Eco-Friendly Mechanical Watches for Greener Earth

If you care for the environment and has been called a tree-hugger then you must love the old wind-up mechanical watches that are free from mercury.

Button cell battery-powered timepieces, even the alkaline ones, contain mercury which is highly toxic to the environment and must be handled with caution. In fact, regular-sized alkalines have been banned because of this. However, there is a slight delay on its total banning since some watchmakers still use models that rely on them. Disturbing reports show that in the US these tiny power sources contain at least 2000 pounds of the toxic element every year,

Health Effects. Mercury toxicity affects the nervous system, damages brain functions, causes DNA and chromosomal damage, causes allergic reactions, destroys the sperm, birth defects and miscarriages.

Environmental Effects. On animals, this chemical element causes kidney damage, stomach disruption, damage to intestine, reproductive failure and DNA alteration.

Avoiding the negative impact of this chemical element may mean using mechanical watch even if they cost more and require servicing than their electronic counterparts.

It is also worthwhile to know that quartz, sapphires, garnets and diamond bearings in these timepieces are also eco-friendly.

Solar-powered watches. These chronographs use mini-solar panels which power up even overhead office lights. They recharge under natural light or 20 inches from a light bulb. Some watches also have rechargeable cells that need not be ever replaced. However, there are brands that offer less expensive versions which are usually sold at entry-level prices. Still you would find other eco-watches driven by your own movement or the kinetic energy of your wrist. It is truly amazing craftsmanship.

All these chronographs offer green technology that makes every wearer proud that he is helping maintain the sustainability of the planet.

The even better news is that even with the wrist bands, a watch lover can go green. Most conventional leather used as bands have traces of the toxic hexavalent chromium. These are petrol-based plastic materials or a combination of aluminum and stainless steel metals.

Meanwhile, the composite ceramics used in some watch bands are made by using high-temperature and energy-intensive materials. The greener alternative is to use organic cotton straps. If you want stronger bands, you may opt for those trendy wooden chronometers made out of scrap wood and Japanese mechanical movements. These companies have been known to plant a tree for every watch sold.

So, certified tree-hugger, if you have old batteries lying around you might want to bring them in stores which have drop boxes for recycling. Also, when buying new power cells, make sure the store gives you the mercury-free kind.

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