The nature of time

One of the trends at Watches and Wonders 2021 was eco-sustainability. Products that are compatible with concerns for the future of the planet, designed for the new generations, who are very attentive - among other things - to the use of alternative materials to animal skin. Reason why many brands, starting with Chanel, have banned alligator straps from their watches.

On the subject of eco-sustainability, let me make a very elementary argument. One of the watchmaking industry's 'problems' is the small volume of raw materials needed for processing. In the haute horlogerie sector, then, a manufacturer does not have much bargaining power with suppliers, given the limited orders of metals, silicon, ceramics (often in fact produced in-house), carbon or other materials sufficient to satisfy the entire production. This suggests that the ecological impact of the watch as a product is very limited.

Yet, in order to make generations highly (and rightly) sensitive to the problem, research is being invested in environmentally sustainable materials for making watches, including mechanical ones. In the meantime, immense dumps continue to fill up with exhausted consumer electronics (mobile phones and computers, of course, as well as televisions, fridges, and so on and so forth, because they are in the Third World: what the eye can't see, the heart won't grieve).

The real eco-friendly choice of high-end watch manufacturers is not the recent use of regenerated fibre straps or recycled steel cases, but goes back years. It goes back to when manufacturers invested in complying with international standards on CO2 emissions, made themselves energy self-sufficient, installed water recycling systems for cooling and heating rooms, certified CarbonNeutral...

This should be the information you should gather about a brand when you want to buy an eco-friendly watch. The rest is an 'extra' that does not hurt, but has a much lower impact than on the health of the planet (by the way, 22 April has been World Earth Day since 1970).

Dody Giussani