Rob corder
WATCHPRO editor-in-chief and co-founder Rob Corder.

How green is your watchmaker?

CORDER’S COLUMN: How to spot greenwashing in the luxury watch industry

It has become more than just fashionable for watchmakers to publicise the smallest act of sustainability as a fundamental shift in their corporate cultures. It is a key plank of their marketing.

But does an occasional beach clean-up or making a niche line in watch straps made from old fishing nets qualify as a switch in core values towards sustainability, or does the luxury watch business need to go a whole lot further to avoid being accused of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is not a new phenomenon, but it has become more prevalent and sophisticated in recent years, as consumers have become more aware and demanding of ethical and ecological standards.

The luxury watch industry is not immune to this trend, as some brands have tried to capitalise on the growing interest in sustainability among their affluent clientele.

But how can you tell if a luxury watch brand is truly committed to sustainability, or if it is just using greenwashing tactics to boost its image and sales?

Here are some tips to help you spot and avoid greenwashing in the luxury watch industry:

Greenwashing is not only unethical and misleading, but also harmful to the reputation and credibility of the luxury watch industry.

It erodes consumer trust and confidence, and undermines the efforts of those brands that are genuinely committed to sustainability.

As consumers, we have the power and responsibility to demand more from the brands we buy from, and to reward those that are transparent and accountable.

By doing so, we can help create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for generations to come.

Join the Conversation


  1. Well said! Perhaps another question(s) to ask is, “Do I need this product at all? How much would it enhance my life, really?”

  2. Hi Rob,

    Very powerful ideas, and I am glad someone is talking about them. There are a few considerations that aren’t immediately obvious. Things like lab-grown diamonds consume huge amounts of energy, to produce artificial versions of crystals that already exist in vast quantities in vaults all round the world. I was also rather indifferent to claims by the likes of Panerai about the green credentials of their recycled steel. Steel is already the most recycled material on earth – not only that, but in order to refine and perfect a fully recycled version of technical grades of stainless alloy will likely take more melts and more assays (i.e. again consuming vastly more energy) than its “virgin” equivalent drawn from fresh sources. Also, we have to be careful not to argue mechanical watches out of existence by being too critical of the use of fresh resources. Still, as a proponent of vintage and antique things, there are plenty of lovely older watches to go round!

  3. Greenness is important in a product made in the millions, so an Apple Watch should be green.
    But I truly could not care less if my watch, which can be measured in tens of thousands per year, is considered green or not. I bought it to look at an item that is incredibly engineered and beautifully crafted. And I’d wager that the environmental impact of the luxury watch industry is as negligible as a gnat’s fart.

  4. Also the massive boxes some watches come with, even mid-tier brands like Longines use them. Totally unnecessary and definitely wasteful. Even lower end watches, often the microbrands, throw in all kinds of stuff that most people didn’t ask for, don’t need, and likely don’t want.

  5. If only people saw the environmental devastation wrought upon the Jura they would reconsider their purchase of a hand made watch! The deforestation to make way for watch factories, the ensuing desertification, pollution of waterways… It’s heart breaking

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