These beautiful and affordable handcrafted timepieces, made from natural and renewable materials, could also serve as a catalyst for conversations about sustainable goods.
OK, so you can't really wear a panda on your wrist, but you can wear a watch made from the favorite food of pandas, bamboo. The team behind the bamboo sunglasses with a social good component, Panda Sunglasses, has a new way to wear your heart on your sleeve - or on your wrist, as it were. The company's latest offering, the Panda Watch, is made from bamboo and cork, both renewable and sustainable materials, and could be a great conversation starter about eco-friendly goods.
At a time when smartwatches are fast becoming a desirable consumer gadget, the launch of a 'dumb' watch that only tells the time doesn't seem nearly as sexy as that of a connected watch that can also display your text messages or social media feeds. But if you're a sucker for analog gear in a digital world, as I am, and for products made from alternative materials that are eco-friendly and renewable, then the launch of the Panda Watch might be more exciting than those about Apple's entry into the smartwatch market.
Bamboo watches aren't new, but the Panda Watch is said to be a first, in that it features a 100% bamboo casing, with the crown, faceplate, and backplate of the watch all made from bamboo. And when combined with a soft and supple, yet tough, Portuguese cork watch band, and a precise Swiss Movement keeping time inside the watch, the Panda Watch is a great example of a beautiful and functional device with a sustainability component.
Measuring 42mm wide (1.65") by 9mm thick (0.35"), the Panda Watch has a "hardened mineral crystal" over the face, and is said to be water resistant to 3 ATM (30m/100ft). The company offers a full 2-year warranty on the watches, as well as a 60-day "no questions asked" return or exchange program, so if you're not satisfied within the first two months of owning one, you aren't stuck with it.
The Panda Watch, priced at $190 USD (free shipping in the US), was just launched today, and the company is taking pre-orders for a May 14th ship date.
[Note: Panda ran a pretty successful Kickstarter campaign for a previous version of a bamboo watch last year, but the campaign was eventually suspended due to questions about the provenance of those watches, which some commenters felt were just a rebranded version of a watch already being sold under another name. Vincent Ko, the "Head Panda of Development," said that the suspension of the campaign was "due to a misunderstanding of our manufacturing process," and that their watches "were and are not being purchased wholesale and our team worked to develop this watch." The current Panda Watch is an all-new design, and is being sold directly through the company's website, not a crowdfunding site.]