One man's recycling is another man's treasure
One of the very few positives from the Covid 19 pandemic is that it highlighted the importance of sustainability more than ever, with communities, governments and industries shifting their focus onto protecting our planet from land to sea - and the watch industry is no exception! Having an environmental conscious used to feel like a selling point for smaller brands, now even big names like Hublot and Omega have pushed for greener watches (and I’m not talking about the colour trend that swept the watch market in the past years), from reusing recycled materials, creating new plant-based alternatives to animal products, to funding environmental causes.
Our team at WatchGecko believe our watch sales should also have a positive environmental impact, and pride ourselves on being a completely carbon neutral company with the help of Go Climate Positive. Back in 2020, we partnered with Sustainable Business Design to calculate our carbon emissions output, and found we emitted 23% less CO2 than the average business in our category! We set a goal to reduce our emissions further by 5% every year for 5 years, achieving carbon neutrality by offsetting our CO2 (produced for example from shipping our watches to our customers). We do this by funding various offsetting activities, such as rainforest protection projects. This year we have managed to store almost 90,000 tonnes of carbon and protect over 470,000 trees thanks to our partnership with the rainforest protection organisation One Tribe.
There are many watch brands working to become more environmentally friendly companies and produce more sustainable watches, check out our list of green favourites below.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition
For this 300-meter capable dive watch Omega has partnered with Nekton, an NGO research foundation committed to the protection and exploration of our oceans. The organisation has pledged to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 and works alongside the University of Oxford, undertaking missions for island and coastal nations, discovering ecosystems such as the Rariphotic Zone which since its discovery can now be protected. The Omega Seamaster Diver Nekton Edition features a laser ablated black ceramic dial, with a polished wave motif and a grade 5 titanium unidirectional bezel. Its 42mm case houses Omega’s impressive Master Chronometer Calibre 8806, a METAS certified self-winding movement that can resist magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss with a long-lasting power reserve of 55 hours.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sorai
The Hublot Big Bang Sorai renews Hublot’s commitment to rhino conservation. Rhinos are a critically endangered species with less than 30,000 of them left in the wild, with poaching posing the greatest risk to their existence in Africa. A shortage of rangers, funding and visitors due to the pandemic has allowed poachers to move freely relatively undetected - posing a huge threat to the already dwindling Rhino population. Their protection relies more than ever on private donors and NGO efforts. Hublot is using its global reach to support SORAI (Save Our Rhino Africa India) with a portion of the sale of every Big Bang Unico SORAI being donated to Care for Wild, the world’s largest rhino sanctuary.
Measuring at 45mm, the 2021 Big Bang Unico Sorai features a matching green skeletonised dial and markers, with a pair of camouflage rubber and green fabric straps. As with Hublot’s wider Big Bang Unico range, the Sorai uses Hublot’s own flyback chronograph MHUB1242 movement for an impressive 72-hour power reserve. The complex skeletonised dial features a date window and a 60-minute chronograph movement with flyback capability – if you look closely at the sub-seconds dial, you’ll see a geometric rhino subtly included in the design as a reminder of this watch’s purpose.
Geckota G-02 Surfers Against Sewage Collaboration
Committed to making a positive impact for our rivers and seas, Geckota have recently partnered with Cornwall based Surfers Against Sewage. A marine conservation and campaigning charity that aims to protect our waters and its inhabitants on a communal to governmental scale. They’re one of the UK’s most successful environmental campaigns, convincing the government to take action against the increase of plastic pollution and sewage discharge into British waters, and engaging communities to participate in nationwide beach clean-ups.
Geckota have worked alongside Surfers Against Sewage to create a new dive watch, dubbed the 'Geckota G-02 Surfers Against Sewage Collaboration'. Geckota will donate £50 of every sale to Surfers Against Sewage to help fund their marine conservation work. The watch has a design inspired by the organisation and what they stand for, featuring a blue sea motif on the dial and a caseback engraved with the Surfers Against Sewage logo and motto “Thriving Ocean – thriving People”, also stitched into the custom Surfers Against Sewage strap. An additional rubber dive watch strap will also be included with this watch free of charge. The dive watch measures at 40mm, with a stainless-steel case and unidirectional bezel. Geckota have used a SII VH31 Quartz movement to power the G-02, making it waterproof to 200 metres.
Solios Solar Watch
Solios is a small Canadian watch company, yet its size doesn’t prevent them from making a positive environmental impact. Solios is the first watch company to become a certified B Corporation, verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. They design a range of minimalistic 36mm and 40mm Bauhaus-reminiscent watches, that use a solar-powered movement powering the watch for 6 months on just 2 hours of sun exposure. The aim behind this was to mitigate the reliance on watch batteries, feeding into their zero-waste design ethos. They promise to protect one acre of rainforest with every watch sold, and only use recycled stainless steel to create their watch cases and bracelets. Solios also feature a range of eco-friendly vegan ‘leather’ strap options, made from silicon that are free from harmful components such as PVC and toxic by-products.
Oris Aquis Date Upcycle
The Oris watch brand has long invested in conservation and sustainability projects as part of their Change for the Better campaign, achieving carbon neutrality and working to publish their first Oris Sustainability Report this spring. The Swiss watch brand has released two new Aquis dive watches, continuing their partnership with Everwave who develop technology to help keep the ocean free of plastics.
The Aquis Date Upcycle comes in both 41.5mm and 36.5mm sizing, featuring dials created from PET plastics (commonly used for soft drinks bottles), to create visually striking dial designs. Their recycling process creates random patterns, meaning no two dials will look the same. Both dive watches are capable of 300 metre water resistance, featuring a stainless-steel case and matching steel bracelet, sapphire crystal and grey ceramic inserts fitted in a unidirectional bezel. The Aquis Date Upcycle is powered by Sellita SW200-1 movement with a power reserve of 38 hours, decorated with a red winding motor visible through the open caseback. Both dive watches are great examples of how plastic can be reused to create something unique and special.
Chopard L’Heure du Diamant
Watches have long been considered a symbol of wealth and status, the most extravagant being bejewelled in all kinds of precious stones and minerals - diamonds and gold being the most desired. In fact, around 90 million carats of diamonds and 1,600 tons of gold are mined for the jewellery and watch industry every year, mostly from developing nations. Generating over US$300bn in annual revenue, the workers and nations supplying these materials don’t see much of the profits, as an industry rife with human right’s abuses, corruption and unsustainable mining methods.
Jewellery and watch companies therefore have a responsibility to ensure that their businesses don’t contribute to these issues in their supply chains. The luxury jeweller and watchmaker Chopard being the first such company to commit to ethically sourcing all their gold back in 2018.
Chopard have now achieved in having a 100% ethically sourced gold supply chain from suppliers certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council. Similarly, Chopard will only use ethically sourced diamonds. Both these materials are found in abundance in the 18k white gold Chopard L’Heure du Diamant. Inspired by 1960’s glamour, the watch features a cushion shaped diamond encrusted case with a mother-of-pearl dial on a textured white gold bracelet. The timepiece uses an in-house 09.01-C mechanical movement with automatic winding for a 42-hour power reserve, striking a balance between jewellery-making artistry and fine watch craftsmanship.