Watchmaking and the environment

Watchmaking and the environment: on the front line


January 2021

Watchmaking and the environment: on the front line

Future customers will necessarily be more attentive to the environmental impact of their purchases. A few established watch brands stand out for their initiatives, but it remains difficult to modify well-oiled industrial circuits. New watchmakers, supporters of the concept of the “circular economy”, share possible avenues of innovation in terms of sustainability, recycling and closed loops. But these are not without certain contradictions, which are still very complex to overcome.


n 2018, the WWF presented a study on the environmental impact of Swiss watchmaking. As only six of the fifteen largest brands took part in the survey, the biggest takeaway was the industry’s lack of transparency in this area; given the climate of secrecy within the sector, it was based on relatively little public information. Unsurprisingly, brands that had been most active in communicating their environmental initiatives, such as IWC, were at the top of the list. But none of these watchmakers ranked as a “visionary” or “pioneer”, according to WWF criteria.

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