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?
As a result of Growing up in California, I have quite an affinity for the ocean. I spent my summers covered in sand and getting tumbled around by the waves whenever I attempted to surf. The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo were amongst my favorite films. From a young age, I learned the importance of ocean conservation, and as I have gotten older and far more educated about climate change – the urgency of it all feels quite tangible.
The Swiss luxury watchmaking brand Blancpain also understands the urgency of protecting our beloved oceans. Blancpain solidified its status as a leading watchmaker in 1953 when they debuted the first modern diving watch: Fifty Fathoms. Ocean exploration and preservation is core to Blancpain’s brand ethos and so the Blancpain Ocean Commitment was created.
Blancpain has consistently supported oceanographic initiatives and partnerships with leading organisations, including Pristine Seas expeditions, Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa project, the World Ocean Initiative. This support has significantly contributed to the extension of the surface of marine protected areas around the world, with more than 4 million km2. Additionally, in partnership with Coralive.org, Blancpain initiated an experimental coral restoration project using the Mineral Accretion Technology in 2018. The project included the scan of more than 700 hectares of seabed around Fregate Island in Seychelles to establish a biodiversity baseline of the coral reef.
In 2018, Blancpain released a limited edition of their Fifty Fathoms watch. Blancpain committed to donating 1,000 euros for the sale of each watch, implying a total of 250,000 euros added to Blancpain’s much larger investment in support of ocean conservation. The Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III features the defining characteristics of the original 1953 model, including a reliable self-winding movement, caliber 1151, which maintains a four-day power reserve. Offered in an exclusive 40 mm-diameter satin-brushed steel case, the watch is a beauty in the water and on land. Alternatively, Blancpain has a vast Fifty Fathoms collection of diving watches including the Bathyscaphe and Fifty Fathoms Automatique models starting at roughly $10,000.
Blancpain makes a spectrum of timepieces suitable for diving and everyday use including the striking, vintage-inspired pieces in the Air Command collection and the elegant Ladybird collection of women’s watches. The brand’s commitment to protecting the earth and its natural resources is inspiring and makes their watches even more stunning.