Time for the Planet: 7 Eco-friendly watches to have on your radar
These days, the notion of sustainability is not merely a buzzword but a necessity and the world of watches is not excluded. A few days ago, French luxury group Kering and Cartier teamed up with the Responsible Jewellery Council to launch the Watch and Jewellery Initiative 2030––the first of its kind for the watchmaking industry––setting a series of environmental targets for the industry that include reducing carbon emissions and protecting biodiversity among others. Amidst the sector, watch brands have also been increasing efforts to achieve sustainability, from ocean conservancy initiatives to eco-friendly manufacturing processes and renewable sources.
If you're looking for a new timepiece, we've rounded up some of the brands who are making a difference with their designs below:
Hublot Big Bang SORAI
A member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and the first luxury watch brand to combine precious metals with rubber, Hublot also supports initiatives that protect biodiversity. Since 2019, the watchmaker has partnered with Save Our Rhino Africa India (SORAI) in a commitment towards rhino conservation, and this year's release introduces a new limited-edition of the Big Bang SORAI in a gorgeous rugged green ceramic that comes with a camouflage fabric strap. A portion of sale proceeds will go exclusively to Care for Wild, the largest SORAI-backed rhino sanctuary in the world.
Chopard L'Heure du Diamant
Chopard has become synonymous with sustainable luxury, since launching their Journey to Sustainable Luxury initiative in 2013, which pledged to support and use fairmined gold and ethically-sourced gemstones in all of their watches and jewellery. Since 2018, the Maison has also achieved the milestone of only using 100 per cent ethical gold in all its creations, which makes up part of this round automatic L'Heure du Diamantpiece. Exuding glamour, the watch is set with 22 diamonds and features an opal dial that reminds us of the planet.
Panerai Submersible eLab-ID
Panerai has always been at the forefront of material development and this year, they made a huge breakthrough with the Panerai Submersible eLab-ID, a watch with the highest percentage of recycled materials ever to hit the market––a whopping total of 98.6 per cent. Unveiled at the Watches & Wonder fair and limited to 30 pieces only, the diving watch comes with an Eco-Titanium case and dial, alongside recycled white gold hands and PET strap in a muted grey and light blue form that's eye-catching and sleek.
Cartier SolarBeat Tank Must
Another surprise from this year's Watches & Wonders was Cartier's SolarBeat movement-equipped Tank Must, the first solar-powered watch in the iconic Tank collection, and from Cartier. Cased in stainless steel and in two sizes, the elegant piece has an estimated running time of 16 years before it'll require a service, and is matched with non-animal leather straps, produced from scraps of apples grown for the food industry in Europe.
Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic
Tom Ford may be better known for his fashion, but the brand also has a couple of watch collections––one of which is made entirely in recycled ocean plastic. The 40mm quartz-movement timepiece features a matte black dial, encased in a stainless steel crown that's plated in black DLC with ocean plastic inlay, alongside Tom Ford's signature braid strap that's also hand braided out of...you guessed it! 100 per cent ocean plastic. The brand estimates that 32 bottles of plastic waste are used per product.
Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Outerknown
Breitling's third collaboration with Outerknown, a sustainable clothing brand established by pro-surfer Kelly Slater, introduces an eco-friendly iteration of their original 1957 diving watch with a retro look and warm brown tones. The piece comes with a NATO strap made out of Econyl yarn––repurposed from fishing nets and other nylon waste from the ocean––that's also interchangeable with any of its watches, Plus, it's accompanied by Breitling's first foldable, reusable watch box made out of 100 per cent upcycled plastic bottles.
Last November, Ulysse Nardin's Diver Net concept watch was launched with the aim of tackling ocean pollution, featuring an R-Strap, case, back and bezel decoration made out of recycled fishing nets. While prototyping is still underway, the brand unveiled the Diver Lemon Shark over the summer as part of an ongoing collaboration with ocean data research charity OCEARCH and Florida International University. Named after the yellow shark with designs that reference the yellow-toned hue of the vulnerable species, the watch is limited to a 300-piece run and fitted with a webbing R-strap.
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