Hands-On Holzkern Chicago Watch Review
Hey everyone, today I’m going to be taking a look at a beautiful timepiece from Holzkern. I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to review one of their automatic wood and marble watches. If you’d like to purchase this timepiece, you can find it here on their website Holzkern.com for €349.00. Use code “TheWatchBlog5” for 5% off.
I came across Holzkern whilst searching online for watches and was instantly intrigued by their designs and use of materials. Holzkern focus on watches made with natural materials, they have a huge range of stunning stone & wooden watches and bracelets on their website, these are available in designs for both men and women.
Holzkern as a company are relatively young and based in Austria, they work in partnership with experienced manufacturers to bring you unique looking timepieces with their use of raw and natural materials.
Holzkern have chosen the annual growth rings of a tree as their logo. This represents their appreciation for quality time and the splendour of nature.
One aspect I really liked about Holzkern is the fact that for every watch sold, €1 goes towards various projects to help people and the environment:
“We donate €1 for every watch sold in reforestation projects in Nicaragua or toward the employment of people with reduced physical, sensory, or mental capabilities. This arrangement establishes our stable contribution to projects in climate protection, social support, and environment sustainability.”
You can find out more about Holzkern on their ‘our roots’ page.
The Holzkern Chicago Walnut & Marble Watch
Today I’m specifically taking a look at a watch from Holzkern’s skyline collection. The Chicago is an automatic watch made with a combination of walnut, stainless steel and marble. Holzkern’s use of marble within their watches was what originally drew me to the brand.
The dial features silver coloured hour and minute hands that sit on top of a genuine grey marble dial. As the dial is made of a natural material, everyone is unique. I haven’t seen many men’s watches make use of marble dials so I find this to be a really interesting part of the watch design.
The seconds are located on a separate sub-dial just next to an exhibition window that lets you peer into the inner workings of the timepiece where you can view the balance wheel working away.
Watch Case & Sizing
The casing is made of stainless steel in a gunmetal finish with a walnut bezel that works very well together. The size of the casing is 42mm in diameter, this is a popular size for men’s watches right now and something I’m personally very happy with as it’s ideal for me.
This type of casing features an exhibition-style caseback, this allows you to see right through to the automatic movement that’s powering the watch. I love this feature on watches. You can also see the words ‘naturally unique’ engraved onto the metal.
I think the design of the crown is pretty neat, it features the Holzkern logo and just feels really nice to operate, this is something I’ve come to appreciate a lot in quality watches over the years.
This automatic movement typically has a 30-40 hour power reserve when fully wound. Automatic watches don’t require a battery and are generally seen as a higher quality option than a quartz.
When you first wear an automatic watch you’ll need to fully wind it, this requires you to pull the crown out and turn it clockwise up to 40 times, or until you feel a slight resistance. After this, the movement of your wrist throughout the day will keep the watch ticking along.
The movement has kept great time over the period of my review. If you take the watch off and leave it for a day or two you may find it will run out of charge, this is completely normal for automatic watches. You’ll simply need to do the initial wind up again and set your watch before going again.
Personally, I tend to keep the automatic watches I use most often within a watch winder when I’m not wearing them. A watch winder periodically rotates the watch for you, keeping the movement fully wound. Here you can see the Holzkern Chicago automatic kept within a wooden Barrington watches single automatic winder overnight.
Protecting the front and rear of the watch is a mineral crystal style glass. Mineral crystal is specially hardened to offer a better level of scratch and shatter resistance. This is typically found in watches in this price range and exactly what I expected to see so I’m pleased with that.
Strap & Clasp
The strap is made with a combination of natural walnut and brushed stainless steel in a gunmetal finish. The width of this strap is 22mm which is ideal considering the size of the casing. It fastens with a push release clasp, this is actually one of my preferred claps as I find them to be easier to operate for most people.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve been wearing this watch and have found the strap to be extra comfortable. Something I’m always a bit wary of is hairs getting caught within the links of a watch strap, for anyone else who has ever suffered from this, you’ll be pleased to hear I had zero issues, perhaps this is due to the addition of wooden links.
The strap size is easy to adjust, you’ll receive extra links with the watch and the tools required to make the alteration. Personally, I had to take out one link, this was a 2-minute job and was honestly no trouble at all. Holzkern even provides an excellent slideshow on how to do this on their FAQ page.
Water Resistance Rating
Ideally, you don’t want your wooden watch getting wet. Here is Holzkern’s own recommendation:
“A few splashes of water from washing the dishes shouldn’t be a problem for our watches. However, we advise that you prevent your wood watch from coming into contact with water in general. Please take off your watch when you take a shower, a bath, wash your hands, go swimming, wash your car, wash your dog, run through a sprinkler, engage in a water-balloon fight, etc.”
I don’t often talk about the packaging when it comes to a watch review but I was actually so pleased with what they’ve done in this instance that I wanted to show it off.
The watch arrived in this beautiful little wooden box that flips open to reveal the timepiece. The box features the Holzkern logo as well as the words ‘naturally unique’ again.
In the box you’ll find two wooden notes, one is a 24-month guarantee card, the other is a certificate of authentication. I thought this was a really nice added extra detail.
There’s also four extra links included with the tools for altering the strap included. I actually made use of these as I needed to remove one link for the watch to fit me.
Below I’ve listed some of the important specifications for the Holzern Chicago watch (for those of you who are skim reading).
- 42mm diameter
- Automatic self-winding movement by Citizen
- Natural marble dial
- Mineral crystal glass
- Walnut Accents
- Exhibition caseback and keyhole on the dial
- Easy to adjust strap
It’s obvious to me that great care and attention has gone into the design of this watch. I love this use of natural materials and the way the marble dial ensures you’re going to have a unique looking watch.
Just wearing this timepiece over the last two weeks has been a great experience, I love the feel of the wooden strap on my wrist and the overall weight of the watch is ideal for me.
It’s the little things in the design of the timepiece that I’ve really come to admire, like the keyhole on the dial that lets you see through to the inner workings of the watch, and the feel of the crown when I wind up the automatic movement.
Overall I’d highly recommend going for this watch or any other from Holzkern, I feel like value for money is definitely there and you certainly don’t see many watches like these, so if you’re after something very unique then Holzkern is the way to go.
Take a look at the full range of wood watches and don’t forget to use the corn “TheWatchBlog5” at checkout for 5% off.
More From Holzken
Holzkern have an incredible selection of watches available that make use of a whole range of different types of wood, I couldn’t end the review without featuring a few of these.