it looks cool without being overly flashy or cluttered.

The watches average about 50 grams in weight (that’s 1.76 ounces for Americans, Liberians and Burmans), which is what you’d expect to see in a device made of bamboo. They’re also a bit cheaper than the Carpenters, with a retail price of $160 Australian (about $126 American). And the Kickstarter has a couple pledge levels that let you reserve one for about half the retail price.

The Kupuna by AINA Jewelry

The Kupuna is made of beautiful koa wood. Photo: AINA Jewelry
The Kupuna is made of beautiful koa wood. Photo: AINA Jewelry

This classy number is the Kupuna watch, a timepiece currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

It’s made of Hawaiian koa wood, which the pitch video says is “traditionally used for voyaging canoes and even tikis, and in modern times, surfboards and ukuleles.” It’s a versatile material, to be sure, and it makes a really good-looking watch. Even the dial of this one is made of wood, and that’s a really nice touch.

The Kupuna starts at $160, but they send it in a cool-looking bamboo gift box. So you’ll have that, too.

WeWood timepieces

If you want too many options, WeWood has you covered. Photo: WeWood
If you want too many options, WeWood is there for you. Photo: WeWood

By now, you’re probably wondering where the super-granular customization choices are. Well, they’re at WeWood, a company that offers multiple case shapes and sizes, additional features like crystal accents, and seven different colors of wood. And if you can’t pick your favorite look, WeWood also offers bicolor watches to mix it up.

This is another company that plants trees for every unit it sells (in case that’s important to you), and its products also come in a much broader price range. Sale prices start as low as $55, and full-price watches top off at around $160. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, it’s worth going to the website just to click around and see all of the variety.

Plus, WeWood produces sunglasses made of cotton, and you probably want to go look at those, too.

Wood watches by Jord

Jord adds a lot of color and texture to its wares. Photo: Jord
Jord adds a lot of color and texture to its wares. Photo: Jord

Maybe you’ve made it all this way and thought, “Where is the upscale, high-priced Apple Watch of these wooden options?” Jord has you covered with its line of incredibly fancy, premium offerings. Their prices range from a relatively reasonable $120 to a whopping $295. And in addition to a wide range of woods and shapes, you can also pick from a variety of face styles including turquoise, rose gold and silver.

Some styles have open faces with exposed gears, and others maintain the classic wood look. These are among the fanciest of wooden watches, and Jord offers many really gorgeous options for the money.