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This is Greenwatch, a weekly insight into eco-friendly watch brands creating a space for a more sustainable future in watchmaking. 

How green are wristwatches? While it’s true that given the often hefty price tag, a watch harnessing a long lifespan, often becoming an heirloom, it’s eco-conscious capabilities don’t just stop there. While watch brands today are targeting the vital need to acknowledge their ecological footprint, this is often sought out through charitable allegiances and partnered campaigns for specific causes. 

The consumer demand for sustainability has forced brands to embrace, and with some haste, alternative approaches to lesser conscious history, which meant finally turning to watch materials. The advent of this came through watch straps and the soaring demand for plant-based methods that cause less harm and use less resources in the environment than leather straps. But what comes next?

“There is no going back – no matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer,” shared David Attenborough back in February last year, in an address to the United Nations. An omnipresent threat to our livelihoods, attempts to better the planet are blurred behind nimble attempts to make change. Shattering through the greenwashing screen, that places precedence on temporary betterment over long-term game, Citizen makes a case for a more benevolent method of watchmaking that contributes towards a healthier planet, at no cost of the aesthetic. 

In 1976, Citizen created the world’s first analogue light-powered watch. Think solar panels for your watch. Dubbed as ‘Eco-Drive’ technology, the light-powering pioneers discovered that even in the dimmest light, a watch could still generate energy. So what makes it tick? In an Eco-Drive timepiece energy is stored in a cell within the timepiece and with a power-reserve of at least 6 months these watches will carry on running, even in the dark.Eco-Drive is designed to convert both natural and artificial light into energy to power watches. Watches with Eco-Drive do not require any battery replacement, charging or winding to maintain constant operation.

Courtesy of Citizen

As long as there’s light in the sky, and your bulb isn’t broken, Citizen presents the watch that never stops, no matter where you are. In an Eco-Drive timepiece energy is stored in a cell within the timepiece and with a power-reserve of at least 6 months these watches will carry on running, even in the dark. Eco-Drive is designed to convert both natural and artificial light into energy to power watches. Watches with Eco-Drive do not require any battery replacement, charging or winding to maintain constant operation. 46 years on from the novel invention, Eco-Drive technology is at the core of Citizen watches, carving out a space in the future for an wholly sustainable world in watchmaking. We’re against the clock to save the planet, so the means in which we tell the time shouldn’t prevent the momentum, right?

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Scarlett is a writer, editor, and creative consultant specializing in art, fashion, culture and digital strategy. Drawing on her work from previous titles including Dazed, LOVE Magazine, The Perfect Magazine, AnOther and 1 Granary, as the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Hour, Scarlett is leading the editorial vision toward new territories providing an alternative lens of social commentary to recontextualize the world of watchmaking for the next generation.