Geneva-based watchmaker ID Genève has raised 2 million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) in a seed funding round to further its mission of bringing sustainability to the luxury watch industry. The funding round included an investment from renowned actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as several Swiss family offices.
The investment comes on the heels of ID Genève’s successful launch of its inaugural Circular 1 watch collection in 2021, which sold out within weeks. The brand’s latest collection, Circular S, is made entirely from recycled steel and features straps made from plant-based and compostable materials.
Sustainable Materials and Processes
Founded in 2020, ID Genève has committed to designing and producing high-end mechanical timepieces using recycled, reused and renewable materials. The brand aims to significantly reduce the carbon footprint compared to average luxury watches.
For example, the steel used in the Circular S collection is remelted using solar energy, reducing its carbon footprint by a factor of 165 compared to conventional steel. The watch straps are crafted from natural materials like mycelium and seaweed and are 100% compostable.
As WWF Switzerland’s Damian Oettli commented, “Inspired by the WWF report in 2018, a start-up called ID Genève was founded, and it has a completely circular and responsible sourcing approach.”
Growth and Global Expansion
The new funding will enable ID Genève to accelerate growth while furthering its mission to transform luxury watchmaking into a more sustainable industry.
Initially available primarily in Switzerland, ID Genève watches are now carried by Watches of Switzerland stores in the UK and US as the brand expands globally. The wider distribution demonstrates growing consumer demand for high-end, sustainable luxury products.
“Our Swiss Watch Industry Study shows that younger generations care more about a watch’s sustainability impact, with Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and Millennials placing more weight on a brand’s sustainability credentials. As a proud owner of an ID Watch, I am thrilled to have such an innovative company, with sustainability so close to its heart, in Geneva,” noted Karine Szegedi, Managing Partner at Deloitte Switzerland.
Inspiring Change Across Industries
As an investor, DiCaprio said he is “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.”
Félix Stähli from Circular Economy Switzerland pointed out, “I remember ID Genève took part in our circular economy incubator in 2020. Since then, they have gone a long way. It is a positive message for Switzerland’s third biggest industry. They have undertaken an impressive journey toward more circularity.”
With its B Corp certification validating its high sustainability standards, ID Genève aims to catalyze a shift toward circular economy principles taking hold across the entire luxury industry and beyond. As Jean-Valentin de Saussure, a young climate advocate, stated, “ID Genève is much more than a sustainable watchmaker, it is a trigger for change, innovation, and circularity.”