I have made many great contacts through the NYC Green Festival (here are some other companies we met and review through the Green Fest: Hyde Organic Yoga, Susty Party, World Peaces, Strawesome, ReFleece, Snack Taxi, HankyBook and Runa Tea) and Sprout Watches is no different. I had originally come across Sprout Watches through some online research, but was thrilled to have met them in-person in New York. They don’t just make watches, they make beautiful sustainable timepieces. They are far more elegant than you might imagine for being an eco-friendly item, so get ready for a long but informative review.
They recently came out with a line of Advanced Crystal (lead-free) watches using Swarovski’s DNA of Crystal. Though I didn’t opt to review this exact timepiece, my choice was still very similar in design (minus the crystals.) Check out their full crystal collection here.
Sprout Watches has several different watch materials to choose from, including felt, Tyvek® (yup, the stuff you wrap the outside of your house in – we even reviewed sneakers made from it), cork, organic cotton and corn resin. Though I’ve heard of all of these materials, they didn’t seem too unique to make a watch from, except for corn resin. Is my watch going to be edible? Can and should I coat it in butter if I wanted? Will it spontaneously burst into and edible popcorn if near heat? Well no, none of those will happen but here’s a little bit of science behind its design. Stick with me – I’m providing a graphic.
The band of the watch is made from standard field corn, harnessing its naturally occurring plant starch that is harvested, cooked (heated) and ground. It converts the starch into sugar, then into lactic acid, then into a polyfactide polymer, which can be formed into pellets for use in a wide range of products – including Sprout Watches watches. Pretty much anything that looks like “plastic” on a Sprout watch is really made from corn resin. The corn resin is 99% biodegradable into carbon dioxide and water within 365 days.
So I’m pretty much in love with my corn resin watch, especially since I got a few links taken out. It is one size fits all but apparently I have super tiny wrists and wasn’t able to wear it comfortably while it was halfway down my arm with all the links in. I have never owned a plastic or corn resin watch before – it’s always been a metal watchband. So I really expected the corn resin to be easily scratched through daily use, like my metal watches eventually did. But I am overly impressed! Through two months of almost daily use, the watchband shows no scratches – at all! I have been so surprised how durable the corn resin is, if corn makes a great watch material, I wonder what other products corn resin could be used for. Water bottles, utensils, coolers, storage bins? Perhaps it can be a replacement for everyday plastics that are made from petroleum?
Ok, so I love the watchband but I don’t love the fold over buckle watch clasp. It is rather “hidden” and not exactly the style I am used to. When bringing it to be fitted, the jeweler was also stumped on how to open it. Unfortunately without being provided instructions on how to properly open it, I resorted to sliding my finger between the band and the metal clasp to pop it open. In which that only opens one side of the clasp. So I’m not even sure if the other side of it opens or should open, as when I tried to I was afraid of breaking it.
My questionable method to open the watch doesn’t change the fact that it is made of great quality materials. Besides the corn resin, the face/dial of my watch is made from a natural light colored bamboo with a thin gold metal tree graphic cutout on top and luminous clock hands. Though the glowing hands do need to be “charged” (held up to a light source first) to really glow bright. Despite the lack of numbers on the dial, the tree design really helps to remind me to make sure my choices in life are considerate of the earth, so its design is a great daily reminder. The mineral crystal lens is made from sand, which can technically be recycled, unlike most watch lenses that are made from plexiglass – a synthetic plastic. Even the battery that powers this watch is Mercury-Free.
The packaging that the watch arrived in is recyclable and is made from recycled materials. Even the pillow the watch was strapped to is made from organic cotton. The cardboard box it was in is made from 90% post consumer waste. Really Sprout Watches, you have done a great job of thinking of so many ways to make your product earth conscience. Kudos to you!
Now the only thing I wish this watch had was a little spot for the date. If it did I would find that I could forget about my cell phone and use this watch to tell me the time and date. Yet that might ruin the nice design they have on the dial. So just because this watch doesn’t include the date, doesn’t mean that other Sprout Watches don’t, they have so many other options to choose from! A majority of the corn-resin cases come in snow white color, but they do offer funky colors like pink, orange, light blue, dark blue, purple, red and black. So I’m sure there will be a style to fit your personality or an eco-friendly material to fit your need. My watch was from their women’s collection but they also offer Men’s, Kids and a new Cuipo collection, benefiting the protection of rain forests around the world. Your purchase from the Cuipo collection allows you to redeem to preserve your own mete of rain forest. Besides being an awesome watch company, Sprout Watches is a member of philanthropic groups such as, 1% for the Planet, Riverkeeper and Trees for the Future.
At $60 I find my watch to be completely worth that price tag and it is of the same quality a high quality metal watch for the same price. Their organic cotton and cork watches retail for less too, but I have yet to try those out. My Sprout corn-resin watch is a 10 star product and I hope you will try one too! Check out their repurposed market bags too, made from (about) 8 recycled water bottles. Let us know which watch you would want; corn-resin, organic cotton, cork, Tyvek® or felt?