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Leonardo DiCaprio Joins $2 Million Investment in ID Genève’s Sustainable Watchmaking

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A milestone for a crowdfunded startup with a circular economy approach to watchmaking.
Established just three years ago, Swiss microbrand ID Genève has seen impressive growth in a relatively short time, gaining significant attention from the watch enthusiasts and the wider community. The brand recently disclosed a successful CHF 2 million seed funding round, featuring high profile investors like Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of ID Genève's high profile backers

What sets ID Genève apart, and what led to this recent round of fundraising?

It turns out that this brand distinguishes itself by prioritizing sustainability in a way that surpasses many luxury watch brands. They’ve made a significant commitment to ensuring that the production of their watches and packaging aligns with the principles of a circular economy.
The key distinction between the circular economy and the traditional linear economy lies in how products are handled at the end of their life cycle. In a linear economy, waste materials are often discarded, ending up in landfills or other disposal sites. However, in a circular economy, all the byproducts of production, including energy and waste generated during the end of a product’s life, are reintegrated into various parts of the economy to extract value.

ID Genève's Circular S

Recycling steel and more

A compelling example of this approach is how ID Genève, with the assistance of its partner Panatere SA, collects steel waste from various sources, including watchmaking and medical facilities within a 200-kilometer radius of its headquarters. This collected steel waste undergoes multiple processes, including a fully solar-powered melting stage, to be transformed into the cases of the watches they produce. ID Genève proudly states that 100% of their steel is recycled.

The solar furnace used to make ID Genève components

This is how the brand participates in the circular economy: instead of introducing more new materials, it utilizes only what is available within the current economic ecosystem, transforming them into new products. This, in turn, reduces the demand for excessive raw material extraction and minimizes waste disposal.
Further contributions to the circular economy by ID Genève include their straps, which are crafted from 80% grape skins, stalks, and seeds discarded by wineries. Additionally, the brand emphasizes that the automatic ETA 2824 movements used in their watches are refurbished and refinished rather than purchasing new ones.

ID Genève's Circular S

Backed by Environmentalists

These efforts attract individuals who are passionate about both the environment and high-quality timepieces. Consequently, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio who is known for his fervent drive to conserve the environment, are among the investors supporting ID Genève in their circular economy watchmaking endeavor.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s involvement is particularly noteworthy, given his strong advocacy for sustainability and climate change, which he even emphasized in his Oscar speech. His investment in a young watch company is a surprising yet highly welcome and exciting development. Mr. DiCaprio expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “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.”

ID Genève's Circular S

It’s worth mentioning that Nicolas Freudiger, the co-founder of the brand, had set a goal to collaborate with DiCaprio within three years of the company’s founding, as reported in The New York Times. This dream has now become a reality. Mr. Freudiger explained his fixation on this idea, saying, “We have always been interested in working with a global environmental advocate like Leonardo DiCaprio, and we’re thrilled this partnership has come to fruition. Our hope is that this synergy will give us a louder voice in championing sustainable practices.”
The fundraising joined by the two gentlemen mentioned above, has secured an initial round of funding raising CHF 2 million as seed capital.

 

ID Genève watches are available in showrooms in Geneva, Lausanne, and Zürich, as well as online and through Watches of Switzerland stores in London and New York.