The sustainable beauty of a mechanical watch

In today’s world, we have so many throwaway items, but a mechanical watch is made to last and made to be repaired.

The proof is in the museums that are full of them, still ticking away after hundreds of years. Watches are also one of the luxury segments where the sale of pre-owned watches is almost at the point of passing the sale of new wristwatches. A recent report by Mckinsey estimates that the pre-owned watch market will reach $30 billion by 2025. That is recycling at its finest!

The watch industry isn’t resting on its laurels; however, it is conscious of its responsibility to do more by rethinking manufacturing, raw materials, packaging, travel emissions, and more. Here are five watches that are looking to the future of our planet.

Sustainable Watches. What to choose?  

Panerai Submersible eLAB ID

The Panerai eLAB ID is one of the most sustainable watches in terms of its materials with 98.6% of its weight coming from eco-friendly components. The brand could have made this figure 100%, but that last 1.4% would have increased the carbon footprint of the watch by such an amount, that they decided against it!

The case, dial and bridges are composed of recycled titanium, the movement’s escapement is made of recycled silicon, its hands and sapphire crystal also contain recycled materials and even the “glow-in-the-dark” Super-LumiNova is recycled. Only 30 pieces of the watch have been made, but Panerai is taking sustainability seriously and we can expect more from the brand in the future.

Panerai Submersible eLAB ID
Panerai Submersible eLAB ID

Oris Aquis Date Upcycle

Oris is one of the watch brands leading the charge in terms of sustainability. Its “Change for the Better” program has been in operation for over a decade and it recently received “Climate Neutral” status.

The Aquis Date Upcycle is the latest collection from the company and it features a dial made from upcycled PET plastic. The beauty of these dials is their fabulous colours that include shades of yellow, green, blue, pink, purple and white. Each one is totally unique in terms of its design, thanks to the way they are manufactured. There are two sizes to choose from, 36.5mm and 41.5mm, both of which come with a large grey ceramic bezel and a stainless-steel bracelet.

Oris Aquis Date Upcycle

Chopard and Ethical Gold

Gold is one of the biggest criminals of the luxury world as gold mining can create major environmental and socioeconomic problems, including deforestation, chemical pollution, displacement of communities, and the list goes on.

Since 2018, Chopard has been committed to using 100% ethically produced gold that is sourced through transparent and traceable schemes from mines that participate in the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) system or in Fairmined and Fairtrade certification programs, proving that sustainability and gold can go together.

Watch Chopard Happy Sport
Chopard Happy Sport 33 mm

Greubel Forsey’s Vegan Straps

For the longest time, luxury watch brands predominantly fitted their watches with alligator straps. Unlike cows, where leather is a byproduct of the meat industry, alligators are bred uniquely for their skin. And due to the high standards of the watch industry, sometimes only two straps can be made from one hide.

Greubel Forsey sits right at the top of the horological pyramid, with watches priced in the hundreds of thousands, but that hasn’t stopped them making a radical decision to stop using alligator altogether. The company is now using only straps made from plant-based materials, paving the way for other brands to follow in their footsteps.

Greubel Forsey's vegan strap
Greubel Forsey’s vegan strap

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