Your Next Watch Should Be Made of Wood – Our Pick: Tense Square in Sandalwood

Take your timepiece back to nature with a beautifully crafted wooden watch.

Men don't have a lot of options when it comes to accessories. If you're not an earring, necklace, or bracelet man, there aren't many things to add to the uniform. Unfortunately, even within watches our options have been historically thin. Metal band, leather band, dohickies on the face, minimalist. There's been a trend of ceramic watches that provide a new outlet for colors, but I suspect the brightness they bring to a man's wrist won't last long.

Certainly, there are plenty of beautiful watches out there, but they're a little familiar. If you follow me on twitter (which you should @primermag) then you may have caught my  tweet about my longing of another recent surge: the wooden watch.

At face value, it seems somewhat like a silly idea. A watch made of wood. “Does that go down 100 meters?” I hear you chortle. But I make no apologies: There is something unique, classy, and masculine about wearing a timepiece made of fallen timber.

I opted for the Tense square watch in sandalwood.  The rich brown color offers a unique addition to getups ranging from casual to smart casual. It would look perfect with The Getups like Up and At ‘Em, A Full Saturday, or The Casual Office. This watch, beyond its looks is astonishingly light. If you're a guy who hates the recent trend of wearing bulky barbells as watches, you'll love this watch.

A square-faced watch is always a smart addition to your arsenal, the Tense being sharp even if it were made of traditional materials. With its wood construction it really takes it to the next level. Like swapping out your shoelaces or upgrading your socks, a wooden watch subtly adds a lot of personality.

Think about it: Do you think women AREN'T going to notice this on your wrist?

The best part of a wooden watch is that it becomes better with age and wear, developing a patina similar to a beautiful briefcase.

Tense has the history to back up their wares. Founded in 1971, they design and manufacture their watches in Canada. The bands are adjustable just like a metal strap, and it comes with a 2 year warranty. (Oh, and they are splash resistant.)

Buy the watch on Amazon for $161 or check out Tense's Website.

They also have a light faced version, and a dark faced version.

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • Robert

    Are these more prone to scratches and the like? I feel like they would show wear and tear quicker than a traditional watch.

    • Andrew

      Robert, I’ve been wearing it for about two weeks and haven’t noticed, but I would assume so. Part of the charm though. It’ll look pretty badass with some scars.

  • Joshua M

    You obviously like the feel of it on your wrist but didn’t mention anything specific about how the wood was on your skin and the durability of the wood is something I am interested in like Robert asked.

    • Andrew


      It’s light but feels solid. I’ve only had it for a bit, so I’m not sure how it will hold up longterm, but I have no reasons to suspect it won’t. Tense has been around for awhile, so they must last for a bit.

  • Jeff K

    I think this looks like the single coolest watch I have ever laid eyes upon. But, I must say on a side note Andrew that I feel the number of “spend” categories is starting to out number ways for people to save and invest. If this is to be a “self-development for the everyday 20-something man” online guide…well then I think spending simply needs to be scaled back. I know that I for one would be interested in more ways to tackle student loans from the infamous Sallie Mae herself, as well as information into how to start a company on a shoestring for example. I am not saying you don’t currently address these things nor am I saying I dislike articles about bad ass wooden watches, but you get the point.


    Jeff K

    • Andrew

      Jeff, Definitely check the archives via the dropdown menus above. Many of the things you described we’ve covered and are “evergreen” articles since they don’t change, I don’t publish another article on them. Unlike the Spend stuff, which there is naturally a lot of, and is always changing.

  • Ryan H

    I’ve been interested in a wooden watch for a long time. It’s definitely going to be my next watch purchase, unless I decide to try my hand at some woodworking and make one myself.

    Also, you may want to correct the “you’re / your” spelling mistake in the title!

    • Andrew

      Ryan, Thanks for the catch! I hate when that happens.

  • Jeff K


    Could I request that you write about this one watch again in say a month or so after heavy wear and tell us how it holds up? I can’t afford to buy every watch Primer recommends, but I am very interested to check out this one if it is durable in addition to being so classy!

    Jeff K

  • URKiddinMee

    I need to buy one of these for its future collector’s value. In 30 years, nobody will ever BELIEVE people actually wore these things!

  • Ricardo

    Sandalwood is extremely durable, I wouldnt worry too much about how long it will last. My father has a set of revolvers that have sandalwood grips which are nearly a century old, and they’re gorgeous.

  • Ricardo

    I disagree, few things age as nicely and stay in style the way wood does.

  • Jeff K

    “URKIDDINMEE” I would be surprised if this doesn’t catch on at least to some niche capacity. I could see many watch brands like Hublot, Tag Heuer etc. having just one model in wood.

    Jeff K

  • Soleful Strut


    I have no doubt that your father’s revolver grips are in fine condition. But unless your father is/was a gunslinger & they were worn daily in holsters, they are not going to see anywhere near the wear that a daily worn wristwatch will.

  • Jerry

    I like it!

  • Andrew

    Jeff, Not a bad idea.

  • Davidpapich

    Andrew, how is the ‘ticking?’ Louder or softer than the Timex Weekender? I feel as though a wooden watch could potentially amplify the sound. If it is not louder than the Weekender, I will probably buy this watch.

  • Kimberly Kay S

    I just bought this as an aniversary gift for my boyfriend, he liked the WEWOOD watches, and I found this brand. The style is alot more elegant, and its Canadian which will earn me points since hes from Canada

  • Ewing’s Fine Jewelry

    We started carrying this watch three years ago and it is our best seller. We were the first retail store in Oklahoma and the trend is exploding. This is not a every day watch but sure is a conversation starter.

  • Tim

    Not a dealbreaker for me but I noticed the watch has a glass face instead of crystal, something that should be standard on any watch north of $150. I’m still planning on buying one, but everyday wear is off the table.