With CSR as the new luxury trend, it’s not surprising to see a whole host of watches declaring themselves to be ‘carbon neutral’. Perhaps the top-down trend will show results, with leadership starting to come from a variety of luxury brands (like LVMH’s Veuve Clicquot, previously mentioned). Certainly IWC’s ‘Climate Action’ edition of their Ingenieur line will be an aspirational token for the few, with slick design and only 1000 pieces to be sold. Part profits will go to NGO The Climate Group, and just in case you forget which cause you’re supporting they’ve engraved it on the back for you.
However, it might just be outdone by Wyler Geneve’s GMT, which not only claims to have a well-designed and cutting edge watch but that its entire production is carbon neutral. Certified by the CarbonNeutral Company, it is the first watch to be able to claim this. But with the company essentially just calculating the emissions then paying offsets, not much has changed in actually design and manufacturing – wouldn’t it be nice if their whole product line followed?
That’s what Citizen, slightly lower in the luxury stakes, has been aiming for with its Eco-Drive brand. Watches in this line use solar energy to keep their batteries charged, meaning that ‘you’ll never have to change your watch battery again’. It’s not going to win any design awards and could be pushing the ‘a little bit goes a long way’ philosophy, but it’s novel, and likely to get them a little more custom.
The main impression that I get is that, in timepieces at least, it’s a lot of green-washing for sales and not much overall consideration of environmental impact.
[First posted on http://katherineliew.wordpress.com]