Header image courtesy of 2 Degrees East
If you consider the history of watches preserved as family heirlooms, analogue timepieces have always been associated with longevity, made to survive generations of use and wear. And now, as people are becoming increasingly mindful of how their personal style and accessory decisions impact the environment, sustainability has quickly gained prominence in the world of mainstream wearable devices in recent years.
We asked Hong Kong-based eco-friendly watch brand 2°EAST about why sustainability is the newest timepiece trend—and why you should hop on the bandwagon sooner rather than later!
There is nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect watch and paying top dollar for it, only to have it show signs of wear and tear or suddenly stop working soon after. With fast fashion watches, quality is oftentimes compromised in order to keep up with the demands of seasonal trends, making them more susceptible to damage, scratches, and premature wear.
In contrast, one overriding functional virtue of sustainably-minded timepieces is their longevity. Built to minimise environmental waste by lasting for many years, they are made with quality materials that are highly durable and resistant to rough treatment, so you don’t have to worry about replacing your watch anytime soon!
Sustainable practices might often be associated with luxury living, but in all likelihood, it works out to be the more economical option. While you might be paying more in the initial cost compared to that of your run-of-the-mill watches, the premium quality pays itself back in the long term by eliminating the need to make a new purchase every year or two.
That said, your mechanical timekeeper should not come at the cost of an arm or a leg. An effective sustainable business model—such as that of 2°EAST—differentiates itself by operating with a short supply chain. Reducing inventory turns and transportation frequencies, they are able to save on intermediary costs and sell first-rate products at a price that won’t scare most people off!
From hazardous wastes created in the plating process to excessive plastic packaging, the traditional watch industry is no small contributor to environmental destruction and climate change. Opting for sustainably manufactured alternatives can directly lighten your footprints on the planet and help relieve the burden on landfills!
Placing sustainability at the heart of its brand, 2°EAST espouses eco-friendly practices in every step of its product design, manufacturing, and distribution, right down to the finer details of packaging and materials. For instance, their conflict-free rose gold is applied using a zero-waste dry plating technique that diminishes emissions and waste, and results in a product that is 10 times more durable than traditional plating. Other sustainable materials that make up their product range include sapphire crystal, Italian vegetable-tanned full-grain leather, post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, and more.
Contrary to popular beliefs, going sustainable doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or versatility. A key factor in crafting a sustainable timepiece is an enduring design that transcends passing trends and fits in with any space. 2°EAST delivers that in spades with their exquisite, minimalist-chic watches, which are available in stainless steel- and rose gold-plated cases, and your choice of either a black or white dial.
Not only that, but the eco-watch brand also offers a whole host of easily interchangeable straps that allows you to mix and match and express your personal style. Options range from fun floral printed NATO straps and soft vegetable-tanned leather to fine stainless steel and rose gold mesh! Regardless of age or gender, there is bound to be something for everyone and any occasion.
The dirty truth behind the buy-and-toss culture is that its related industries are largely built on the backs of exploitative labour—and the watch sector is no exception. Perhaps the worst part is that due to convoluted supply chains and muddled accountability, consumers may be enabling and incentivising companies that foster inhumane labour practices without even realising it. By ditching the ethically fraught fast fashion industry and buying from a socially responsible brand instead, you can play a part in raising awareness towards the issue and protecting workers’ rights.
Advocating that sustainability and ethics go hand-in-hand, 2°EAST makes their product supply chain traceable and transparent to the public. To ensure that their practices are as ethical as possible, they make personal visits to the manufacturing factories and exclusively collaborate with suppliers that are committed to meeting the highest social and environmental standards.
Founded by Australian entrepreneur Sally Lim, Hong Kong-based watchmaker 2°EAST has recently launched to bring sustainability and ethical luxury into our hands and then onto our wrists. After labouring for years to find the most ethical and sustainable business framework, they finally landed on a solution that allows them to create top-quality, everyday watches at honest prices and, most importantly, without costing the earth! Making sustainability accessible to all, they boast a wide range of plastic-free watches and fun, interchangeable straps for men, women, and children alike.
Besides helping you look good and feel good, 2°EAST does good too! In an effort to further give back to the environment and community, they have partnered with Trees for the Future to plant 30 trees for every watch sold to help end hunger, poverty, and deforestation.
While fast fashion styles come and go, sustainability is a timepiece trend that is here to stay. Head over to 2°EAST’s website and get started on your journey towards more sustainable timekeeping!