The Best Sustainable Watches Under $500 in 2024
If you’re on the hunt for the best sustainable watches under $500, we’ve got you covered! Finding premium-qualoty, affordable eco-friendly watches is not an easy feat. Luckily, in 2024, there are many ethical watch brands ready to adorn your wrists with “forever” timepieces. From sustainable smart watches and wooden watches to environmentally friendly watches made of wood, check out our full list below.
Our Full List of Affordable Sustainable Watches
Let’s talk about the environmental impact of watches, something that often flies under the radar but carries more weight than we might realize. Traditional watchmaking, with its use of various metals, leather, and intricate components, can leave a significant ecological footprint.
First off, there’s the mining and extraction of metals like gold, silver, and other precious materials commonly used in watchmaking. This process is notorious for its environmental degradation, habitat destruction, and potential human rights abuses in mining communities.
Then comes the manufacturing phase, where the energy-intensive processes and chemical treatments involved contribute to carbon emissions and other pollutants. The use of traditional materials, such as leather watch straps, further drives environmental impact through resource-intensive farming and tanning processes, often involving harmful chemicals.
The lifecycle of a watch doesn’t end with its creation. Disposal, particularly for non-recyclable or non-biodegradable components, can result in watches adding to the ever-growing electronic waste problem.
So, what’s the best alternative? Sustainable watches! These timepieces aim to minimize the environmental impact at every stage. From using recycled metals and responsibly sourced materials to opting for vegan or alternative leathers, affordable eco-friendly watches are rewriting the rules of watchmaking.
Sustainable watch brands with a heart for ethics and the environment are stepping up, showing that sustainable style doesn’t have to break the bank. So, if you’re into looking good, doing good, and not blowing your budget, there’s a fantastic world of affordable sustainable watches under $500 waiting for you.
From eco-friendly solar watches and wooden sustainable watches to eco-friendly sports watches, the options are all in your favor.
- You can also check out the top 5 watches for men.
2024’s Best Sustainable Watches Under $500
Best For: Minimalist sustainable swiss watches
Price: From $130
Materials: Refurbished, vegan materials, conflict-free stainless steel
The Certified B Corp Nordgreen, Denmark’s sustainable watch brand, offers an array of eco-friendly watches made from refurbished and vegan materials, along with conflict-free stainless steel.
Their commitment to sustainability extends to their carbon-neutral headquarters and FSC-certified sustainable packaging. Also, the brand takes pride in fairtrade, and low-waste production methods. Nordgreen encourages customers to make a positive impact by partnering with three global NGOs, allowing them to donate a portion of the proceeds to a cause they care about.
On their virtual shelves, you can find amazing sustainable watches under $500 for both men and women.
Best For: Sustainable solar watches
Price: From $265
Materials: Eco-leather, recycled plastic microfiber inlay, 100% recyclable stainless steel body, and sapphire-coated glass face
Solios, Canada’s top affordable sustainable watch brand based in Montreal, should definitely be on your radar. Their eco-friendly solar watches with quartz mechanics boast an impressive feature: they can run for six months in just a few hours of sunlight or artificial UV light!
Also, the brand addresses the environmental impact of disposable watch batteries, with over 300 million produced annually. Solios offers a solution with batteries designed to last an impressive 50 years, significantly reducing environmental waste.
As the first ethical watch brand to become a Certified B Corp, Solios personally audits all factories and enforces “responsible procurement” through their Supplier Code of Conduct in various locations.
3. Original Grain
Best For: Sustainable wooden watches
Price: From $189
Materials: Ebony, rosewood, African Sapele wood, mahogany, oak, zebrawood, and ashwood
Original Grain’s ethical watches are durable, beautiful, and, unique!
The uniqueness stems from their commitment to using distinct and sustainable sources for crafting their wooden watches, such as harvested wood burls or even repurposed materials like an old seat from Yankee Stadium.
Also, the affordable wooden sustainable watches come with cases that predominantly feature reclaimed wood, sourced from diverse origins like oak beer barrels, ammo crates, bourbon barrel crates, tequila barrel wood, guitar wood, and retired MLB Stadium seats.
Best For: Eco-friendly sports watches and the world’s first recycled ocean plastic watches
Price: From $149
Materials: Recycled plastic, stainless steel, Humanium metal
TRIWA, or Transforming the Industry of Watches, takes pride in being norm challengers and innovators in an industry that they believe needs transformation. Their best sustainable watches under $500 seamlessly blend Scandinavian simplicity with innovative silhouettes. You can find a range of options including both eco-friendly sports watches with 5 to 10 ATM resistance and sleek, ethical modern watches.
Here’s a scoop on the amazing materials they use: Humanium metal, made from recycled illegal firearms from local authorities in El Salvador and IM Sweden, is used for their Humanium sustainable recycled watches.
The Time for Oceans line utilizes recycled ocean plastic for both straps and cases. Also, the real leather used in some straps comes from the Swedish organic tannery Tärnsjӧ, renowned for chrome-free vegetable tanning processes. Also, other ranges include standard metal choices like polished silver, steel, and brass.
Best For: Men’s and women’s recycled watches
Price: From $220
Materials: Recycled PET bottles, cork
With a legacy spanning over half a century, Mondaine stands as one of the oldest ethical affordable, sustainable watch brands. Most notably, they introduced the world’s first solar-powered analog wristwatch which still has a cult following to this day.
But today, we’ll focus on their most sustainable watches: The Essence Collection from Mondaine proudly features recycled PET bottles for straps, durable cork fabric lining, and a case infused with partial castor bean “wondertree” oil. Also, the ethical watches come in a recycled PET case that ingeniously doubles as a sleeve for cell phones or eyeglasses.
All environmentally friendly watches are meticulously handcrafted in Mondaine’s own factory in Biberist, Switzerland.
Best For: Sustainable recycled watches
Price: From $127
Materials: Upcycled synthetic eco suede and Piñatex, stainless steel
In a world where “Time is all we have – why not invest in the future?” rings true, TIVC takes this sentiment to heart by meticulously handcrafting sustainable recycled watches. Their pieces boast extra-large, minimalist faces, available in timeless shades of gold, rose gold, or silver.
TIVC’s best sustainable watches under $500 feature upcycled synthetic eco suede and Piñatex. The watch faces, predominantly made of stainless steel, proudly incorporate up to 60% recycled metals.
To top it all off, the manufacturing process takes place in a Hong Kong factory holding SA8000 certification and is subjected to regular audits by the TIVC team every 12-18 months.
Best For: Sustainable wood watches and digital sustainable watches
Price: From $160
Materials: 100% recycled or reclaimed wood, Italian leather, or vegan leather.
Tense effortlessly captures our imagination with its breathtaking collection of affordable sustainable watches, offering a unique touch with fully customizable laser engraving options. Premium movements hail from renowned sources, with Switzerland (Rondo 6004D) and Japan (Miyota) contributing their expertise to these sustainable timepieces.
For those inclined towards sustainable digital watches, Tense offers a seamless fusion by providing Apple Watch-compatible wooden straps, catering to both style and tech enthusiasts.
The entire crafting process unfolds in Tense’s Vancouver workshop, embodying the essence of handmade perfection.
Best For: Sustainable vegan watches
Price: From $145
Materials: Eco leather, stainless steel, cotton
Next up is one of the UK’s best sustainable watch brands – Votch.
This PETA-approved, award-winning vegan watch company is here to prove that “you don’t need to be cruel to be cool.” Their timepieces, featuring classic round and unique square frames, stand out as affordable eco-friendly watches, boasting minimalist faces and vibrant, solid bands.
Collaborating with a carefully selected ethical factory in Shenzhen, China, Votch ensures fair pay for all employees involved in the creation of their watches.
Votch straps showcase a diverse range of materials, including Piñatex (made from pineapple leaves), AppleSkin (crafted from apple scraps), stainless steel with PVD plating, or PU and cotton woven microfiber vegan leather.
Best for: Recycled ethical watches
Price: From $229
Materials: Recycled materials, PETA-approved vegan reversible strap
Swiss brand Decideandact, introduces the concept of “swisstainable” with their sustainable watches under $500. Each piece belongs to collections that advocate for ecology, diversity, or peace. These men’s and women’s sustainable watches are not just timepieces but also come with a 316L stainless steel case, with an impressive 80% of it being recycled.
The PETA-approved vegan reversible strap is a standout feature, made from cactus leather and GRS-certified recycled PET. The reversible bands with fun prints not only offer twice the variety in one watch but are also thematically coordinated with the focus of each collection.
Lastly, true to their Swiss roots, all fair trade watches are ethically crafted in Switzerland, taking shape in an ISO-certified facility. This ensures that every aspect of the production process adheres to the highest ethical standards.
Best For: Ethical leather watches
Price: From $90
Materials: Stainless steel, responsibly sourced leather
Breda, a family and BIPOC-owned brand based in the USA, offers a range of beautiful and sustainable watches under $500, with prices ranging from $90 to $175. Known for their inclusive and modern twists on classic designs, Breda is committed to manufacturing watches locally, supporting ethical local suppliers, and utilizing eco-conscious materials to ensure an accessible price point for their products.
Affordable unisex watches with luxury-grade quality, sounds good right?
Breda’s environmentally friendly watches are now made in-house at their Dallas studio, using thoughtful materials including recycled plastic. All styles are water resistant, but not waterproof.
Sustainability writer, with almost ten years of expertise in media and publishing. Focused on helping conscious readers discover the best fashion, skincare & non-toxic home products on the eco market. Her work has been featured on various digital magazines and blogs, and she continues to strive towards making a positive impact through her writing.