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How watch companies are helping to save the planet –...
Watch Stories

How watch companies are helping to save the planet – IWC

Friday, 27 November 2015
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Carol Besler

“Watches are functional art.”

Carol Besler covers watches and jewelry worldwide.

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3 min read

The perils of climate change and poor environmental policies are well documented. There are a number of ways we can help save our planet, and watch companies are getting involved in the solutions. This is the fifth in a series of articles that explores that involvement.

IWC Pays Tribute to the Planet

IWC Schaffhausen produces serious dive watches that help make a serious difference to environmental causes. Since 2004, IWC has supported the Jacques Cousteau Society (JCS) and the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF). The JCS is dedicated to setting up marine conservation zones, by producing special editions with JCS themes. The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau is the sixth special edition to bear the name of Cousteau, and part of the proceeds of each sale goes directly to the Cousteau Society.

Since 2009, IWC has also supported the Charles Darwin Foundation, and is one of the five biggest donors. The CDF is an international non-profit organization that provides scientific knowledge and technical assistance to ensure the conservation of the Galapagos Islands, a biological marine reserve. The company has sold special editions of the Aquatimer watch to support its contribution each year. At the SIHH in 2015, IWC introduced eight new Aquatimer references, including three special editions dedicated to the Galapagos and the Charles Darwin Foundation. The highlight was the Aquatimer Expedition Charles Darwin Bronze. Bronze is especially ideal for diver’s watches, since it is uniquely salt-water resistant – in this case to 300 meters. The caseback bears an etched portrait of Darwin, who explored the Galapagos Islands in 1835. The other two Galapagos-themed Aquatimers are the Galapagos Islands 50th Edition, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Islands, and the Jacques-Yves Cousteau Edition, which commemorates the French researcher’s expedition to the Galapagos islands in 1971.

“The risk that the unique ecology of the Galapagos Islands could be irretrievably lost is something that should concern all of us, and we are proud to be able to support the outstanding work of the Charles Darwin Foundation,” says Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffausen.

Les raies léopards évoluent dans l’eau en levant et abaissant leurs nageoires pectorales

In-house, IWC has made environmentally sound decisions about its operations. The company has kept the energy consumed by its manufacture and headquarters constant since 2002. Reduced combined CO2 emissions on site by 10% in last four years. It was one of first companies in Switzerland to install heat pumps to use wastewater from the city’s sewers to heat and cool the new building it constructed in 2005. Rainwater is used for flushing toilets. Groundwater is used to supply the heat pumps. Electric cars are used by employees to travel between production sites.

In 2012, IWC received the prestigious Walpole Award for Excellence in recognition of its commitment to corporate social responsibility, which is presented to companies and individuals for exemplary promotion of sustainability practices. In 2013, IWC was awarded the Butterfly Mark by the company Positive Luxury for its outstanding commitment to sustainability. The trade journal Capital Finance International (CFI) presented IWC with its Best CSR Switzerland award in 2014. This prize recognizes companies that have a positive influence on their employees, their social surroundings and the environment.

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