Sustainability is a big thing in today’s society, and rightfully so as we’re heading in the wrong direction very fast when it comes to our beloved Planet Earth. The shift towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable ways of living also found its way into the watchmaking industry, with various brands doing their best to push back waste and pollution in whichever way they can. Through a wide range of programs or new production initiatives, carbon footprints are cut down and waste is transformed into resources. This strategic push has motivated watch designer Cedric Bellon to create the most sustainable watch available to date. Ace Jewelers, a Dutch watch and jewellery retailer led by Alon Ben Joseph and his family, has embraced this concept to create a special edition watch, the Cedric Bellon CB01 GMT x Ace Jewelers.
Cedric Bellon, Watch Angles & Ace Jewelers
Designer Cedric Bellon is quite a well-established name within the watchmaking industry, even though people outside of it might not have heard of him. Cedric Bellon has worked for various brands (Bell & Ross, Frederique Constant, Longines and others) before setting out on his own with his eponymous brand. As an advocate for sustainability himself, Cedric set out to create the most sustainable watch and brand possible, almost nailing perfection with the CB01 GMT we’ll be looking at in a bit. Through a circular chain of supply and production, the CB01 GMT hits almost 88% sustainability, more than double the level of comparably priced serially produced watches. Every step in the Cedric Bellon watches is looked at to see how it can be as sustainable as possible, from suppliers to production and finishing to materials and logistics.
The whole concept was brought to life through the Watch Angels platform, which aims to lower the barrier for designers and creators to bring watches to the market. Watch Angels offers all things needed outside someone’s expertise to minimize risks and investments. This has so far resulted in a number of brands and watches being brought to life, including Cedric Bellon. It’s also a direct e-commerce platform for the products involved.
The third element in this trifecta is Ace Jewelers, the family-owned retailer based in Amsterdam, one of the world’s most sustainable cities. Ace Jewelers offers a wide range of brands and has produced a number of successful limited editions with Nomos for instance. The topic of sustainability is important to Ace Jewelers as well, which is the reason why Alon Ben Joseph (Ace’s Managing Director) resonated strongly with Bellon’s concept. Through this mutual interest, the CB01 GMT x Ace Jewelers came to life.
The CB01 GMT x Ace
Of course we’re still talking about a real-life, working mechanical watch here and not just about facts and figures about sustainability and the environment. The Cedric Bellon CB01 GMT x Ace Jewelers starts out life as a regular CB01 GMT but gets the Ace-treatment we know from previous collaborative watches between the Dutch retailer and various brands. The CB01 GMT is a retro-styled traveller’s watch with a 39mm wide and 13.4mm tall stainless steel produced from 100% recycled PuResteel from ThyssenKrupp. All components have a raw, industrial finish which cuts down the use of heavy chemicals for galvanic treatment or other forms of colouring and finishing.
The dial has a sandwich construction with a luminous base and black/anthracite PVD-coated and vertically brushed upper dial. The hour markers are a mix of cutout numerals and oval-shaped markers, complimented by a date window at 3 o’clock. On the outer perimeter, a sloped 24h flange is used to track time in a second time zone. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands have a luminous spine and are paired with a steel seconds hand. The GMT hand has an arrow-shaped tip with a luminous insert and is finished in red. The GMT hand can be adjusted through the crown to set it at a second timezone and keep track of how late it is anywhere in the world. This is of more practical function if you run multiple offices across the world or have relatives in different countries, and is also referred to as an Office GMT. A Traveller’s GMT would allow for the central hour hand to be adjusted in one-hour increments. A minor detail, but an important one to note.
Inside the Cedric Bellon CB01 GMT x Ace Jewelers L.E. ticks the Soprod C125 automatic GMT movement. This can also be found in watches like the Batavi Geograaf and Baltic Aquascaphe GMT and is a good alternative to the ETA 2893. It uses 25 jewels, runs at a rate of 28,800vph and has a 42-hour power reserve. The movement is hidden behind a solid caseback that is engraved with the specific number in the limited production series, Amsterdam’s iconic city flag with three crosses, and a nod to Ace Jewelers, the initiator of this special piece. One thing to note is that the movements are sourced from unused stock meaning there’s no new production run started by Soprod, cutting down emissions even further.
The Cedric Bellon CB01 GMT x Ace Jewelers limited edition watch is presented on a black leather strap with a steel pin buckle. It is exclusively available through the Watch Angels online boutique, is limited to just 25 pieces and will cost CHF 1,690. The launch is scheduled for February 2nd, so if you’re interested in this very green watch, be sharp!