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The Watch Industry Lacks Transparency. That Is Changing.

  • April 12, 2021

Similarly, in November, Ulysse Nardin introduced an upcycled concept watch called the Diver Net, featuring a case and bezel made from recycled fishnets and a strap made of recycled plastic from the sea. In press materials, the company shared the names of its suppliers.

“We didn’t try to pretend we were making it ourselves,” said Patrick Pruniaux, Ulysse Nardin’s chief executive. “You have to do things that inspire others.”

That philosophy also is espoused by its parent company, Kering, the Paris-based luxury group — which also owns Gucci, Boucheron and 10 other high-profile brands — that has earned a reputation for transparency and activism in a sector not known for either quality.

Kering has gone this way, at least in part, because it has an eye on what its buyers — and potential future buyers — want.

“All over the world,” Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, said on a video call last month, “you have millennials and Gen Z [customers] asking more questions and wanting more answers with more details.”

Claudio D’Amore, a watch designer based in Lausanne, is one of the few Swiss watch executives to welcome such scrutiny. In 2016, he created a crowdfunded brand called the Goldgena Project, later renamed Code41, whose radical approach to transparency was a response to the industry’s long-simmering debate over the Swiss Made label.

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