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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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