Sustainable watchmaking

Reuse' and sustainability, both social and environmental, are concepts that are increasingly present in the watch industry. It started with the construction of environmentally friendly and energy self-sufficient factories. Then, as the need to combine luxury with values that can be shared by an increasingly attentive public grew, the industry took steps to ensure the traceability of the supply chain for gold and precious stones. Up to and including the recycling of these same materials. Well-known examples are Chopard's Fairmined gold and Bulgari's use of only recycled gold.

Turning to less noble substances, the environmental commitment of the manufacturers has been directed in the first instance towards limiting the production of non-recyclable plastics and materials for watch straps. A pioneer in this field has been the Italian Morellato, with the production of straps made from recycled leather or materials derived 100% from plastic bottles. All the way to recycled steel.

The list has been growing longer in recent months, with brand communication increasingly focused on eco-sustainability, driven perhaps by the topicality of New Generation Europe, which requires European nations to invest post-crisis pandemic fund capital in green economy policies.

Current issues, but also dear to the new generations (and therefore to the industry) who, as Ferruccio Lamborghini junior explained to me a year ago, no longer share the pressing desire to own a car or moped with the teenagers of the 1980s, 1990s and even 2000s. Except that they feed the dumps of electronic material thanks to the chase for the latest smartphone model. Recycled gold, which is then used in jewellery, is also made from this waste: a small contribution to ridding the Earth of waste that is just as harmful as the hated plastic bottles.

So welcome, then, the watch industry's sustainable initiatives, which participate in the creation of - mechanical - objects that 'reuse' is in their DNA, passing from generation to generation without succumbing to planned obsolescence.

Dody Giussani