The landscape of watchmaking is evolving, and “green” watchmaking has taken center stage in recent years. As a new generation of watch enthusiasts enters the scene, the demand for eco-friendly timepieces crafted from sustainable materials and with minimal environmental impact is on the rise. In response to this growing demand, many watch brands have launched products that proudly embrace their eco-conscious manufacturing practices. However, in a world filled with eco-claims, transparency remains a concern, while longstanding brands are often confined by their heritage and tradition, making it challenging to embrace sustainable materials.
Enter ID Genève, a young Swiss brand founded in 2020 with an unwavering commitment to sustainability from the get-go. Their Circular watches embody the essence of circular ecosystems, emphasizing low environmental impact and a substantial use of recycled materials. The recent revelation that Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio has invested CHF 2 million in this brand is not only a pleasant surprise but also a logical step.
DiCaprio, renowned for his environmental advocacy, articulates his enthusiasm, saying, “As an environmental advocate, I am thrilled to be an equity investor in ID Genève. Their dedication to circular economy principles, sustainable materials, and innovation is truly inspiring, as is the headway they have made in such a short time. I am excited to support the team and the company’s growth as it drives change in the luxury industry and beyond.”
The Circular C, with its 41mm diameter and svelte 9.5mm thickness, is constructed from 100% recycled 316L stainless steel. This material first made its appearance in the Circular S collection, with the ‘S’ representing the solar furnace where the steel is melted, significantly reducing the environmental impact. According to ID Genève, this method reduces the carbon footprint by a factor of 165. The Circular C differentiates itself from the Circular S by introducing regenerative carbon material, developed in collaboration with Comp’Pair, sourced from turbine manufacturing waste, and incorporated into the bezel and case sides. These are the common impact points of a watch. While ordinary carbon is lightweight, it is susceptible to chipping and fracturing due to high impacts and shocks.
The regenerative carbon in the Circular C is nothing short of extraordinary. If the carbon elements suffer blemishes or chips, there’s no need for replacement. They can regenerate themselves. When heated, this material undergoes a healing process, reverting to its original form – almost like the resilience of human skin. Furthermore, it’s 100% recycled. In contrast, a typical ceramic or carbon component would usually end up replaced and discarded, generating waste. Regenerative carbon is also used for the dial, adding a unique aesthetic touch and contributing to a fully recycled watch body, including the case, bezel, and dial.
The eco-friendly ethos extends to the watch’s internals. Powering the Circular C is a refurbished ETA 2824 automatic movement. ID Genève has sourced overstock calibers that other watchmakers no longer use, meticulously disassembled, re-oiled, and reassembled them, thereby eliminating further waste.
Even the strap of the Circular C is a testament to sustainability. Crafted from Miratex™ textured material in black or white, it is made with FSC-certified natural rubber, cork powder, and various mineral colorants, avoiding the use of petrochemicals or plastic. The strap comes with a recycled ardillon steel buckle as standard. For an extra CHF 250, you can opt for a recycled steel deployant buckle.
We’ve covered the watch’s recycled components and minimal environmental impact in production. What about the packaging? When you purchase an ID Genève watch in a boutique like Watches of Switzerland, you’ll find it nestled in a box made from seaweed. During a demonstration at the launch event in New York City, the box was observed safely degrading in a beaker of water over the course of an hour-long presentation. For e-commerce orders, the watches come in a box made of compostable mycelium. It’s evident that ID Genève has considered every detail in their eco-conscious approach.
The ID Genève Circular C is now available as a limited edition of just 20 pieces, priced at CHF 5,540 (excluding VAT).