IWC Gisele Bundchen

These Watches Are Doing More For The Planet

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Looking to make an eco-conscious effort with your next purchase? Read on for our guide to the best sustainable watches out there. Chop chop, the clock is ticking…

The Luxury List: Sustainable Series

The Best Sustainable Watches Giving Back to the Planet

Lots of brands may talk the talk when it comes to sustainability, but do they walk the walk? The watch world in particular has been slow to get on the eco train. In last year’s edition of Watches & Jewellery 2021 we reported on the brands tackling environmental issues through ocean conservation and sustainable working practices. A year on, though, and things have improved again, with big names like IWC, Chanel, Breitling and Panerai all releasing sustainability reports to assess their carbon footprints and plan for a greener future.

IWC’s report included a foreword by its new Environmental and Community Projects Advisor, the supermodel and environmentalist Gisele Bündchen. ‘My own journey began in 2004, during a trip to the Amazon, where I saw up close the impact of deforestation and pollution on the health and lives of indigenous tribes,’ she writes. ‘I knew I had to do something. Since then, I’ve used my platform to call attention to the protection of nature and native communities.’ Gisele will be working with IWC on identifying biodiversity and community initiatives worldwide to support, two areas that were identified in its 2022 report.

Oris, which was certified carbon neutral in 2021, also has a more 360-degree attitude to its eco-efforts. ‘Sustainability is more than a mission statement for us,’ explains the brand’s Corporate Sustainability Ambassador Sven Mostögl. ‘It’s an attitude that influences what we do internally and externally, every day and everywhere.’ The brand spotlights environmental initiatives around the world, like Plastic Bank, which works to prevent plastic entering the ocean. Its new limited edition model, the Oris Aquis New York Harbor in olive green, supports the Billion Oyster Project, an ambitious non-profit aiming to restore one billion oysters to New York harbour.

Also in the ocean conservation arena, Panerai has recently partnered with UNESCO to launch the Ocean Conservation Initiative, working with 100 universities around the world to educate students about ocean protection and plastic pollution, and encourage them to take action. It recently developed eSteel, made from pre-consumer recycled scraps. Another brand looking at the footprint of its raw materials is Breitling, which has committed to only using Swiss Better gold (improving conditions in smallscale gold mining communities). By 2025 it plans to use only renewable energy across all its touchpoints and lab-grown diamonds in its models.

Meanwhile, boutique watch brands like Solios and Nordgreen are transforming the mid-range space with their innovative eco watches. The former is the world’s first BCorpcertified watch brand, making minimalist solar powered timepieces that have a six-month power reserve after two hours of sun exposure and are made of recycled stainless steel. There’s no single-use plastic to be seen in its supply chain, and through its partnership with the Rainforest Trust it protects one acre of forest with every Solios watch sold. ‘We believe big changes start with small actions that don’t compromise one’s lifestyle and habits,’ explains founders Samuel Leroux and Alexandre Desabrais.

Also on its way to becoming a BCorp is Danish watchmaker Nordgreen, which launched its Guardian watch earlier in 2022. It’s designed to last 100 years and is made from recycled stainless steel and durable sapphire glass. Its packaging, meanwhile, is 3D printed and made from third-generation recycled plastic.

Small steps forward, but enough to show that the watch world is starting to take sustainability seriously.

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Solios

Solios

The world’s first B Corp-certified watch brand, Solios makes minimalist solar powered timepieces that have a six-month power reserve after two hours of sun exposure and are made of recycled stainless steel. There’s no single-use plastic to be seen in its supply chain, and through its partnership with the Rainforest Trust it protects one acre of forest with every Solios watch sold.

‘We believe big changes start with small actions that don’t compromise one’s lifestyle and habits,’ explains founders Samuel Leroux and Alexandre Desabrais.

Solios Rainforest Curve Edition, £290. solioswatches.com

 

oris sustainable watches

Oris

Oris was declared climate neutral in 2021 by experts ClimatePartner, thanks to its work with Plastic Bank’s Clean Oceans project, and it offers straps made of recycled PET and sustainably sourced leather, and watch boxes made of algae or recycled paper.

Its new New York Harbour Limited Edition diver’s watch in shimmering green has been created to raise funds and awareness for the Billion Oysters Project in NYC, working to restore the city’s oyster population. By 2035, the BOP wants to see one billion oysters in the harbour of the Big Apple.

£1,850, oris.ch

sustainable watches

Nordgreen

Danish watchmaker Nordgreen has just unveiled what it describes as ‘the world’s most sustainable watch?’ The chicly minimalist timepiece was concepted by the brand’s critically acclaimed designer Jakob Wagner, and is intended to last 100 years – unusual for a mid-range watch. It’s made from recycled stainless steel and more durable sapphire glass, and comes with a full-service repair and refurbishing guarantee for a full century. The Guardian watch also comes in 3D printed packaging is made from third-generation recycled PET plastic by Swedish Lostboylab.

‘We wanted to design a watch that would help Nordgreen play an active role in cementing a mindset and a community for those dedicated to saving our planet,’ explains Jakob. ‘For me the Guardian is so much more than a watch. It’s a movement. A state of mind. It’s a symbol not just of caring about nature, the environment and humanity, but of having the strength of mind and strength of character to actively help.’

In addition to the launch of the Guardian, Nordgreen has partnered with external sustainability consultants to actively work towards becoming carbon neutral and a B Corp.

Guardian by Nordgreen, £599. nordgreen.co.uk

Panerai

Panerai says 98.6 per cent of the weight of its new Submersible eLAB-ID dive watch is made from recycled elements, including the Eco Titanium case, fabric strap and even the SuperLuminova dial. The brand is keen to collaborate with other dial names on ‘circular’ watchmaking.

eLAB-ID, £54,000. panerai.com

CuleM

CuleM

Launched by British entrepreneur Matthew Cule in 2018, CuleM plants 100 trees and protects six acres of rainforest for every watch the brand sells. In its short history, it has already financed the planting of 12,769 mangrove trees in Madagascar.

Lights GMT, £1,195. culemwatches.com

Best Sustainable Watches

Awake

French brand Awake claims its AW.01 model is ‘the most eco-innovative watch ever made’. This affordable timepiece is said to be made exclusively from reengineered, bio-degradable components. Cases are made from a material called RE:FN-S1, a polymer produced from old fishing nets.

AWAKE .01, €280. awakeconcept.com

Best Sustainable Watches

IWC

IWC is offering new TimberTex sustainable straps on four of its models. Made from plant fibres sourced from trees certified by the FSC, the straps are crafted in Italy before being padded with recycled microfibre and coloured with plant-based dyes.

Portugieser Automatic 40, £6,450. iwc.com

Best Sustainable Watches

Mondaine

Mondaine has developed its latest watch using sustainable materials and natural dyes, combining the brand’s core values of innovation and sustainability. Featuring a strap made from recycled textile and skin-friendly natural cork lining, the collection of Women’s Essence watches highlights greener alternatives with an emphasis on renewable raw materials.

Mondaine Women’s Essence MS132111 Textile Strap Watch, £189.00, johnlewis.com

Featured image: Gisele Bündchen by IWC