Watches and sustainability

So far, 2021 has also been the year of the green watch, and not just in dial colors from lime to pine. The young year not only brought about a large number of green dials in the new launches (just think of the new Nautilus from Patek Philippe), but also initiated a decisive movement towards sustainability in the watch industry.


Mechanical watches are inherently sustainable objects that should last for decades or more, and even outlive their original owners. To take the concept one step further, watchmakers are trying to incorporate sustainable manufacturing methods wherever they can, using technologies and practices that range from solar energy to recycling.

It is not always easy to be green, as a famous frog once said. In an industry steeped in luxury and durability, rummaging through the recycling bin to make new products may not always be entirely appropriate for the brand. But times and consumer tastes are changing.

Probably the most interesting thrust — the use of recycled materials — comes from Panerai. Panerai made sustainability its main theme this year and introduced a strictly limited concept watch from the Submersible line that is made from 98.6 percent recycled materials. Along with the new submersible concept, Panerai also published the list of suppliers and the specific contributions of each company to the end product. This deliberate disclosure of the product is an invitation to other watch manufacturers to follow suit and improve their sustainability program. After all, the influence of a single model from a luxury watch manufacturer — albeit a popular and well-known — can only go so far. This watch could also be very interesting from an investment perspective.

On the more commercial level, Panerai introduced a new alloy, eSteel, which makes it possible to manufacture watches based on recycled material for widespread use. The Luminor Marina eSteel, which will be available from October, is not made from 98.6 percent recycled materials (89 grams of the components are made from recycled materials, which is 58.4 percent of the total weight), but it shows that circular manufacturing for luxury watch manufacturers on a larger scale is possible. We can look forward to further concepts.