5 Best Eco-Friendly Watches in 2020: Time for the Planet

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Sep 03, 2020
model wearing nordgreen pioneer white dial against blue checkered shirt

Fashion doesn’t need to take a toll on the planet. These five watch eco-friendly watch brands know how to blend style and sustainability.

1.
  • You can preserve 50 square-meters of the South American rainforest by buying any Nordgreen watch
  • Nordgreen also partners with nonprofits that supply clean water in Africa and educate youngsters in India
  • The co2 created by the Nordgreen office and all watch shipments is 100% offset with the planting of new trees throughout the world
  • Get 20% off with code THEADULTMAN
2.
  • Certina partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy in 2017
  • The Sea Turtle Conservancy removes plastic from the Caribbean oceans and tracks the migration and hatching patterns of the world’s sea turtles
  • 300m water resistance, and an 80-hour power reserve Swiss automatic movement
3.
  • Eco-drive watches are solar-powered and don’t need batteries changed, which has eliminated tens of millions of lithium batteries from landfills in the US alone
  • Citizen Watch Co is incredibly transparent with their environmental impact, even noting the specific greenhouse gasses they know they’re responsible for creating
  • Very affordable options available
4.
  • Vincero recently partnered with Climate Neutral
  • They’ve committed to becoming 100% carbon-neutral through buying carbon offsets
  • Carbon offsets help fund renewable energy projects and carbon-capturing methods
  • Get 20% off with code TAM20
5.
  • A portion of the proceeds go to protect sea-grasses and aquatic life in Indonesia
  • Omega is also helping push the boundaries of flight as a main partner on Solar Impulse, the first solar-powered flight around the world
  • Grail-level pricing

It’s no secret that companies of the future will place environmental sustainability as a key pillar of their business-model.

The growing watch industry is proving to be quite progressive in addressing the changing climate.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22nd, 2020), we put together our five favorite eco-friendly watches.

Whether you’re looking to shop a brand that’s made sustainability a key part of their business, or you want to check out special edition watches that give back, we’re confident you’ll find a timepiece that suits you here.

The 5 Best Eco-Friendly Watches in 2020

1. Nordgreen Pioneer

nordgreen pioneer black dial stacked under white dial

How Does It Help?

Nordgreen was built with sustainability at their core.

Since the brand launched in 2017, they’ve partnered with three non-profits tackling several social issues so you can choose how you want to give back.

Nordgreen’s most ecologically minded program focuses on the rainforests. For every Nordgreen watch you buy, you can choose to have the brand donate to Cool Earth, which will preserve 50 square meters of the South American rainforest.

They’ve also partnered with two other non-profits focused on improving the living conditions around the world. For instance, one watch can supply a person in the Central African Republic with two months of clean water. The same watch can also cover the costs of educating a youngster in India for a month.

They go a step beyond giving back, too. Nordgreen is also committed to offsetting the emissions created by their headquarters and worldwide shipping operations by planting thousands of trees.

The brand just introduced a line of vegan leather straps that look and feel just as comfortable and classy as traditional leather straps, but don’t carry the same environmental or ethical burden.

What Reviewers Say

Six months ago, we reviewed their Pioneer and Native models. More recently, we took a close look at the Philosopher.

In both cases, we were impressed with the minimalist design and solid function.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Over 4,600 reviews through Feefo give Nordgreen a 4.5-star average. 385 Trustpilot reviewers give the brand a perfect five out of five stars, too.

People are getting behind Nordgreen’s social and ecological mission.

model wearing black dial pioneer

The Verdict

Nordgreen differs from other brands on this list: they were founded with giving back as a pillar of their business. They don’t have special edition watches that donate a portion of the proceeds—no, every timepiece serves a greater purpose.

And that’s just one reason we’re fans of Nordgreen.

Their minimalist aesthetic is what originally drew us to the brand—the eco-friendly mission is just icing on the cake.

As far as the watch goes, we like the domed sapphire crystal and meticulously designed dial of the Pioneer. If you prefer something more starkly minimal, check out the Native.

The hardest part about buying a Nordgreen watch is deciding which foundation to give back to. If you ask us, that’s a good problem to have when choosing your next timepiece.

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The Nordgreen Pioneer is an innovative take on the chronograph watch. Built like a classic aviator, but with modern Scandinavian design principles, this timepiece looks natural and elegant—and it pairs well in a casual and smart-casual wardrobe.

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2. Certina DS Action Diver

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How Does It Help?

Certina started making their popular DS Action Diver watches back in 1959, the same year the Sea Turtle Conservancy got their start.

While they’ve grown separately, in 2017 Certina and STC partnered up to help fund research on sea turtle migratory patterns and also remove garbage from the Caribbean ocean.

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This special edition DS Action Diver has the same colors as the Sea Turtle Conservancy and comes with a special case back and packaging. In addition to sponsoring a turtle, Certina donates a portion of their proceeds from this watch to STC.

It’s fitting that Certina makes such an effort to keep the oceans natural, as the DS Action Diver is a true dive watch that can handle some extreme environments.

With over 300m of water resistance and an 80-hour power reserve Swiss automatic movement, this watch is an excellent choice for divers, adventurers, and lovers of aquatic life. Oh, and watch-lovers, too.

What Reviewers Say

Certina has been around for over 60 years. That tells you at least something.

The general consensus from watch review experts is that, while Certina has been around for a while, they’re just now starting to hit their stride. And the DS Action Diver is the root of their revival.

It’s well built for adventure and handsome, too. While it’s a bit out of what most people consider affordable, it’s a high-quality timepiece that’s worth saving up for.

The Verdict

Certina watches aren’t the cheapest out there, but they don’t have the wild luxury premium other brands like Rolex carry.

If you’re a diver looking for a functional watch that gives back, this is your timepiece. The depth-rating is phenomenal, and other features like the sapphire crystal make this as stylish as it is progressive.

Certina DS Action Diver

If you’re a diver looking for a functional watch that gives back, this is your timepiece. The depth-rating is phenomenal, and other features like the sapphire crystal make this as stylish as it is progressive.

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3. Citizen Chandler Eco-Drive

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How Does It Help?

When Citizen launched their solar powered eco-drive quartz movement in 1995, they’d hit a major sustainability milestone.

By creating a watch that could run continuously for 180 days on a full charge, and keep ticking after that with even the dimmest light, they’d eliminated the need for disposable batteries.

It’s estimated that from 1995 to 2005, the solar-power tech that runs Citizen’s eco-drive watches removed over 100 million lithium batteries from dumps in the US alone.

And if these watches had that much impact in their first ten years, it’s hard to imagine what sort of impact they’ve had in the fifteen years since.

Beyond creating new renewable energy technology, the Citizen corporation keeps incredibly detailed records tallying exactly how much pollution and waste they create. And they publish it online for the public.

After spending some time looking through the individual charts and graphs, it’s clear the Citizen is making such an effort to measure their impact because they know they can do better. And they can teach other big corporations how to do better, too.

It’s one thing to talk about transparency. But Citizen takes transparency down to the detail level.

What Reviewers Say

Citizen is beloved by fans around the world. And the main reason is because they pack so much value into every watch.

While they have a wider variety than any of the other brands on this list, you can expect timepieces that function well, look decent, and don’t break the bank.

The Chandler has a 4.6-star average on Amazon, but if you’re looking for high praise for Citizen watches, just go to any watch forum and you’ll be sick of hearing about them after ten minutes.

The Verdict

Citizen watches are loved throughout the world because they’re simple, inexpensive, durable, and functional. We think some models are pretty cool looking, too.

The simple fact that they’ve devoted a branch of their company to identifying, tracking, and reducing their environmental impact shows us they care.

Through their horological inventions, they’re reducing the need to create waste and showing the world how to make a cleaner watch.

Citizen Chandler Eco-Drive

One of our favorite looking Citizen watches is also out to help the environment. The brand's Eco-Drive range removed over 100 million lithium batteries from dumps in the US alone.

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4. Vincero Vessel

closeup vincero vessel dive watch dial and hands

How Does It Help?

In April 2020, Vincero made a big announcement.

They’ve gone 100% carbon-neutral and are getting their certification through Climate Neutral.

While manufacturing and shipping watches around the world causes pollution, Vincero’s aim is to invest in renewable energy projects that prevent greenhouse gases from the start, and to plant thousands of trees to capture and convert the CO2 that’s created while running their business.

We’re far from a purely renewable energy world, but big leaps are made up of thousands of small strides.

What Reviewers Say

Vincero only has 21,000+ 5-star reviews on their site. We’d be more confident saying that the brand has a good handle on what makes their customers happy if they had 22,000 reviews. But with 21,000, it’s hard to say.

model wearing vincero vessel dive watch with green and white shirt

Oh wait. No, it’s not.

Vincero keeps growing because people love the style. All of their watches support Vincero’s carbon-neutral initiative, so if you want to check out other styles, read our fleet of in-depth Vincero reviews.

The Verdict

It’s nice to see some brands make special edition watches that support individual causes.

It’s even nicer to see brands commit profits from all their sales toward building a better future. Brands like Nordgreen and Vincero are doing just that.

If you’re a fan of the more hard-edged masculine look, Vincero makes a solid timepiece. The Vessel, with its 200m water resistance, is an excellent and inexpensive diver with a unique look.

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The Vessel puts a unique Vincero spin on classic dive watches. Rated at 200m water resistance and outfitted with a sapphire crystal, the Vessel marks a big leap in Vincero’s overall build quality.

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5. Omega Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Seamaster

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How Does It Help?

Oh, so you’re in the mood for a grail, are you?

Well, the Omega Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Seamaster might be the ticket for you.

For years, Omega has been using their position as a luxury Swiss watch brand to fund cool projects that push the boundaries of possibility.

First off, Buzz Aldrin was wearing his Omega on July 20th, 1969, when he stepped onto the freaking moon.

So that’s pretty cool.

In the past decade, Omega has aligned their sustainability efforts with legendary climate-activist director Yann Aurthus-Bertrand. Together, they’ve focused on sustainability education by creating two documentaries and creating school programs.

Beyond that, Omega also acted as a major sponsor and equipment supplier for Solar Impulse, the first solar flight around the world.

While the brand has a good track-record for finding climate-related projects to pitch in on, the Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Seamaster has a certain portion of sales donated to GoodPlanet.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers at Jomashop give the Omega Aqua Terra collection a 5-star average with 85 reviews. For many, owning an Omega is an aspirational goal. Let’s just say we know this from experience.

They’re the epitome of Swiss luxury and refinement, right up there with Rolex.

Previous buyers seem to understand that, while there’s a hefty price-tag, the quality is a cut above the rest.

The Verdict

The Omega Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Seamaster isn’t something you go out and casually buy if you’ve done a household budget within the past ten years.

But if you’re looking for a luxury timepiece that supports a worthy cause, Omega is one of the best brands you can turn to.

Omega Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Seamaster

The Omega Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Seamaster isn’t something you go out and casually buy if you’ve done a household budget within the past ten years.

But if you’re looking for a luxury timepiece that supports a worthy cause, Omega is one of the best brands you can turn to.

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Winding Down

If you’re looking to vote with your wallet and support a brand that’s making a difference in the climate, these are a few of your best options.

We love what companies like Nordgreen are doing—rather than creating a single limited edition watch that supports a cause, they’re building their business around a better future.

And it’s promising to see other brands like Vincero get in on the action. It’s proof that, while some brands didn’t launch with sustainability as a pillar, it’s never too late to make giving back a priority.

Citizen has been pushing watchmaking for years, and we expect them to stay progressive with their technology—plus their practical and high-quality watches are value-packed.

But if you’re ready to drop a pretty penny and see a donation to a worthy mission, Certina and Omega have a few options that will have you styling magnanimously.