Kevin van der Veer, Daniel Salimian, and Jeroen Westerbeek met when they were students at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Jeroen and Daniel studied Econometrics and Operations Research and Kevin studied Business and Marketing intelligence. Wooden sunglasses were popular and the three friends came up with the idea of making wooden watches for a living.

WoodWatch Founders
WoodWatch Founders

“On Pinterest, we discovered a watch made of wood. We thought: hey, how cool!” remembers Daniel. “With side jobs, we scraped together 7,000 euros and set up WoodWatch in 2013. We packed the first watch ourselves in folding cardboard in a garage. We took the shipping packages to the post office by bicycle. That was ten years ago. We are all now twenty-nine, and wooden watches have become timely.”

Planned obsolescence is lessening. Waste is being managed and reduced. Zero Waste timelines are being set and compassionate corporate responsibility pledges are being made and honored. Greenwashing notwithstanding, sustainability in fashion is no longer a buzzword. It has become an imperative. 

Legacy X Edition City – 44mm Woodwatch

Ethics are as important as aesthetics. The world’s well-known and not-so-well-known watchmakers are trying to make the Earth a better place.

Chopard has used fair-mined gold since 2018. Its Alpine Eagle watch uses 70% stainless steel. Baume avoids problematic animal products and other top brands, such as Seiko and Hublot, are all doing their bit. Many watching-making companies now support conservation. Oris supports Florida’s Coral Forest, and Cleaning Up of South Korea’s Hangong River. Carl F. Bucherer supports Manta Rays.

Legacy X Edition Ocean Woodwatch

As well as using materials like hemp and cork, many companies such as Canada’s Solios are also embracing solar power. Two hours of sunlight can charge a watch for up to six months. The watches are charged by artificial light too. Every year three hundred million disposable batteries end up in landfill sites.

Many watchmakers are working with repurposed ocean plastic litter. Each Maurice Lacroix AIKON # Tide Swiss wristwatch is made from seven plastic bottles.

Rotterdam-based Wood Watch has just released its Legacy X Collection made from ebony and tigerwood to add to its best-selling men’s walnut Mariner and ladies’ Kosso Ocean LightsThey plant a tree for every watch sold. On the back of each watch, the customer will find the coordinates where the tree will be planted. says CEO Jeroen, “We work with Trees for the Future. They plant fruit trees in different areas of the planet which is not only great to make the planet greener but also to help families with food and resources.”

Mariner Classic – 40mm Woodwatch

Sustainable watches are not new. It began with straps. The British firm, Votch, uses apple skin and pineapple leaves. Some straps are made out of cactus leather. Watches have been made out of car parts and recycled boat propellers. REC makes them from the old motorcycle and Spitfire parts. The Danish firm made a limited edition watch collection out of the Triumph motorcycle driven and jumped by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

Other modern watchmakers use bio-ceramics, military ammunition boxes, bourbon and beer barrels, and even unwanted sports stadium seats. Stockholm’s TRIWA (Transforming The Identity of Wristwatches) employs a Humanium meal made from deconstructed illegal firearms from El Salvador. It has just launched its new TRIWA x SSAB, the world’s first fossil-free stainless steel wristwatch. Nordgreen uses conflict-free stainless steel and Jord wood with sustainable sapphire. Ksana repurposes its silicone straps into solar panels.

Farbound Dark – 44mm Woodwatch

Wood watches are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and resistant to wear and tear. They are hypoallergenic. Metal watches can cause skin irritation if exposed to extremely hot temperatures for a long time. 

That’s not the case with wooden watches. They’re breathable. Your watch is more than just a functional accessory. It reflects your style and values. When it comes to choosing between wooden and metal watches, ultimately it depends on an individual’s style and preference. However, there is something special about wooden watches that makes them stand out. Wearing wood is a way to connect with nature, pairing the beauty of the natural wood with the brilliant engineering of the watch movements. A purpose-driven accessory serves as a reminder of the importance of sustainable practices, and with wooden watches you not only make a fashion statement but also a clear statement about stopping climate change.

Times are changing. Once, we looked at our watches to check the time. Now, it is to check that its strap materials are free from PVC and phthalates and pass CAL 01350, have low VOC emissions, have no added antimicrobial chemicals, are PFC-Free, and contain no flame retardants, bromine, or heavy metals; and our wrists are green and our wristwear is planet-friendly and earth-conscious.

It is important to know how much time we have left.