October 24, 2009
by Ariel Adams
Made for a man, sized for a woman? Apparently that is what Swedish watch designer Gabriel Arlanch had in mind when making his first watch, the Arlanch Gold Watch No 1 as it is 32mm wide. Little! Sorta kid sized, or lady sized. Maybe I am getting it all wrong and this is a woman’s watch. The was was announced mid last year, but this is the first I have heard of it. Aside from the passable looks, the real press release filler for the watch is it’s eco-friendly features. Also, if the watch is Swedish, why does it say “Made in Germany” on it? Swedish design. Swiss movement, Germany manufacture. At least it looks that way.
First the 14k gold case is make of recycled gold. Not sure what the means, but I think that “recycling gold” is more a business than it is being eco-friendly. Maybe the gold is taken from industrial use, which is possible. Though I don’t consider women selling their jewelry to avoid their houses being foreclosed exactly Earth preservation inspired. Then you have the leather strap that has all sorts of eco item such as a PCP and carcinogenic free dyes, rubber based glue, and a non allergenic leather lining. Again, I have to admit I have no idea how much of this is particularly Earth friendly. Perhaps the leather strap is bio degradable? As for the dye being PCP free, yea I should hope so. The PCP I know is that crazy “I can fly if I jump off buildings and bullets don’t kill me” drug. There is probably some other type of PCP out there.. but I imagine I wouldn’t like it either, and I’ve never heard of any other watch that has problems with the dyes in the leather straps. If you are allergic to leather, and somehow this is a hypoallergenic leather strap… just learn where Arlanch gets its straps.
There is also the ETA 955.412 quartz movement that is made without lead or mercury. This actually represents most modern quartz movements that you’d buy – so again, really nothing special. Plus the ETA 955.412 movement used isn’t modified or anything, it is just your basic Swiss quartz movement un “ecosized” for this purpose. Oh, and the crystal on the case is mineral, not even sapphire.
In the end, the major eco-friend component of the watch is Arlanch’s purchasing of carbon offsets. I wrote about carbon offsetting here on Luxist. A lot of watch makers do this. Basically it means you get a measurement of the environmental impact of making your watch, then based upon that impact you buy offsets. The more environmentally unfriendly production of your product is, the more expensive offsetting is. Money paid for offsetting goes to ecofriendly uses to help reduce waste and eco harm in other areas. It is an interesting an popular concept to help lots of companies achieve a “net zero environmental impact.”
So really, what are you left with in the Arlanch No I watch? Not much in my opinion. The design is rather bleh if not 1950’s drab, the size is too small, and the price, at over $1000 (615 euros) is just way too high. If you like the design and the environmental gimmicks, then go for it I guess. You will get a gold watch, but it will be a really little one. Coolest part of the watch? The logo of the Arlanch brand.