Five Watches Making a Positive Impact on the World
Let's be fair folks: in most cases, buying a wristwatch is, no matter the price, a luxury. Whether it's a $40 G-Shock or a $40,000 Moser, few people — if any — need a wristwatch. We buy these little marvels because we want them; they are an indulgence. You may be in some specialized professions where a watch is an essential component of your gear, but you'd be the exception, not the rule.
So if you're going to buy one, then it might just be worth it to look into timepieces and companies that make an effort to do some good in the world. Fortunately, some watch manufacturers — yes, even independent and microbrand makers — have taken on the challenge of trying to have a positive impact on our world. Here are five examples of independent and microbrand watches that, in some way, endeavor to do some good alongside making some excellent timepieces.
C65 Aquitaine by Christopher Ward
The Aquitaine was released earlier this year and is available in a variety of configurations, including a GMT, standard 3-hander, and a COSC-certified chronometer. The new timepiece isn't just a gorgeous unit (yes, I will be reviewing it), but is also part of CW's charitable efforts.
Previously, it was the limited-edition C60 Trident BLUE watch that led CW's partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, which 'fishes' for ocean plastic. The CW '#tide' straps that the BLUE watches are sold with are made from upcycled ocean plastic and CW donate £5 GBP from the sale of every strap to the Blue Marine Foundation.
With the release of the C65 Aquitaine, Christopher Ward have decided to donate 5% of proceeds from the entire Aquitaine collection to the Blue Marine Foundation.
According to Christopher Ward co-founder and CEO, “The Aquitaine is inspired by the coast where diver and environmental filmmaker Jacques Couteau was born. So it’s only right that we donate some of its profits to help BLUE’s work with marine habitats.”
The Oris Aquis Date Upcycle
Speaking of ocean plastics, let's talk about the Oris Aquis Date Upcycle.
The watch you see above is in my personal collection and is — in my humble opinion — the finest example of this dial I've seen so far. The fact that I was able to get it pre-owned is a major plus, but honestly, I would've eventually added it to my collection even at full retail.
The reason I mention that the dial is the finest example I've seen is because every individual dial on every individual unit in this series is complete unique. The reason for that is the dial is made from recycled ocean plastic. The PET plastic recycling process used by Oris produces completely random patterns, which means that no two dials on these watches are ever the same.
Available in 41.5mm and 36.5mm versions, the Upcycle isn't setting out to solve the problem of ocean plastic; in fact, only a small amount of ocean plastic is needed to actually make these dials. The intent is to call attention to the problem of vast swathes of garbage just floating in our oceans and in that regard, the Upcycle does a good job of showing one way of recycling and reusing all that trash.
Farer Aqua Compressor Lightweight Titanium
Farer makes some awesome watches that are on my "must buy" list. I already own the Farer Stanhope II, a limited-edition, vintage-inspired timepiece that I absolutely love and one that actually gets noticed pretty often. For their Aqua Compressor series, they collaborated with Scotland-based marine conservation charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.
For the first series of their efforts, Farer raised £22,500 GBP to help protect the fragile state of sealife in the Scottish Sea of the Hebrides. For the second series, they are aiming to raise more than twice as much with a target of £50,000 GBP.
The Aqua Compressor series is available now from Farer's site.
William Wood London Fire Brigade Commemorative Watch
The William Wood London Fire Brigade Commemorative Watch is currently available from William Woods' site. Created to support the London Fire Brigade's efforts to open a new museum, the watch features the service logo on the back.
But this is by no means the only bit of charity that William Woods engages in. Rather, like Oris above, they engage in charitable works around the world and deserve a mention here.
This British microbrand, based in London, supports the Fire Fighters Charity in the UK and the Bushfire Relief Fund in Australia, to name a few. They also created a one-of-a-kind watch, a stainless-steel Swiss-made watch by a British microbrand supporting the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an American charity, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Yeah. Let that sentence sink in just a bit.
The London Fire Brigade watch is now available (albeit with a bit of a long lead time) from William Woods' site.
Ocean Crawler Core Diver - Ukraine SE
Featuring the colors of the flag of Ukraine, this special-edition watch has been released by the Rochester, NY-based microbrand Ocean Crawler specifically to support Ukrainian families through the charity Alight. Alight is an NGO that helps displaced people — like those fleeing the war in Ukraine — build lives far from home.
The Core Diver Special Edition is a hardcore diver, not just a pretty face. it features a staggering 600 meters of water resistance, a sapphire crystal on the watchface and the bezel, a 44mm case made from 316L stainless steel case housing a Swiss Sellita SW200-1 movement. The case also features a helium escape valve, 15.6mm thickness, and a lug width of 22mm.
All of that and the watch retails for $999. Pretty impressive, given the specs; even more so when you factor in that 15% of the sales from this watch will go to the aforementioned charity Alight specifically to aid Ukrainian families.
The Ocean Crawler Core Diver is in stock now on their site.
I want to be clear about one thing: I am not suggesting that if you have some spare money and were thinking about donating it to a worthy charity, that you should instead buy one of these watches. No - go give that money to a good charity instead.
Rather, if you were eyeing a new timepiece and wanted a specific one - say, a GMT, instead. Something retro-styled, with a sapphire bezel like a vintage Blancpain. In black or a blue/cream combo. Well, that Orca Aquitaine from Christopher Ward might just be up your alley. If you were trying to decide between it and another piece, knowing that buying the Aquitaine would result in a donation to a good charity might help you walk away from that purchase with a good feeling.
It's also worth it to highlight when a company does do something good for the world. It encourages more companies to do the same and I think we all would like that very much.