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Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

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April 2017


Made in Vancouver, Canada, Tense has been in business for more than four decades, making it one of the pioneers of the contemporary wooden wristwatch.

Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

Like we reported yesterday, wooden watches seem to be picking up in popularity these days. This operation, however, is not your typical start-up brand simply following the trend.

The story of Tense Wooden Watches begins with Ken P. Lau, who in in 1957 started to work as a professional clock designer. Since the beginning, Ken experimented with natural components like wood and stone. But 1968 he moved on to making wristwatches, and three years later he founded Tense Wooden Watches.

Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

Being around since 1971 makes this brand one of the pioneers in this sub-category of the watch industry. And today Ken brings nearly a half-century of watchmaking expertise to the company.

The name itself comes from the word “tense”, as in one moment in time in relation to another moment in time (as in: past tense, present tense). That all makes perfect sense. Except for those that might unfortunately associate the brand name with “tension” instead...

Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

This brand, however, seems to be anything but tense. For starters, they come from Canada. More specifically, Canada’s west coast, which is know for its chill vibe and beautiful scenery. Those characteristics are reflected in the watches as well.

In this case, the watches are made from 100% recycled or reclaimed wood, and are manufactured by hand in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The watches are powered by either Swiss Ronda or Japanese Miyota quartz movements, and they seem to offer something for everyone.

Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

For instance, the Vermont – part of the Hybrid Series – can be had for $360 CAD (270 Swiss francs, at the time of writing). Believe it or not, that’s on the more expensive side of their collection. The square face watch has a wood and metal case on a wood and metal band, hence the “hybrid” designation.

It is powered by a modest Ronda 6004D Swiss Movement and is protected by scratch resistant sapphire crystal and stainless steel with PVD coating, both nice additions at this price point.

Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

For the ladies, there’s the fashionable and affordable Delta. It costs only $230 CAD (164 Swiss francs) and is made from teak. The triangular face is paired with an elastic band with angular pieces of wood forming the bracelet. This model is powered by a Japanese Miyota quartz.

Most of their other watches, however, can be worn as unisex models. For instance, the Leather Hampton is a good option for either sex. It is made from genuine Italian leather and 100% recycled or reclaimed wood and costs only $180 CAD (135 Swiss francs).

Tense Wooden Watches from a very chill place

With a broad range and excellent price points, Tense Wooden Watches has done the Canadian watch industry proud.