If you are looking for innovative, durable watches for a special gift to a loved one (or yourself!), this review is for you.
We will give you details for each of the six brands on packaging and materials, environmental & social practices, as well as style and price.
Consider The 'Rs' Before Buying
As usual on Puratium, we would like to kindly remind you of the Zero (in theory!) / Low Waste eco logic (I.e., our logic, let’s be honest) so close to our hearts:
1) Should you already own a watch in perfect working order, we can only advise you to keep it! ‘Refuse’ what you do not need, and avoid falling in the pitfalls of buying all-new eco friendly stuff. This is the first step.
2) Before buying a new one, consider repairing your current one, and why not customize it? Check, for example, on the website of your brand’s current watch; they probably offer a repair service or a way for you to order only the damaged piece (e.g., straps). In this second step, ‘Reduce’ and ‘Repair’ are crucial.
3) Have a look at your local thrift or vintage stores! ‘Reuse’ is the third step. Obsolescence and fast fashion are not on the planet’s best interest. Let’s become smarter customers and prefer durable, long-lasting, and high-quality objects. And when it is time to switch, consider reselling, upcycling or repurposing as a first action before simply tossing out, watches and jewels included.
4) Before moving to our last step, i.e., buy a new watch, make sure to correctly dispose of (or donate to a charity) your current timepiece. ‘Recycle’ is another critical R of the zero waste movement. This article from Recycle Now will shed some light on the matter.
Ready to deep dive on the last – buy new as a last resort – step? Then take your time to peruse our article on sustainable watches.
Solios - Canada
Solios is for us, THE eco friendly brand when it comes to watches. As you may have guessed from the name, their watches are solar powered(thus eco friendly).
- Materials. The conventionally planned obsolescence will not be applicable here: they use stainless steel and sapphire-coated glass. Moreover, highly durable straps and an innovative metal coloration method are in their DNA. Thanks to ionic coloration, the water is not contaminated as it is usually the case with other conventional ways that are ten times more affordable. Additionally, they are about to start a program to be able to fully recycle or refurbished old Solios watches. Also worth mentioning, their Eco Leather bands i.e., synthetic vegan leather, are also free of PU, PVC, and toxic waste.
- Packaging: they use 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard (FSC certified). More points for Solios’ watches. Additionally, they are working on a recycling program, in order to incentivize people to return their old watches.
- Environmental & Social Practices: they are proudly supporting the Make A Wish and David Suzuki foundations. Their company was created in Montreal mainly because of their exasperation towards fast fashion and the pressure to buy the newest version of a given object continuously.
- Manufacture: Did you know that each year, about 300 million of batteries could be saved if all quartz watches would function on solar power? This means, no need to replace the battery every two years and, therefore, avoid paying for about 20 or 30 batteries. Additionally, when reaching out Solios, they advised us that in regards to the supply chain, they grouped all the local and international environmental and ethical certifications by their suppliers, made them sign their suppliers code of conduct, and have visited every factory individually to make sure of the ethics.
- Style: we are big fans of the sapphire coating (no scratches!) and anti-reflection coating (the watch will absorb light, not reflect it). Our standing ovation goes to the Gamma Rose-Gold for women, and to the Eclipse Grey for men. Solios watches could go by the motto: One timeless watch, one lifelong battery. Lastly, no need to tan for hours with your watch! With only two hours of natural light, your Solios beauty will function for about 6 months!
- Price: a bit more pricey: 335 CAD seems to be their favorite number to be wrapped at any wrist… but it is worth it considering the life-lasting technology. And, three years of warranty. Most brands usually offer two.
Tense Watch - Canada
At Puratium, we love wood as a material in general. Making sure the wood comes from sustainably managed forests is of paramount importance to us (and a minimum standard!).
And, ideally, we would like all our wooden jewelry to come from recycled wood.
Unfortunately, when it comes to wooden watches, finding a brand sourcing recycled materials has led us in a maze in search of watches from wood.
Good news though, we were able to find a few designed by the BC-based brand Tense, such as this beautiful Small Hampton watch.
- Materials: made from 100% natural wood reclaimed from Africa, America, and Canada. They only harvest from cast-off wood. This means that they never extract wood from living trees, reinventing as such, wood straps into a precious material. Also worth mentioning: these are high-grade Japan movement timepieces made of stainless steel (no plastic!). We have always been fans of wooden watch brands. Now, it is finally feasible to find a sustainable watch made from recycled wood that would have otherwise been disposed of.
- Packaging: Limited information available on the type of packaging used.
- Environmental & Social Practices: this sustainable watch brand is a member of the 1% For The Planet. This means that they pledge to donate one percent of their sales to both global and local organizations striving to create a healthy planet.
- Manufacturing: the brand has over 50 years of experience in the field. Each watch is crafted by hand in their workshop in Vancouver.
- Style: we particularly appreciate their user-friendly ‘customize your watch’ online feature. Due to the unique nature of the wood, each watch will be a unique piece of work around your wrist. You can add a free engraving, and even choose your box design (for a few extra dollars). Additionally, we are fans of the different sizes each collection offers: from mini/small watches to oversized ones and from different rounded to squared shapes.
- Price: it is a luxurious brand. Prices range from 100 CAD to over 1,000 CAD. Two years of warranty. Free shipping in Canada and the US.
Ksana - the UK
- Materials: Ksana only produces vegan friendly watches. Their straps are made of durable, resistant, lightweight silicone (made from sand). Unfortunately, silicone does not decompose, which is why Ksana is currently looking to improve their primary material. For example, to incorporate post-consumer waste into their straps. Moreover, they are committed to offering a recycling program. As such, they will repurpose the silicone into solar panels (silicone is useful for coating and insulation).
- Packaging: most of their packaging is made from recycled cardboard.
- Environmental & Social Practices: being part of the ‘circular goal’ is in their core mission statement: create, reuse, recreate, recycle, and start again. As mentioned above, they recycle their silicone straps. Additionally, They ensure the metal part of their watches will be reused for practical use—for example, new jewelry or artwork. Ksana (Buddhist word) embodies the desire for fun, without always the ‘on’ stimulation of our modern world. Lastly, they are part of the 1% for the Planet alliance, thus donating 1% of their sales value toward helping environmental causes.
- Manufacturing: There is little information on its website. However, it seems their manufacturer in Asia must pass a third-party audit, in order to confirm there are fair wages, no use of child labor, and overall benefits that promote fair labor practices.
- Style: we are fans of these bold, neon-colored watches! Also, they offer a more classical, black/gold/silver collection. We particularly like the gender-neutral, unique touch of every watch.
- Price: quite affordable, 75 £ for an eco friendly watch. Two years of warranty, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Triwa - Sweden
Just by looking at their name, you can be assured of their commitment to trigger a long-lasting change in behavior in the watch industry, which is often too centered on tradition and mere status. This sustainable watch brand stands for ‘Transforming the Industry of Watches‘.
- Materials: Have you heard of Humanium? Triwa offers a collection of watches made from the metal extracted from destructed illegal firearms. There are millions of illegal guns in the world: every year, 500,000 people in the world are killed as a result. Their flagship – Humanium Metal Watch – is now part of the UN’s exhibition of disarmament. Also worth mentioning is the option to choose between organically tanned leather (chrome-free and based on vegetable tanning, made in Sweden) or recycled pet nylon straps.
- Packaging: Their watch boxes are 100% recyclable, made from recycled paper. Moreover they come in a box with a certificate of authenticity.
- Environmental & Social Practices: This eco friendly watch through its material donates 15% of their profit back to conflict-torn societies. How? By supporting their local violence programs crusading for violence prevention. That number is quite impressive, as most brands we have reviewed traditionally dedicate between 1 to 5%. All in all, considering the use of Humanium as recycled material for their watches, the brand takes an active part towards more peace in the world.
- Manufacturing: Since the launch of the brand in 2007, from the design to the actual product development, everything is done in their Stockholm-based studio. As for the Humanium metal, they have worked with IM Sweden in El Salvador since 2006, thus allowing over 4,500 illegal weapons to be melted down and repurposed for better use.
- Style: We are big fans of their ‘labs and collabs’. There is a story, namely an atmosphere behind each of these exclusive collaborations with other brands. Take the one with Nathalie Ballout, for example; the watch straps are made from old jeans, making it an authentic upcycled watch. We like their modern style as it embodies a well-balanced compromise between contemporary Scandinavian simplicity and classic looks.
- Price: They offer a wide range of prices: from 99 USD for their Combo-over (joking about ‘hair’ time) up to almost 700 USD for their men’s watch called Humanium 39 Automatic (for watch connoisseurs!). And two years of warranty.
NordGreen - Denmark
- Materials: we like the variety of (non) vegan options. Blended polyester and cotton are the primary sources of their vegan leather straps. Nevertheless, they also offer conventional leather straps from Italy. When it comes to the steel they use, be aware that it is the Stainless Steel grade 316L case. It provides excellent quality, durability, and does not corrode or rust. And, the shiny material is 100% recyclable! (2).
- Packaging: they are FSC certified. The paper cardboard comes from responsibly and sustainably managed forests. With regards to the felt inside the boxes, it is made from up-cycled plastic bottles.
- Environmental & Social Practices: Nordgreen’s commitment is remarkable too: their ‘Giving Back Program’ enabled them to offer (so far) about 6,500 months equivalent of education worldwide, 23,200 months equivalent of drinkable water, or even 742,000 sqm of rainforests protected, to name just a few.
- Manufacturing process: it is worth mentioning that even if their facilities are based in China, Danish standards are applied when it comes to labor conditions. We also appreciate Nordgreen for being carbon neutral: they have offset their carbon emissions generated by their offices in Copenhagen by planting thousands of trees. This is applicable for all global shipments too, which is quite impressive.
- Style-wise, we particularly like their Native collection. It is elegant, sophisticated, and timeless at the same time. All men and women watches come with a two-year warranty and free shipping worldwide. Of course, we do encourage you to order from a brand closer to your current location.
- Price: affordable! Between 150 and 200 EUR for their eco friendly watches. We particularly recommend their ‘Bundle builder’ offer: for two straps and one watch; you get a 10% discount. And, you can quickly choose the size and color of each.
TIVC - Australia
This watch brand stands for Time IV Change (Time for a change). They are the perfect fit for animal lovers thanks to their elegant, stylish, all vegan leather collection. An excellent selection of eco friendly watches.
- Materials: their stainless steel watch cases are made from 100% recycled aluminum to reduce the carbon footprint, typically involving the production of aluminum or steel. Moreover, because the straps are made from ‘ultra-fine fiber bundles, high-grade polyurethane, as well as raw and recycled materials’, it is a unique eco friendly product. Let’s take the example of Pinatex, which is an innovative natural fabric, a by-product of pineapple harvest.
- Packaging: Limited information on packaging.
- Environmental & Social Practices: TIVC donates 10% of its profits from its vegan watches to support seven world-changing organizations acting for protecting the environment and animals’ welfare.
- Manufacturing: each TIVC watch is produced in a Hong Kong factory that is SA8000 certified, which ensures fair labor practices on site. All their timepieces are cruelty-free, and PETA certified, which guarantees that this watch company is vegan friendly.
- Style: We love the fact that each of their collections is an example of their conviction that it is possible to reduce the harm done to the environment; This applies to the Eco-suede (recycled polyester), the Pinatex (waste pineapple leaf fiber) or the vegan one (with better environmental performance than conventional leather). Most watches are unisex, with two available sizes (36 or 40mm).
- Price: between 190 and 220 AUD. One year warranty.
Why Social & Environmental Practices Matter
As we always like to point out let us explain what we mean by ‘Social & Environmental Practices.’
In this regards, the goal is to understand the efforts made by a brand in regards to:
- The workers and their working environment: fair salaries, normal shifts, safe environment, no child labor, openess on the supply chain.
- Charitable work that goes beyond ‘doing good’ and community growth that helps local economies grow.
- Sustainable environmental practices: reduce carbon footprint, transparency/openess on the manufacturing process.
Some companies use words like green practices, natural materials, or (Corporate Social Responsibility) as fancy sustainably-like words to greenwash us.
However, none of this means that any of these companies are truly committed to being sustainable, and it can just be a show of fake actions to please the public.
Therefore, before choosing a brand, consider its business practices from a different angle: donations are essential, but so is the manufacturing process and the proper management of waste.
This review has shed light on what you should expect from eco friendly watches. To start, how and where they are made.
But also, whether the brand in question has strong Social & Environmental practices and transparent manufacturing practices.
It was also important for us to look at different styles and prices: watch brands working with wood materials (recycled materials!), (non) vegan leather, or even with straps made of silicone.
The watch industry is slowly changing towards better environmental, transparent sourcing, and innovative practices.
We can only hope for more progress soon. Good luck with your watch purchase, and let us know if you have any questions.