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Environmental concerns in the watchmaking industry

by J.Peter

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This is a topic I have wanted to expound on in detail for quite a while but I have a hard time finding the information I need. Here are some thoughts, nothing here can be taken as the gospel truth, it is all educated hypothesizing.

Common thought would lead you to believe that a mechanical watch is more environmentally friendly because we all know that batteries and electronics are evil ;)

Quartz watches:

  • The process used for creating batteries and their disposal generates toxins?
  • Billions are produced every year and therefore billions end up in the trash each year?
  • The process for creating semi-conductors is detrimental to the environment?
  • Many are produced in China and therefore less concern is given to the environment in their production?
  • Seiko & Citizen have very favorable environmental reports on their websites.

Mechanical Watches:

  • Mining metals is much better for the environment than producing plastics? :(
  • Mechanical watches last longer and therefore fewer of them end up in the trash?
  • They require periodic cleaning with toxic chemicals? – These same chemicals are used to clean quartz watches when they are serviced.
  • I have not found any environmental statements from manufactures of mechanical timepieces outside of Japan.

I really want to be able to expound on this topic so if you have any insight as to the kinds of questions I should be asking and where I might find answers please let me know.

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One Comment

  1. valiko75
    Posted February 26, 2008 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately any industry harms our environment. Everything depends on the brand. Some watchmaking brands are really concerned with the issue. I’ve recently read Seiko will again reduce the environmental impact of its watches – it will use mercury-free batteries in advance of changes in button battery regulations in the world.

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