Starting only three years ago, Swiss microbrand ID Genève has grown a lot in a short amount of time, getting a lot of attention from watch fans and people in general. The brand just recently announced that it raised CHF 2 million in seed funding. Investors included Cape Capital, the billionaire André Hoffmann, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who won an Oscar for his role in The Revenant.
What makes ID Genève different, and why did they just raise money?
It turns out that this brand stands out because it cares about the environment more than many high-end watch brands do. They claim to make and pack their timepieces according to circular economy principles.
The circular economy discards objects differently than the linear economy. Linear economies dump used goods in landfills. A circular economy uses production waste and energy to create value. This comprises product failure waste and energy.
Reusing steel and other things
With the help of its partner Panatere SA, ID Genève collects steel waste from watchmaking and medical facilities within 200 kilometers of its offices. This is a strong example of this approach. The watch casings they produce from this steel garbage go through numerous processes, including a solar-powered melting stage. ID Genève is proud to say that all of its steel comes from recovered sources.
To be part of the circular economy, the brand doesn’t add any new materials; instead, it uses what’s already out there and turns it into new goods. Thus, fewer raw materials are extracted and less rubbish is thrown away.
One more way that ID Genève helps the circular economy is by making straps out of 80% of the grape skins, stalks, and seeds that winemakers throw away. The brand also emphasizes that their timepieces use used but repaired automatic ETA 2824 movements.
With help from Leonardo DiCaprio and André Hoffmann
These activities attract environmentalists and watch lovers. So, André Hoffmann, a businessman and environmentalist, and Leonardo DiCaprio, an Oscar-winning actor, are two of the investors who are backing ID Genève in their circular economy watchmaking project.
Because Leonardo DiCaprio is such a strong supporter of sustainability and climate change, which he even talked about in his Oscar speech, his participation is especially notable. He put money into a new watch company, which is a surprise but a very good sign and great news. “I am thrilled to be an investor in ID Genève, a brand that’s driving change in the luxury industry and beyond by consistently innovating and focusing on circular economy principles,” Mr. DiCaprio said in his excitement.
The New York Times claimed that Nicolas Freudiger, one of the brand’s co-founders, had planned to work with DiCaprio within three years of the company’s start. Now this dream is a real thing. Mr. Freudiger talked about how fixated he was on the idea: “We’ve always wanted to work with a global environmental activist like Leonardo DiCaprio, and we’re thrilled that this partnership has come to fruition.” We hope that this will help us make our case for environmentally friendly practices stronger.
The two men above, along with Cape Capital, a wealth management company, led the fundraising and raised CHF 2 million as seed capital. This was the first round of funding. Alexandre Micheloud, an Investment Impact Specialist at Cape Capital, said, “The investment round helps ID Genève keep up its growth momentum and also encourages and challenges the luxury sector to put environmental responsibility first and come up with new ways to do it.”
ID Genève is a Swiss watchmaker that specializes in sustainable watchmaking practices. The company uses recycled materials in its watches, such as recycled steel and grape skins. ID Genève also uses solar power to manufacture its watches and packaging.
ID Genève has said that it will use the $2 million investment to speed up its growth and development. The company plans to expand its product line, increase its production capacity, and open new retail locations.