OK, it isn’t much but it is a start. You have to admire Joago, who, like many other watch brands, are deeply aware of how wasteful mass consumer goods production really is.
This stuff matters because in the 2020s we are going to see lots of activists attacking the jewellery and watch industry as an essentially white-privileged, elitist sector of the global economy. So, creating straps and cases from recycled materials shows a commitment to change the way watches are made, which helps the circular economy of course so you actually reduce product miles, stop pillaging raw materials at the usual rate, and boost local employment, assuming you can actually manufacture cost-effectively in your home country that is.
There are three Joago models on Kickstarter right now. Top of the tree is the solar powered Soleos model, with a Seiko/Epson cell inside its recycled stainless steel case. Then there’s the quartz Eos, which also comes with a vegan velvet strap option by the way, so you can tick another box and reject leather products.
At the budget end of the range there is the Terra quartz model, with a choice of straps; recycled steel, recycled pineapple waste, vegan velvet and recycled ocean plastics – all that for just $95 on the early bird offer.
Joago claim that their Soleos model will last a lifetime but as any Citizen Eco-Drive owners knows, that isn’t true – you cannot defeat physics. That said, this sort of marketing and manufacturing strategy is right on the money for younger watch buyers of course and at $229 on the early bird deal the Soleos is great value – also features a sapphire crystal. You can only admire the Joago recycling policy and hope other watch brands begin to reform their supply chains, stop using child labour in China and elsewhere, source batteries from mines where the zinc is extracted with some responsibility for the environment and so on.
Most of all, the watch industry needs to end its love affair with cheap, disposable quartz movement watches, because the waste button battery cell mountain alone must be millions every year. Automatics and mechanicals, with regular servicing, DO last a lifetime and the industry should be shouting that fact from the rooftops.
As a footnote, check out this Dutch plastic recycling barge which can work a river, save the fish and local plant life, plus harvest that waste plastic for more watch straps. It’s all good we say.