Watches are timeless accessories that we’ve been wearing for hundreds of years and are considered essential by many, but have you ever thought about what yours could be made of?
If you’re a devout vegan and looking to purchase a new elegant wristwatch, you may feel like most options are contradictory to your values or beliefs. Luckily, you’re mistaken. There are many watches you can opt for while maintaining a clear conscience.
As environmental awareness increases, options for vegan products do as well. Many watchmakers now use vegan leather that looks indistinguishable from animal leather but comes without the cost of animal life.
With that in mind, it’s essential to know where you’re buying your watch from, and we’re here to help you with that decision. We’ve reviewed the 5 best vegan on the market today, so keep reading!
At a Glance
- Nordgreen – Best for Environmental Impact
- Hurtig Lane – Best Variety
- Time IV Change – Classic Pick
- Evig Grön – Premium Pick
- Ksana – Best Colors
The 5 Best Vegan Watches in 2021
Let’s dive into the five best picks for vegan watches considered both fashionable and 100% vegan.
1. Nordgreen – Best for Social and Environmental Impact
This renowned Danish brand may not solely produce vegan watches yet, but it’s truly the epitome of socially and environmentally responsible companies. As you might guess from the name, Nordgreen was founded to embody Nordic values and design standards in an aesthetically pleasing yet environmentally committed watch.
You’ll find many watches made by Nordgreen, but the vegan ones are generally similar in terms of what materials they’re made of.
Their cases are made of scratch-resistant 316L stainless steel, and the glass is made of domed sapphire crystal, a premium, and nearly unbreakable material. As for the straps, they’re made of vegan leather made through a fine blend that combines polyester’s comfort with cotton durability, making it quite a comfortable watch to wear.
Whether you’re a fan of minimalist designs or looking for something more polished and jacked, you’ll find it offered by Nordgreen.
The Native model is the simplest, with a slim case and large dashes to mark hours and transparent minute marks. The Infinity model is very similar to the Native, with the minute marks being more visible. The Philosopher model is also similar but adds to the Infinity with a date aperture.
The Pioneer model is the most packed, though, rocking two subdials on each side and a generously sized date aperture in the dial’s middle bottom.
Nordgreen offers a few options for colours for both the case and the dial, but depending on the model you choose, you may or may not find the colour you want. For example, the Philosopher and Infinity models only come with a white dial, while with the rest, you can pick your favourite. All the models also offer 3 to 4 colours to choose from for the case.
If you visit the Nordgreen website, you’ll find a “Bundle Builder” option that allows you to pick each feature of your watch individually and compile them together. You can also select two extra straps at a discounted price from the same section, which is excellent!
Moreover, one of the best things about Nordgreen is it’s Giving Back Program. When you buy a watch, they use a portion of the sale value to fund charitable programs, and you have the option to choose to support one of the following three causes:
- Health Cause: Providing two months of clean water to one person in the Central African Republic – in partnership with Water for Good.
- Educational Cause: Providing one month of education to a child in India – in collaboration with Pratham UK.
- Environmental Cause: Preserving 50 square meters of rainforest in Latin America – in partnership with Cool Earth.
Additionally, you can use the unique ID on your watch to track the impact of your donation.
2. Hurtig Lane– Best Variety
Hurtig Lane, a Spanish brand, was founded in 2016 in Barcelona after its two founders were deeply touched by the Earthlings, an animal rights documentary that opened their eyes to animal treatment in the leather industry.
Hurtig Lane is committed to not using any animal products but rather using synthetic leather indistinguishable from its animal-based alternative. In 2017, the company won PETA UK’s Best Vegan Watch Company award.
Hurtig Lane makes their vegan straps out of different material, such as:
- Vegan leather made by blending cotton with polyurethane
- Vegan suede which can be synthetically produced from polyester fibres
- Vegan tweed often made with cotton and silk, or acrylic
- Vegan rubber
All straps are also PVC free, meaning they contain no polyvinyl chloride (or just vinyl for short), which is one of the most widely used plastics due to its low cost. Furthermore, the straps are made from recycled materials.
As for the cases, they’re made of stainless steel with no additional alloys to maintain their colour for the longest time possible.
Hurtig Lane has a vast library of watches – seven collections containing 223 watches for women and six collections holding 147 watches for men, so there’s something for everyone. To get an idea of how Hurtig Lane’s designs look, let us compare three of the most diverse models in their selection: Amalfi, Neliö, and Moderno/Moderna.
|Point of Comparison||Amalfi||Neliö||Moderno/Moderna|
|Strap width||10 millimetres||16 millimetres||20 millimetres|
|Case shape||Circular||Circular square||Circular|
|Hour marks||Mostly dashes, Roman numerals on 6 and 12||Dashes||Numbers|
|Minute marks||None||None||Thin dashes, numeric values above multiples of 5|
When buying a watch, you can customize the leather to fit your liking by picking what material you want it to be, its colour, and the buckle colour. Plus, the brand’s straps are interchangeable across their watches.
You also get a two-year warranty on every watch you purchase.
3. TIVC (Time IV Change) – Classic Pick
This cleverly named Australian brand, TIVC, was founded by two strong proponents of positive change that believe that everyone can contribute to the world’s betterment. TIVC’s products nicely reflect their commitment to the environment and their dedication to animal-free fashion and classic style.
The straps on most TIVC watches are made of eco suede. If you’ve never heard of it, think of how recycled paper is made.
With eco suede, the process is similar but with more versatile materials such as plant starch and recycled polyester. In contrast to this, there’s also a set of TIVC watches that carry piñatex straps made of pineapple leaf fibres.
As for the cases, they’re made of stainless steel and designed in a slim way.
TIVC watches have a unified design shape with variance in the colours. There’s an array of different colours for the strap and the bezel, and there’s also a duo option (black or white) for the case itself. The numbers are written in Roman numerals in colour, matching that of the bezel, and they complement the classic look of the watch perfectly.
All watches are fitted with quick release straps to easily switch between the interchangeable straps, which is perfect if you’re a change-a-holic and would like to wear the colour that matches your mood.
TIVC also provides a year-long warranty on all the watches starting from the day of purchase.
4. Evig Grön – Luxurious Pick
Evig Grön is one of the pioneering brands in the vegan watches industry and produces renowned luxurious vegan wristwatches. The name is actually short for Evigt Grönska, Swedish for “evergreen,” representing the brand’s dedication to production that helps sustain the environment.
Made in Bioggio, Switzerland, all the watches are made with strict adherence to the watchmaking industry regulations.
Unlike in most vegan watches, the straps on Evig Grön’s watches are made of premium Portuguese cork that’s sustainably collected by removing the renewable layer of bark on trees instead of the trees themselves, then handcrafted by a local master artisan. The result is a very soft and pleasant feel on your wrist.
The watch faces are all made of unscratchable crystal, and the cases are made of marine grade and corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
One of the cool things about Evig Grön’s watches is their design. The straps come in a myriad of different plain colours, but their patterned colours are especially remarkable. You can get a watch in your favourite colour on the black-gold spectrum in a lined, striped, zebra, or piñatex (pineapple) pattern.
Every watch comes with its pouch inside a wooden box and a two-year warranty. For every box produced, the fine people at Evig Grön work with the International Tree Foundation to plant a tree.
All of Evig Grön’s straps are interchangeable between the watches, and you can get a strap by itself if you need it as well.
5. Ksana – Best Colors
Ksana is one of the more joyful brands in the industry. It was founded after the founder, Claire, who failed to find a well designed, neon coloured watch. “Bold design will always remain at the heart of Ksana”, as she states, and her watches certainly live up to that statement.
The cases on Ksana’s watches are made of surgical grade stainless steel, and the faces are made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, which is very close to diamonds in hardness, scoring 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, while diamonds score 10.
As for the straps, they’re made of flexible and recyclable silicone and are dyed with synthetic dye.
You can find the watches in two different face sizes, large and small, trimmed in either silver or rose gold. Overall, the face design is inspired by Scandinavian minimalism.
The conspicuous straps also come in a rainbow of funky colours such as emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue, and many different neon colours. If the bright colours aren’t your thing, there are also jet black straps.
On every watch purchased from Ksana, they donate 1% of the sale value to environmental care and planet-friendly initiatives and provide the buyer with a two-year warranty on the watch.
Admirably, Ksana also offers to take back worn-out watches to their recycling facility. The silicone will be repurposed into solar panels, one of the more courteous gestures in this industry.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Vegan Watch
The main difference between traditional watches and vegan ones is the material used to make straps. Instead of animal leather, vegan watches tend to be made of vegan leather. This is where it can get complicated, as vegan leather can be made from many different materials, and some are considerably better than others.
We’ll go over the different types of materials used in the process of making vegan watches and which you need to be on the lookout for.
Cork has been an increasingly popular option for leather makers going vegan. Presently, artisans can use cork to make belts, bags, and even flooring materials. After all, it’s a resilient and robust material that luckily happens to be sustainable since it’s acquired off the renewable and recyclable layer of bark on a tree.
More often than not, you’ll find the best cork coming from Portugal since they have a little over a third of the world’s cork supply.
Being more of a summery material, nylon shines in its durability and comfort. You’ll feel that it’s more breathable than a lot of other materials, which is why you can also take it for a swim as nylon is highly resistant to water, and it’s unlikely that water will ever degrade it.
Silicone rubber is another comfortable and breathable fabric that’s popular in the vegan market. It’s an eco-friendly and clean material that can endure wear and accidental pulls due to its elasticity; however, we advise you against stretching it way too far as it still contains silicone after all.
Polyurethane and Polyester
Polyurethane and polyester are two very popular in the vegan watches market and the synthetic materials industry. They go very well with rubber or cotton to create an amazingly versatile material, and they’re usually lower in cost than their animal-based counterparts.
The materials are perfect for athletic activities and swimming, as they’re durable and water-resistant.
Generally, polyurethane and polyester are very comparable, but the latter outmatches the former when it comes to strength and durability. Polyurethane, on the other hand, is more flexible than polyester for applications that require flexibility.
Alcantara, the last type of strap, is a premium one. Alcantara is an Italian microfiber suede-like made of 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane. The two materials are moulded together, resulting in a texture more durable and stain-resistant than suede.
Alcantara has been used before to cover the seats of Formula One cars and luxury jets and yachts. Despite it being premium, it’s essential to remember that Alcantara is still a suede-like material, and you should not expose it to too much water for optimal performance. You can machine wash it, but don’t put it through a spin cycle or the dryer.
Straps to Avoid:
- Wood: You’ll generally want to avoid wooden straps. Yes, a few brands know how to pull it off, but most of what you’ll find on the market will either be low quality or inflexible due to being designed solely for the watch.
- Plastic: While it can be a durable material, it’s not an eco-friendly one. There’s no reason to use it on a watch strap when we have many sustainable alternatives such as cork. Plastic also wears off much faster than sustainable materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Vegan Leather Be as Durable as Animal-Based Leather?
Definitely! Your options with vegan leather are plenty, and you can pick the type that suits your needs according to the section above. Guaranteed, anything that animal-based leather does, there’s a vegan counterpart that outperforms it.
Do All the Listed Brands Comply With PETA?
Yes, all of their (vegan) products comply with PETA and are made according to strict regulations, which earns them the ascertainment from organizations such as PETA.
Do All the Brands in This Article Exclusively Produce Vegan?
Except for Nordgreen, yes, all of them produce only vegan watches and straps. Nordgreen, on the other hand, is still not 100% vegan, but they create a ton of vegan watches and are strong proponents of environmental and social preservation.
Are All the Watches Here Waterproof?
Nordgreen, Time IV Change, and Hurtig Lane all produce watches with an ATM of 3, meaning they’re not waterproof but rather splash resistant and can endure rain, hand washing, and occasional contact with water.
Ksana and Evig Grön produce watches with an ATM of 5, meaning they’re suitable for shallow water activity such as swimming or fishing, but not snorkelling or other deepwater activities.
Are the Straps Interchangeable Across All of Them?
Straps are only interchangeable within the same brand. For example, you cannot put a Hurtig Lane strap on a Ksana case, and so on.
Note: When changing straps on a Nordgreen watch, make sure you get a vegan strap as well.
Those of us looking to live a planet-friendly lifestyle are in luck. As environmental awareness increases and more people develop a conscience against animals’ maltreatment, companies are starting to accommodate our demand for cruelty-free products, as substantiated by the abundance of excellent vegan watches in the market.
We see how watches made of vegan materials can easily compete with their nonvegan counterparts, which inspires us to think about the future of vegan products and how well they are expected to evolve.
However, you want to ensure you aren’t getting tricked. You should always look for brands affirmed by a vegan organization such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).