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Throwback Sundays: Six Watches with a Social Cause, from Our Archives

Buy good, feel good.
by Robin Lim on March 15, 2020
Reviews

It is always nice to purchase a new watch. But what if you are able to achieve a win-win situation, by doing good for a social cause at the same time?

In recent times, there have been a strong trend where brands in the luxury good segment partner with foundations or social impact organisations to produce limited edition timepiece to champion certain causes. This is partially due to a more favourable stance on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR, for short), or perhaps it is driven by a greater awareness of social issues. Either way, it is certainly a good opportunity to contribute and do good for the society.

So, what are some of the options available? How can you satisfy your gratification of getting a new timepiece, and yet doing a small part for the society? Let’s find out!

Oris Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II

The first watch that we have for this week’s column is the Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II, from Oris.

Launched in 2016, this timepiece is the second collaboration with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). The first collaboration was introduced in 2010, and the demand for the watch was phenomenal. The second iteration, notably, has big shoes to fill but fill it well it did!

The Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition II is based on Aquis, the diver’s watch collection from Oris. The watch features a stunning blue dial, with coral yellow accents to accentuate and remind collectors of the coral reefs. The 46mm timepiece is also rather solid in its built, in which it has a watch resistance of up to 500 metres.

Fitted with a Sellita-based movement, the diver’s watch features an additional day and date indicator. Only 2,000 pieces will be produced, each with a price tag of CHF 2,100 (approximately S$3,124). A portion of the profits will also be donated to AMCS for their conservation efforts as well.

Kurono Classic by Kurono Tokyo

The Japanese watchmaking scene had risen in popularity in recent years, but it is still showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, Kurono Tokyo is a new kid on the block that is offering something even more special than usual.

Created by the legendary Hajime Asaoka, the Kurono is an interesting take by the independent watchmaker to offer collectors a more reasonable option on his watches. The main focus here is on its design cues, and the quality of its finishing on the case, dial, and hands. Notably, Hajime fitted with the Kurono Classic with the top-end Miyota 90S5 Premium movement, to maintain its competitive price point without compromising on its quality.

Priced at S$2,998, the Kurono Classic is available in two limited edition models – each with 50 pieces only. This is not just a beautiful watch, but one that spreads the joy and spirit of watch collecting with modestly priced watches. On top of that, it is also nice to know that a portion of the sales proceeds are donated to Rainbow Centre Singapore and Ashinaga Africa Initiative as well. It is truly a special watch indeed.

IWC Mark XVIII “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”

IWC has been known for strongly supporting various causes over the last couple of decades, through its partnership with various foundations and non-profit organisations.

The Laureus Sport for Good is one of such partners. With an extensive partnership that dates all the way back to 2005, IWC had produced multiple limited edition pieces to support the foundation and its goals of using sports as a vehicle for social impacts for children. The Mark XVIII “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation” is one such timepiece, in which it differs from the regular production with a black ceramic case and blue sunburst dial. On top of that, as per every Laureus special edition, the caseback features an engraving of the winning entry of the drawing competition that IWC organizes each year within the organization’s supported programmes.

The Laureus edition of the Mark XVIII is priced at US$5,650 (approximately S$7,995), and it is limited to a production run of 1,500 pieces. This is perhaps one of our favourite Laureus edition watches amongst the many, and it is certainly nice to know that part of the proceeds will be used to support the foundation and its initiatives.

Breitling SuperOcean Heritage 44 Chronograph Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition

Breitling has been growing leaps and bounds in the past few years, following the appointment of George Kern which saw the brand reshuffling its focus and strategies. The new SuperOcean Heritage 44 Chronograph Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition is one of the results of the revamp.

The watch is a faithful extension of the hardy SuperOcean line, with a solid 44mm stainless steel case and a stunning dark blue ceramic bezel insert. This particular edition also sees a beautiful white dial which contrasts nicely with the blue bezel insert and accents on the dial. An additional noteworthy point to note is its NATO strap, in which they are made of ECONYL® yarn – an innovative material repurposed from nylon waste (such as fishing nets) and can be recycled indefinitely.

The SuperOcean – powered by the B13 Calibre (ETA 7750 base movement) – retails at S$8,550. Breitling will be contributing proceeds from the sale of the watches to conserving the oceans by supporting projects like the Bali beach clean-up that was organised in 2019. 

Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier

There is something about Chopard that sets it apart from the rest, but in a subtle and unassuming manner. Something that more than meets the eye.

The L.U.C Qualité Fleurier is an apt example of that. For the uninitiated, Chopard is known mostly for its jewellery and Mille Miglia collection. But the L.U.C arm (and Ferdinand Berthoud, arguably) is one of the best kept secrets in the industry. This particular piece – the Qualité Fleurier – is a little bit more special. It is one of the few watches that were awarded the “FQF, La Haute Horlogerie certifiée” – a prestigious certification that is awarded for accuracy and impeccable finishing. The L.U.C certainly did exceptionally well on those two fronts.

The latest version is a 40mm piece named the XPS Twist QF Fairmined (not pictured). Price at CHF 19,300 (approximately S$28,711), the watch surely gives its competitors a run for its money. In addition, we are also impressed with the Fairmine label – where the case is made from gold that are sourced ethically and responsibly. To be very honest, we can’t really think of many watches that can top this Chopard – not certainly at this price point.

F. Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1.4-4 “Night Star”

For the regular readers of Deployant, F. Berthoud is perhaps no stranger to anyone. It is one of our favourite watch maisons, and their creations are considered some of the finest in the industry.

For the 2019 edition of Only Watch, F. Berthoud had produced a special timepiece for the FB1 collection. Termed as the “Night Star”, the watch comes with a sandblasted anthracite-ceramised titanium case and a one-of-a-kind dial that features hands and numerical indices with applied Super-LumiNova. This is a first for the maison, but more importantly, the combination provides a stunning contrast against the rest of the watch.

The surprise does not stop there. The Calibre FB-T.FC-2 is certainly a visual treat as well, to say the least. Not only is the movement blessed with brilliant finishing and different technical bits incorporated, but it also features some of the most sought-after complications such as a giant tourbillon (measuring 16.5mm) and fusée and chain system. The movement from FB is surely one of best, if not the best, that we have seen in any timepiece.

This piece unique watch was sold by Christie’s in the Only Watch Auction on 9th November 2019 to support funding to fight Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a form of muscle degeneration that is currently incurable. The hammer price was CHF150,000 (approximately S$223,140).

Concluding Thoughts

These are just the tip of the iceberg – there are certainly many other watches out there that champions certain causes as well. The six watches, however, are just some of our favourites.

The key here is to purchase something you like, or a watch where its beneficiaries aligns with causes that you champion for. It will certainly be a great story to tell and who knows, maybe the others might be impacted and you might have just converted another person who wants to contribute to the society as well.

Finally, let us know what are your thoughts on our selection. Please share with us what some of the causes that you are passionate about, and what are some of such watches that you’ve purchased over the years as well. Who knows, we might just be able to inspire someone around the corner and make the world a better place to live in.

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