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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?

“Choose only one master – nature,” quipped the eponymous painter of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt. His words echo into the ether of the modern age today, as design and utility are tasked to embrace the effect of the planet, through each material output we produce as humans. Heeding the words of Rembrandt’s advice, the Swiss luxury watchmaking company, Ulysee Nardin makes a case for nature’s precedence and the power of the elements through the Freak X Collection. 

Going against  the grain, the Freak collection transforms the traditional role of the dial by totally eradicating the crown, the winding mechanism,as well as the hands, allowing for the central bridge to act as a minute hand and one of the wheels indicates the hours.

Redefining the capabilities of monitoring time, the Freak X beats at the intersection between artistry and craftsmanship, a best-selling model for the brand. But while the timepiece might be regarded for its incongruous approach, it deserves some credit for its composition too. 

Showcasing a durable 43mm Carbonium® matte finish titanium case, the Freak timepiece features a distinct black dial with a flying carousel movement that rotates around its own axis. But what exactly is this new element you ask? Carbonium®, a material composed of two thirds of carbon fiber and one third of high temperature epoxy. This new generation of material combines the performance of carbon fiber, robustness and light weight, a unique aesthetic look, and can be molded at high temperatures to manufacture parts in series, all of which can be done at a viable cost.

The environmental benefit of Carbonium® has been precisely calculated through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): for each kilogram of Carbonium® used, manufacturers reduce their CO2 emissions by 13kg, compared with using equivalent virgin materials. Thus, the lightness of the compound makes for a large watch, but with a surprising weight. So now you can read time differently, and feel good about it too. 

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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.