Are you looking for a new watch? Or perhaps you would like to gift a watch to a friend or loved one? With so many timepiece brands to choose from, it’s worth considering sustainable watches and brands that care for people and planet, as well as the quality of their watches.
In this guide, I wanted to share my favourite watch brands – three of which I personally own – and their backstories. I love knowing that the clothes I wear and jewellery I adorn are made fairly, by people who are happy, and with materials that are better for the planet.
What To Look For In Sustainable Watches
As with all my guides on sustainable fashion, I look for four criteria to ensure real sustainability in the brands and items I recommend:
- Social Sustainability: providing clear, accessible knowledge of who makes the brand’s clothes, and how they treat their people ethically, with safe working conditions and fair pay.
- Environmental Sustainability: transparently listing out the natural and regenerated materials they use, as well as practices to lower their impact (e.g. reducing energy and water use, avoiding harmful chemicals).
- Slow Production: dropping four or less collections per year, or at the very least, making an attempt to reduce the amount of clothing they produce.
- Circular Practices: designing clothes that are long-lasting, resellable, and recyclable, as well as inviting customers to return garments, which go back into production within the brand, as opposed to charity donations, or worse – landfill.
Watches are a complex accessory to make. They require expert craftsmanship and precision for the timepiece element, as well as complementary design and materials to ensure they are equally beautiful and comfortable to wear. Adding sustainability into the mix can be more difficult for watchmaking than for your average garment, simply because there’s more processes and materials involved, and these have functional applications too. However, there are so many brands achieving sustainability within the watch industry, from high street through to high end!
What’s In My Watch Collection?
To get you acquainted with a few of my favourite sustainable watch brands, I wanted to share the ones I personally own! Watches are such a versatile accessory, and I love wearing mine whenever cycling or heading out for the day.
My Solios White Solar Watch | Ad
Meet the newest member of my watch collection: the Solios Solar White Watch! This watch is beautiful, with a clean design, sleek profile, and interchangeable straps. Here, I’m wearing the 36mm face with silver mesh strap, and above is the same face with interchangeable eco vegan leather strap in brown.
This watch was kindly gifted to me so I could discover the beauty and innovation behind all of Solios watches: their solar powered technology. I was surprised to learn that all of Solios’ watches come with a small solar power board that replaces more traditional batteries. The average watch battery lasts 2 years, whereas a Solios watch will be powered for life, saving an average of 20 batteries per wearer. If all watchmakers followed in Solios’ footsteps, they would eliminate the need for 300 million batteries!
Alongside the solar battery technology, Solios watches are designed with quality and sustainability in mind. Metals are coloured using ionic technology, avoiding chemical ground-waste. The stainless steel and tiny amount of plastic required in each watch are wholly recycled. Even the vegan leather strap is made with silicone rather than PU or PVC.
In terms of social sustainability, Solios is a certified B-Corp, which indicates good practices throughout their supply chain. And the sustainability speaks for itself, although Solios goes even further, delivering their watches in plastic-free packaging, and protecting one acre of rainforest with their partners Rainforest Trust for every watch sold.
My Nordgreen Infinity Watch
My Nordgreen Infinity Watch* was my first foray into the world of sustainable watches. I was gifted my watch a few years ago, and have enjoyed polishing up my standard outfits with its petite gold-rimmed watch face and vegan leather strap.
Nordgreen is another favourite of mine because they are socially sustainable – factory partners that are held to Danish manufacturing standards, no matter where they are in the world. They’re also carbon neutral, doing so through reducing their impact as well as planting trees.
My BAUME Moonphase Watch
Finally, let’s talk luxury watches. My BAUME Moonphase Watch is probably the best representation of a sustainable luxury watch. It was gifted to me by Positive Luxury a few years ago, when Baume & Mercier launched their eco-friendly line, BAUME. The watch itself exhibits the exquisite detailing and master craftsmanship expected of the heritage watch brand, while also adopting contemporary features that support more sustainable practices.
Every BAUME watch is made to order, and this line is made from recyclable materials, natural fabrics, and recycled components. The factory where BAUME watches are made is powered by renewable energy. Plus, any unused parts are recycled or re-used, which shows how circularity can be embedded into complex designs like watches.
12 Of The Best Sustainable Watches Brands in UK
Now, it’s over to you – what kind of watch are you looking for? Here’s a list of brands making sustainable watches available in the UK in 2022, with different designs, materials, and styles to suit everyone.
2°EAST: Brightly coloured watch designs made ethically, with transparent pricing.
BAUME: Eco luxury watch line created by traditional watchmakers Baume & Mercier.
Bear Essentials*: Wooden watches for men and women, handmade in the UK.
CHPO: Scandi style watches made with ethically-sourced, vegan materials, at economy prices.
eBay: Shop vintage luxury watches with confidence with eBay’s new Authenticity Guarantee.
Farfetch*: Pre-owned watches and fine watches with hundreds of unique styles to choose from.
Ksana*: Ethically-made watches with silicone watch straps in neutral and bright colours alike.
Nordgreen*: Danish fashion design meets sustainable materials in unisex styles.
Open For Vintage*: Luxury vintage watches sourced by verified vintage sellers from around the world.
Solios: Minimalist solar-powered watches made with sustainable materials and practices.
Uunique*: Vegan leather watch strap and accessories designed for the Apple Watch.
Votch*: Independent watch brand using wholly vegan materials including piñatex and more.