Nowadays, you can see various watch brands create references that are stylish, sleek, and friendly to the environment. From rechargeable batteries to synthetic leather straps and reused metals, these environmentally-friendly innovations give their respective timepieces more meaning as brands made them with an invaluable cause in mind. It just goes to show that a difference can be made by anyone if they truly put their heart into it. That said, if you are currently looking for a way to help the planet while also getting something in return, we have provided you with a list of the 20 best chic and eco-friendly watches guaranteed to up your class while still contributing to Mother Earth.
Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches
Today, with so many brands getting into the green industry, there are many eco-friendly watches that can be found on the market. With so many different models to choose from, it would be futile to list down every green timepiece we come across. Instead, we will narrow it down to a list of just 20. Here is a gorgeous selection of some of the best eco-friendly watches out there. Bear in mind that the list is in no particular order and that the prices stated below are only approximate values.
1. Nordgreen Pioneer – $325 USD
Nordgreen is a Scandinavian brand famous for manufacturing eco-friendly watches. For the first model on this list, we have their lovely award-winning piece — the Nordgreen Pioneer. Aside from its stunning and sleek aesthetics, the Nordgreen Pioneer also comes with a number of environmentally friendly components. Conceptualized by Danish designer Jakob Wagner, the timepiece utilizes a structure made from conflict-free and non-toxic minerals and materials. In addition, the packaging for this fascinating piece is made of FSC-certified cardboard, a kind of cardboard approved by the Forest Stewardship Council as being sustainably sourced.
It doesn’t just stop there, either. After a Nordgreen Pioneer piece is purchased, some of its proceeds go to the support of three causes that wearers can choose between. These causes include: providing clean and drinkable water for those in Central Africa, funding the education of underprivileged children in India, or preserving 50 sqm of rainforests in Latin America. Coupled with its sophisticated and professional look, this is one of the best eco-friendly watches that you can bring to a fancy dinner or to your workplace.
2. Solios Solar – $270 USD
Solios is a certified Canadian B Corporation that, as they say, does things differently. The company’s goal is to restore rainforests with every watch purchased. One of their bestsellers is the Solios Solar. Manufactured using sustainable and hypoallergenic materials such as recycled stainless steel and silicone, which is used to make its vegan strap, the Solios Solar combines a handful of perks with a green thumb. This watch uses a powerful solar battery that can last up to 50 years, and like all modern solar batteries, it can use any source of light as a means for charging. Other than being beautiful to look at, the Solios Solar is also resistant to dust, ink, heat, and has a water resistance rating of 30m. As a brand, Solios allocates some of its profits to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Rainforest Trust. It is a company that dedicates itself to the environment in every way, and Solios Solar is a perfect encapsulation of that ideal.
3. Citizen Super Titanium Armor – $440 USD
Knight in shining armor? How about a Citizen in Super Titanium Armor? Indeed, as the name suggests, this is an astounding eco-friendly watch to behold. From the pioneers themselves, Citizen brings us one of the latest additions to their Super Titanium series. Like armor forged by seasoned blacksmiths, this watch looks sleek, well-made, and impenetrable. The Super Titanium Armor sports a sustainable and hypoallergenic titanium case and utilizes the brand’s patented Eco-Drive system. With this, the watch will not be needing a battery replacement anytime soon because it relies entirely on light to recharge it.
On the whole, Citizen is a brand you can trust when it comes to environmental impact. Not only are they transparent about their processes, they even painstakingly list down all the greenhouse gases they emit for their buyers’ perusal. Many of their watches are also equipped with their Eco-Drive system, such that they are charged using solar power instead of disposable batteries.
4. TRIWA Humanium – $300 USD
Everywhere around the world, illegal firearms make their way through the borders of countries and harm the people that inhabit them. As authorities risk their lives confiscating these life-threatening weapons on a day-to-day basis, TRIWA makes sure that none of them goes to waste. The brand’s Humanium line consists of models made entirely out of recycled metals procured from illegal firearms. Furthermore, for every Humanium watch sold, TRIWA gives 15% of their profits to victims of armed violence. Striking and robust, just like the guns they came from, the TRIWA Humanium is an exceptional eco-friendly timepiece and a symbol of peace.
5. Tense Cambridge Chrono – $270 USD
The Tense Cambridge Chrono is an unusual and high-quality wooden timepiece that exudes natural beauty. While it does run on a lithium-based Miyota 0S90 movement, its exterior consists wholly of recycled or reclaimed wood. For its strap, Tense offers recycled wooden bracelets as well as vegan leather. As a member of the 1% For The Planet partnership, the brand also pledges to donate 1% of its profits to the National Forest Foundation, Conservation International, Surfrider Foundation, and other green organizations worldwide.
6. Omega Aqua Terra 150m GoodPlanet Seamaster – $10,000 USD
If you are looking for a luxury diver’s watch that delivers a healthy and supportive impact on the environment, then Omega might have just the timepiece for you. In collaboration with the GoodPlanet Foundation, Omega designed and created the Aqua Terra 150m GoodPlanet Seamaster — a stunning wristwatch dedicated to the conservation of the environment. Aside from bearing Omega’s latest horological technologies, this Aqua Terra also boasts a hypoallergenic grade-5 titanium case. Furthermore, a portion of the Aqua Terra 150 GoodPlanet Seamaster’s sales goes towards GoodPlanet, allowing the organization to fund programs aimed at preserving aquatic life.
7. Vincero Vessel – $230 USD
Back in 2019, Vincero announced that they have gone 100% carbon-neutral. While all their watches support their new and eco-friendly business practices, the Vincero Vessel stands out as one of their bestsellers. With a stainless steel bronze-colored case, sapphire glass, and silicone strap, the Vincero timepiece is both reliable and good-looking. As the brand continues to produce and transport their beloved watches to the world, they make up for their carbon emissions by investing in carbon offsets. For those who are not so familiar with carbon offsets, they are essentially reductions of carbon emissions or other greenhouse gases, in order to compensate for other emissions. In a sense, it is like making up for a wrong deed with a good one.
8. TIVC 36mm Watch – $145 USD
TIVC takes pride in making gorgeous eco-friendly watches that are ethical, cruelty-free, and vegan. Their 36mm watches make use of natural materials and recycled metals, all of which they ensure do not contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). This means that any harmful chemicals such as mutagens, carcinogens, and other toxic substances are guaranteed to be absent from TIVC’s watchmaking process. Furthermore, the packaging for their watches is 95% compostable and recyclable, while 5% is usable. Lastly, TIVC makes sure to donate 10% of its annual profits to environmental organizations and animal welfare. Talk about a brand that really walks the talk when it comes to saving the environment.
9. Certina DS Action Diver – $870 USD
The Certina DS Action Diver is an adept diver’s watch made for a good cause. As mentioned previously, Certina is a watch brand affiliated with the Sea Turtle Conservancy organization, and the Certina DS Action Diver was created in honor of that partnership. For those who are not aware, the Sea Turtle Conservancy tracks turtles and learns their migration patterns while also working to rid the Caribbean oceans of plastic. Bearing an outstanding water resistance capacity of 300m and a Swiss automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve, this fascinating watch is definitely something you want to bring with you wherever you swim. Who knows? You might even get the approval of some sea turtles as well.
10. Ksana Jet Black Watch – $105 USD
Minimalistic to its core, the Ksana Jet Black boasts an understated aesthetic and eco-friendly components. Crafted entirely out of synthetic dyes and materials, the Ksana Jet Black is as friendly to animals as it can get. This Ksana watch comes in a stainless steel case and is equipped with a Japanese caliber and scratch-resistant glass. While this watch can last a long time, wearers can also return this timepiece at the end of its service for recycling or upcycling. Finally, 1% of the proceeds Ksana gets from selling watches goes to various environmental causes.
11. Casio G-Shock Frogman – $1,200 USD
As we all know, G-Shock watches are some of the sturdiest things on the planet—kind of like the Nokia 3310. Apart from being incredibly resilient, the G-Shock Frogman is also a highly sustainable watch. Each Frogman utilizes Casio’s Tough Solar technology, allowing the timepiece to charge itself using solar power. Combining unmatched durability and an innovative design, Casio created the G-Shock Frogman to last a lifetime, which also reduces wastage since you will not find yourself constantly having to replace damaged watches.
12. Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean” – $800 USD
The Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean” line is a series of eco-friendly watches made in collaboration with Fabien Cousteau. For those not in the know, Fabien Cousteau is the grandson of world-famous French conservationist Jacques Cousteau. Together with the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre, Seiko continues to help raise awareness about and create a positive impact on the world of aquatic life. The Seiko “Save The Ocean” series offers three kinds of Prospex watches: Turtle, Samurai, and Solar. Of course, Solar comes with the perk of being solar-powered, which is beneficial to the environment. In addition, each of the three models utilizes the non-toxic and eco-friendly LumiBrite technology for their hands and hour markers.
13. Oris Aquis Clean Ocean Limited Edition – $2,300 USD
Amidst the vast population of Oris’ Aquis collection is the limited edition Clean Ocean watch. Made in partnership with Pacific Garbage Screening, Oris aims to support the organization in removing plastic waste from the ocean and converting it into energy. Aside from being robust, beguiling, and having an excellent water resistance capacity of 300m, the watch also bears something else that is incredibly unique. On its caseback is a vibrantly designed token made from recycled PET plastic. As a finishing touch, Oris delivers this timepiece in a box made from a combination of recycled plastic inlays and eco-friendly algae.
14. Breitling Superocean Heritage 57 Outerknown – $4,380 USD
The Superocean collection has been a Breitling staple for as long as we can remember. As part of its efforts to help the super oceans of planet Earth, Breitling developed the Superocean Heritage 57 Outerknown. Produced in collaboration with Kelly Slater’s surfwear brand, the Superocean watch showcases a strap made from ECONYL yarn—a material recycled from nylon wastes (such as fishnets) procured from the ocean. Additionally, Breitling also donates some of its proceeds to charities and environmental conservation efforts.
15. Woodstone Craftmaster – $150 USD
For another timepiece crafted from sustainable wood, have a look at the Woodstone Craftmaster. Despite being made from recycled wood, the Craftmaster is sophisticated and has a sturdy and well-built structure throughout. This Woodstone watch comes in a 316L stainless steel case and is equipped with sapphire glass and a Swiss Ronda 515 quartz movement. As part of Woodstone’s environmental efforts, for every Craftmaster piece purchased, the brand plants a tree in their name. By partnering with Trees For The Future, the company also helps in providing sustainable jobs to farmers in Africa.
16. TRIWA SUB Ocean Plastic – $160 USD
Aside from their Humanium line, TRIWA also offers a selection of diver’s watches made comprehensively from recycled ocean plastic. On top of being very ocean-friendly, the SUB Ocean Plastic is also quite resilient. With a durable plastic case, a rotating bezel, a highly reliable movement, and 100m of water resistance, this TRIWA timepiece has everything an eco-friendly diver needs.
17. Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Carbonium Gold – $19,250 USD
Made from carbon and gold, the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X blends the best of Haute Horlogerie with ethical sourcing. When acquiring their gold, Ulysse Nardin makes sure to abide by the Kering Responsible Gold Framework (KRGF). This allows the brand to procure gold sustainably, which is quite an uncommon practice for many other luxury brands that also use gold in their timepieces.
18. Mondaine Essence – $355 USD
Mondaine is a watch brand that proudly carries the title of being the first Swiss manufacturer to develop eco-friendly watches. Created using raw materials such as castor oil, wood, and corks, their Essence lineup showcases a classic design with sustainable features. Each Essence model bears a water resistance capacity of 30m and comes with a unique strap.
19. Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic Watch – $995 USD
Fond of the color black? Take a good look at the Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic Watch. This timepiece has a stark, dark design that makes use of ocean wastes throughout its structure. For instance, the case is made from a blend of stainless steel and ocean plastic. The crown comprises a mix of steel, black DLC coating, and ocean plastic inlay. Lastly, its sturdy strap is made of hand-braided ocean plastic. The brand also ships these eco-friendly watches in boxes created from recycled paper.
20. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III – $17,100 USD
For the most luxurious watch on this list, we have the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III. Highly adept and with a clear purpose in mind, this Blancpain timepiece is expensive for a very good reason. For every model sold, Blancpain had pledged to donate 1,000 Euros, or $1,171 USD to ocean conservation. This is a limited-edition timepiece, so with 250 models manufactured, the brand is able to accumulate a total of 250,000 Euros, or $292,950 USD, for ocean conservation efforts.
A History of Watchmakers Going Green
During the 1970s, enthusiasts, collectors, and the general public were already getting used to the concept of quartz watches. Being more precise and less expensive, people would frequently opt to have a timepiece run by a quartz movement, rather than a mechanical counterpart. After a few years of its release, quartz watches began to dominate the market. One advantage of this new-fangled timepiece was that wearers no longer had to wind their wristwatches over and over again. Instead, with quartz watches, they simply had to replace the batteries every now and then. Of course, people viewed it as a pretty simple compromise for something so affordable.
However, this led landfills and dumpsites to overflow with used lithium batteries. From an environmental perspective, quartz models were certainly doing more harm than good, as they created more unnecessary waste than the old mechanical watches did. At some point, however, this problem turned into an opportunity for brands to produce more appealing and eco-friendly watches. In 1976, the Japanese watchmaking brand Citizen led the charge by introducing the world of horology to the Crystron Solar Cell.
The Crystron Solar Cell was a wristwatch that powered and charged itself through the use of light. Unlike solar-powered models that rely on sunlight, the Crystron Solar Cell could charge itself using any form of brightness, even artificial sources. Since it came with a rechargeable power cell that did not have to be constantly replaced, the Citizen timepiece became an excellent start for an eco-friendly horological future. Citizen released the Crystron Solar Cell in 1976. However, this timepiece was unsuccessful, due to its lacklustre ability to generate an ample amount of energy. But during the 1980s, the industry managed to create thinner solar cells that could harness energy from any light source, not just natural light. In addition, these new solar cells had a power cell that could store even more energy. Thanks to these advancements, Citizen was able to make some innovations and improvements to their concept. In 1986, the brand ushered in a new model that could run for eight days on a single charge. The new model was an exceptional timepiece that could be easily integrated into everyday life. By 1995, Citizen had developed another model which featured a lithium-ion battery and a 6-month battery life on a full charge. The 1995 model was considered a landmark achievement for the brand and was a catalyst for Citizen’s world-renowned Eco-Drive system. As Citizen’s Eco-Drive watches were commercialized and gained fame across the watch community, other brands also started to experiment with some eco-friendly watches of their own.
In the early 1990s, Seiko introduced the world to environmentally-friendly LumiBrite technology. Essentially, the LumiBrite is a kind of lume that contains no toxic components or radioactive substances. Once exposed to any source of light for a few minutes, Seiko’s LumiBrite can light up the watch for hours. Like all variations of watch luminescence, the brightness of LumiBrite lume may differ depending on two factors: how close the timepiece is to the light source and how bright the overall location is. Seiko has relied on the LumiBrite technology’s capabilities ever since and continues to utilise it in their models to this day.
By 2021, many new eco-friendly watch brands have started to emerge. These companies produce environmentally-friendly timepieces and spread the awareness that it is possible to make a gorgeous watch without exploiting the environment. Nordgreen, Solios, TIVC, TRIWA, Ksana, and Tense are but a few of this caring and innovative green watch brands. While not all watchmakers have chosen this path, some prolific companies like Omega and Certina have also supported and come up with eco-friendly watches for the cause. In addition, Timex has recently teased a new lineup of watches which they proclaim to be their most sustainable and earth-friendly selection to date. As the industry continues to grow, the hope is that more watchmakers will join the rest of the world in saving and maintaining the evergreen beauty of our beloved planet Earth.
What Makes a Watch “Eco-Friendly?”
Like with every other environmentally-friendly product, there are a few key factors that contribute to making eco-friendly watches.
Materials and Resources
Anyone who is interested in saving the environment should do their research on what materials go into whatever product they are buying. Eco-sensitive wearers would find conventional materials like leather and non-biodegradable plastic a big no-no. For brands seeking to create watches that do not harm the environment, they can rely on alternative, environmentally-friendly materials that are just as good in quality. These materials include recycled metals and wood, synthetic leather, rechargeable solar batteries, silicone, and so on.
If brands have the drive to take their support to the next level, their dedication should also be reflected in their business practices. Even if companies were using environmentally-friendly materials for their watches, it would not make a big difference as long as these brands continued to process, create, or deliver their eco-friendly watches through harmful means. A classic example of ethical and sustainable business practice is developing packaging made out of recycled materials. Having this kind of procedure eliminates wastes and the use of earth-damaging materials like styrofoam and plastic.
Sometimes, eco-friendly watches can do more than just reduce, reuse, and recycle. For instance, brands like Citizen and Casio have developed models that utilize solar cells. Solar cells have the unique ability to generate power out of sunlight. Because these eco-friendly watches only need light to charge themselves, there is no need to ever have the battery replaced. As a result, it lessens the amount of lithium-based battery wastes in landfills and raises awareness of solar power and its benefits.
One last but crucial consideration: are the profits from these watches going to a good cause? Certina acts as an ideal example of this factor. In 2021, Certina created a limited edition diver watch to commemorate its partnership with the Sea Turtle Conservancy organization (STC). Aside from the new Certina model bearing the STC’s sea turtle logo, a portion of the proceeds will also be dedicated to the important cause of conserving sea turtles. Indeed, Certina’s love of turtles dates back to the genesis of their tried and tested DS concept. To showcase Certina DS’s reliability, Certina used a green turtle as the logo for the DS design to symbolize longevity, which makes their association with the STC even more poignant.
Investing in a watch is something watch fanatics, enthusiasts, and collectors do all the time. So, why not invest in a timepiece that can help save the planet? Good-looking, diverse, durable, and reliable, these eco-friendly watches we have listed above are worth every single hard-earned penny. By purchasing one of these watches, you are not just upscaling your style and making a fashion statement. No, you are doing far more than that. By purchasing one of these eco-friendly watches, you are also making a difference that could affect the lives of every single being on this planet.
Need a stunning piece for formal occasions? Have a look at what many would consider one of the greatest Patek Philippe watches ever made, the Patek Philippe 5970
Featured Image By: Solios Watches