By Lora O’Brien
Once a necessity to tell us the time, watches have slowly but surely become more of an accessory than a practicality. Suddenly we’re matching them to our outfits, we’re snapping aesthetically perfect Instagram photos for our feed, and we’re splashing the cash on expensive models. But if you’re the kind of person who thinks deeply about what they wrap around their wrists, you may be horrified to learn that many watches contain leather and contribute heftily to the cruel meat industry. So suddenly those watches aren’t looking so pretty.
But being vegan and conscious of where your items come from isn’t a bad thing. Oh no! It actually means that whilst you’re supporting compassionate brands you’re also one step ahead as I believe vegan watches are a thing of the future. How can they not be when they look this good?! But don’t just take my word for it; here are some of the best luxury vegan watches for women I’ve found – it’s a diverse group, using everything from Piñatex (that is, pineapple fibres) to recycled woods instead of, you know, dead animals, for the straps.
Olivia Burton kicked off in 2012 when two ex-fashion buyer BFFs struggled to find a luxury vegan watch brand they wanted to wear. Finding none, they co-founded Olivia Burton, a brand that is overflowing with personality, chic understatement, femininity and best of all, a timeless classic that you’ll wear for years to come.
Perfect for: anyone who loves a unique accessory.
Votch strives to create unisex timepieces that not only inflict no harm to animals and have little impact on the environment, but also to make a positive social impact. Every three months, they partner with a different charity, such as an animal shelter or anti-poaching NGO, and donate 10% of their profits as a thanks to them for helping animals and encouraging a kinder way of living. Chic and compassionate.
Perfect for: compassionate folks who love a minimalistic look.
Meet the couple who are well and truly shaking up the watch industry. LIAN & MÉZ goes further than being a brand name; it’s more an ethical statement against the mainstream fashion industry, which seems to not care about animal violence or spewing out pollution and harmful toxins. More specifically, LIAN & MÉZ bring a new material to watches: Piñatex. In case you’re unaware, this is made from pineapple leaf fibers which are a by-product of the pineapple harvest; no extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to make or produce them.
Perfect for: those who like to be up on the latest vegan trends.
Time IV Change was born in 2016 in a small garage with a Kickstart campaign set up to bring a vision to life. Just 7 days into the campaign Time IV Change had enough funds to launch their range of watches. Fast forward to 2017 and now they’ve handcrafted a collection dedicated to cruelty-free fashion.
Marko and Monique, the two founders of the brand, are firm in their beliefs that each and every human being has the power within them to shape the world around them. Time IV Change is the perfect example o how we can use something like an accessory such as a watch to bring change for the greater good.
Perfect for the girl who really likes classical fashion. This watch will always be timeless for years to come.
Neff is a brand that was launched way back in 2002 by Shaun and Joe Neff in Southern California. Capturing the essence of sports, Neff has become one of the biggest accessory brand, and has collaborated with many famous faces, from NBA superstar Kevin Durant, Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller, Scarlett Johansson and they even teamed up with Disney.
Neff is a brand that is dedicated to bringing fun and new vibes to the world. When asked to describe Neff, Shaun Neff said, “We are like a gumball machine; spitting out endless flavors for the world to consume.” And like gumball machine there’s lots of different colours going on, with sections for sports, fashion and entertainment. Their section of watches are all vegan friendly as they all have PU vegan leather straps.
Perfect for the active girl who is about mixing her needs with a little fashion. Lots of colourful straps to choose from, Neff is a brand for the girl who likes to stand out in the crowd.
Eone may look sleek and luxurious, but behind their alluring aesthetics there’s a whole heap of compassion. Founder Hyungsoo Kim created Eone to sold a very real problem, and that is visual impairment. With friends, family and loved ones who are blind, Hyungsoo was only too aware of what was on the market, and that was unstylish, imprecise watches that were hideously intrusive, often with a feature to speak the time out loud – something that many were too embrassed to use and would often seek the time from strangers instead, as was the case with a classmate of Hyungsoo’s at University.
At the shortfall of watches available on the market Hyungsoo begun to collaborate with designers and individuals with vision impairments so that he would create a watch that everyone could use – whether they were sighted or blind – and one that would look the part, too. After Eone’s initial crowdfunding campaign, Hyungsoo was surprised when their initial goal was surpassed fifteen times over – which was a testament to the fact that there was a market of shoppers calling for a watch to suit their needs.
Perfect for the girl who is looking to make an investment in a watch, and one that you will want to wear for both practicality and style for many years to come.
This highly eco-friendly brand was born with the vision to take sustainable watches to the world to prove that vegans can be stylish, too! WeWood’s sophistication and understated elegance ensures their customers not only have excellent timepieces, but are also doing their bit for the planet: a tree is planted for every purchase, and in just their first three months, the company planted 5,000 trees with American Forests, and plans to keep on smashing those targets year after year.
Perfect for: true eco-warrior princesses!
VOID watches is a Swedish design company that remains true to their clean, minimalistic Swedish design heritage. VOID is all about simple geometric shapes, basic colours and simple materials. Unfortunately, not all VOID watches are vegan friendly, but they do offer a specific range that is free of silk, animal skin, fur and hair – much like the Classic Black Analogue Watch, below.
Perfect for the sportier gal who loves to accessorize.
Sprout Watches is dedicated to providing the world with eco-forward timepieces constructed from the highest quality materials. With their gems and other embellishments, Sprout watches may resemble wasteful luxury brands, but rest assured each piece is constructed from sustainable elements, such as biodegradable corn resin, bamboo, cork, and organic cotton. And as for the abovementioned bling, it’s mainly lead free Swarovski crystals.
Perfect for the luxury lover who enjoys a bit of glamour.
ZIIIRO begun when Robert, based in Germany, shared his watch designs halfway across the globe with his pal in Hong Kong, Derick. In 2010, the duo launched ZIRRO with the mission of creating fun watches with a bold, futuristic vibe. Each timepiece is designed to survive the test of time, whilst also being unique in appearance and style.
Comprised of stainless steel and silicone, this watch displays two swirls that move inside the dial: the inner swirl represents the current hour, whilst the outer swirl displays the minutes, so there’s a continuous gradient movement going on with this watch.
Perfect for: lovers of science fiction and minimalist design.
The Rosemarie Collections are focused on creating vegan timepieces modelled after a modern lifestyle. This brand values simplicity of design, as well as value for money, and understands that for many women today, the true value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Our favourite? The super eco-friendly cork-band watches!
Perfect for the practical girl on a budget.