This post was sponsored by Nordgreen, all thoughts my own. By taking on sponsored posts once a month I am able to offer ad-free content the rest of the month.
Once upon a time, there was a superstition that each watch made would hold a piece of the watchmaker’s soul in it. And that as soon as the watch stopped working, that small piece of their soul would be broken too, and disappear. This superstition was centred around the balancing wheel within the mechanical watch, which symbolized the watch’s heart or soul, given to the timepiece by the watchmaker.
With the soul of the world in strife, and watchmaking itself pulled back from the brink of extinction as a critically endangered craft, it becomes important to draw attention to the parts of our shared cultural heritage we are at greatest risk of losing.
In many ways, wearing a refurbished watch gives a watch, and the process of watchmaking, a new lease of life. Refiring the soul encapsulated in it with added care and the love of longevity.
NORDGREEN’S REFURBISHED WATCHES
Recently, Nordgreen introduced a new collection of refurbished watches (like the one pictured) giving new life to watches which have been used and returned, which they fix them up to the same standard as a new.
This significantly elongates the life of the minerals mined and materials farmed to create each watch and band. Offering an element of respect to the land on which all life relies. The rising popularity of refurbished products also reverts a trend in planned obsolescence practiced by other watchmakers and reduces overall waste and environmental footprint of the timepiece.
NORDGREEN’S COMMUNITY COLLABORATION
To add to the soul of the creation, Nordgreen has also begun to invest their profits in give back programmes which will regenerate soil and the communities who dwell in the places where their products are made.
Key partners include Water for Good, which work directly with locals to ensure clean water access for their communities. Cool Earth, which collaborates with Indigenous rainforest communities to halt deforestation and protect Indigenous land rights. And Prantham UK, a non-government organisation in India which collaborates with governments, communities, parents and teachers to heal gaps in the education system.
In 2020 alone they managed to participate with +64.000 months of drinking water to people in the Central African Repucblic, +33.000 months of education to children in India and +900.000 sqm of rainforest preserved in Latin America.
In their offices, Nordgreen creates in a facility powered by 100% wind power suppliers, using LED lighting and Energy Star-rated appliances. Their offices are low waste and carbon neutral and they contribute to agroecology offset programs to compensate for any emissions from that space.
When made new, the products themselves are manufactured under Danish labour practices. Their packaging is recycled cardboard exterior and the interior is made using up-cycled plastic bottles.
They are also working towards using better materials. An example can be their Nato straps which are made from 100% GRS-certified recycled nylon from post-consumer waste and their leather straps which are made from leather that is a by-product of the food industry.
Few brands producing products new are perfect. And Nordgreen is completely transparent about where they hold room for improvement and since being introduced to the brand in 2017 have made vast improvements. But they still have room to grow and despite this being a sponsored post to support their product, allowed me to publish the spaces I’d like to see that growth.
The leather is vegetable tanned aniline and semi aniline leather. The leather Nordgreen uses is from tanneries in Italy, which are all members of theLeather Working Group (LWG), AQC or has the ISO14001 standard. The raw cow hide is a byproduct from the food industry – meaning that no cows are slaughtered for their skin only.
In general raw leather hides are sold on large auctions. Here the hides are mixed together so it is almost impossible to trace the hides back to the farm where the animals were farmed.
Since the industry standard of leather production has been functioning in the same way for many years, with very little traceability, it is not something that can be changed overnight.
That said, Nordgreen does wish to improve on this point and their goal is to have 100% traceability in the supply chain. And for now they are proud to say that the 3 leather straps representing 85% of their total sales has the label of AQC, who actually do trace the leather all the way back to its origin.
Similarly, their vegan leather straps are not biodegradable. While the lining is made with a 100% recycled polyester, the binder and top layering is polyurethane and the backing is rayon (not biodegradable). .
On a positive note, Over 99% of the solvents used in producing the material are recaptured and recycled. Even though their vegan straps only count for around 5% of the total sales one can hope with the rise of mushroom leather or biodegradable cork, they will be able to source a vegan leather which is biodegradable, sometime in the future.
Another area where there is room for improvement is the traceability of the stainless steel which is cultivated in Australia through open pit mining. Similar to the leather supply chain, there is very little traceability due to how the material is sold and processed throughout the supply chain, and therefore it is very hard to track which exact mine in Australia the steel is from.
Nordgreen is already doing a lot of good things, and they are aware of where they can improve. Their transparency, accountability and collaborative approach, begins to turn back time on production. Bringing community back to production and production back to communities.