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July 3, 2022updated Jul 18, 2022

Upcycling Time: The Most Sustainable Watch Brands

By Elite Traveler

As watch brands try to answer the call for greater action on sustainable practice, they turn to using upcycled and recycled materials for their newest watches. Elite Traveler looks at four models from luxury watch brands leading the way.

[See also: The Elite Traveler Top Watches in the World]

Ulysse Nardin

The first watch brand to release a timepiece with a case made entirely from recycled fishing nets (in 2020), Ulysse Nardin now takes its two-year-old concept watch to reality with a serial-production Diver Net watch. For this new watch, the strap is made using polyamide fishing nets that are recovered from the ocean by French brand Fil & Fab and then transformed into pellets for manufacturing. The black parts of the case are made from 60% recycled fishing net Nylo®, and 40% upcycled carbon fiber/ Carbonium® comprises the side parts and caseback. The bezel insert is made from carbonium that is taken from the excess waste in the manufacture of jet plane parts. The metal used for through the tables serving up what just be the perfect martini.. Just 200 pieces will be made.

The sustainable watch brand used recycled fishing nets / ©Ulysse Nardin


Maurice Lacroix

Maurice Lacroix Aikon tide collection watch

The composite case material has a carbon footprint that is six times less than PET / ©Maurice Lacroix

Earlier this year, Swiss watch brand Maurice Lacroix announced its partnership with #tide and its ‘That’s What a Drop Makes’ campaign. The point of the campaign is to emphasize that every effort made to help the environment adds up, no matter how small. Teaming with #tide, the brand releases the Aikon #tide watch collection that showcases colorful timepieces made using upcycled materials found in the oceans and combining them with glass fiber. The composite case material is harder than plastic and has a carbon footprint that is six times less than PET. The material is also used for the caseback, crown, bezel and buckle end pieces. It takes 17 bottles to make one watch. Even the packaging is made of #tide composite.



Panerai eSteel™ Submersible QuarantaQuattro

This 44mm Panerai eSteel™ Submersible QuarantaQuattro automatic watch / ©Panerai

This year at Watches & Wonders Geneva, Officine Panerai unveiled its new Submersible QuarantaQuattro collection, with watches made using its proprietary eSteel™ composed of predominantly (95%) recycled steel scraps. CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué also announced that in the coming five years, the brand will be phasing out its use of regular steel and replacing it with e-steel. This 44mm Panerai eSteel™ Submersible QuarantaQuattro automatic watch in green (also available in blue or gray) is water resistant to 300 meters and boasts a strap composed of fabric made entirely from recycled PET. It is sold with a second strap made from recycled rubber.



Chopard 41mm Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon

The sustainable watch brand worsk with its own recycled steel / ©Chopard

Another brand that is working with its own recycled steel (called Lucent Steel), Chopard is releasing several new models this year made of the hypo allergenic alloy. In fact, Lucent Steel A223 is made with 70% recycled steel. This 41mm Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon watch is powered by the L.U.C. 96.24-L mechanical movement with tourbillon escapement that compensates for errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity on the watch when the wrist is in certain positions.

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[See also: The Best New Releases from Watches and Wonders 2022]

This article appears in the 06 Jun 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Summer 2022

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