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Wear Weekly: Ottm to Bring Wooden Straps to Smartwatches

April 1, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Since Android Wear first launched in 2014, it quickly became the case that these smartwatches would look more like watches than gadgets. The Moto 360 made sure as much and devices like the Huawei Watch could fool a lot of people from a distance. Even so, these are devices that are packed with high-end components and more processing power than a smartphone from five years ago. We’re lucky enough, with Android Wear watches, to – mostly – be able to choose from a standard 22mm watch strap, which also means that we can choose whichever sort of material we want. Steel, leather, silicon and so on. One material you won’t see readily available in watch straps is wood. Ottm and a new Indie GoGo campaign aims to change all of that.

Ottm is a project that wants to bring three different hardwoods to our wrists; Maple, Sandalwood and Zebrawood. As you can see from the gallery below, these different hardwoods look great and the different grains in the wood all look lovely. It is a little strange – from someone who normally ties high-quality leather to his watches – to see wood used in such a fashion, but it’s so different that you can’t help but like this fresh approach. After all, it’s not everyday you can say that your watch band is made from real wood, is it?

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The design of the bands are essentially equivalent to metal watch bands, but the pieces are wood, instead of being metal and the clasp is similar as well. Each watch band will of course end up as its own piece, showing off different grains and taking on a different finish throughout the life time of the watch as it ages and takes on a different sort of sheen. What’s nice about this campaign is that for every pledge Ottm receive for their wooden bands, they’ll plant a tree in an American forest and all the wood will be sources from sustainable solutions and each band will be handmade.

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Right now, the Ottm campaign has only just got started but it managed to hit its target overnight, and those that already have pledged will be waiting until June before they get their bands, which isn’t too bad a timeframe compared to other crowdfunding projects. However, Wear Weekly readers have the opportunity to back the project and receive all three different bands – that’s Maple, Sandalwood and Zebrawood – for $89 as oppose to the standard $129. Readers can back the campaign with that secret pledge by clicking here and beware, there are only 50 of these available.

This is the sort of crowdfunding story that you hope becomes a successful product when all’s said and done, and after all the original Pebble was a Kickstarter success story a long time ago. Considering that it’s already hit its target on Indie GoGo, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Ottm’s wooden bands become a big success going forward. As we start to appreciate natural materials like wood and leather in smartphones and smartphone cases, it’s about time that we took the same approach with our smartwatches. As for favorites, I think the Sandalwood is more my style, but with our promo code, you can get all three to swap and change as much as you like.