Buying A Pre-Owned Watch Makes It Sustainable?


Buying a pre-owned watch is now politically correct. That’s according to Vogue and eBay, a strange marriage forged for charity, no less. trumpets the nuptials.

If anybody still questions the symbiotic relationship between new and used goods in the luxury market, just look to the world’s ultimate arbiter of high fashion, Vogue, which has partnered with eBay to highlight the sustainability of giving a second, third or fourth life to watches and jewellery.

Um, I do?

Symbiosis is a biological relationship between two different species that live in close physical association with each other, often to the mutual benefit of both organisms. It can take many forms, such as mutualism, commensalism and parasitism.

In mutualism, both species benefit from the interaction, while in commensalism, one species benefits and the other is unaffected. In parasitism, one species benefits at the expense of the other.

I’m not sure where that leaves us, buying a pre-owned watch-wise. How do purchasers of a Vintage Audemars Piguet Classic 33mm 18K Gold Cream Dial Hand Wind Watch benefit buyers of a new AP watch?

Doesn’t that stop someone from buying a new AP? Which stops Audemars Piguet from making a new one, I guess, which conserves the resources that the watchmaker would use to make a new watch. I’d file that under parasitism – unless AP reckons the brand gets a boost marketing wise.

The indisputable beneficiary: the Canopy Planet Foundation. That does what exactly?


We drive groundbreaking solutions to transform unsustainable supply chains and ensure our planet’s most vital forests don’t end up as packaging for your next shipping box, takeout container, or fabric for your new shirt. We accomplish this mission by supporting innovative organizations that create global, systems-level change to protect the world’s forests, species, and climate.

Canopy Planet Foundation “innovative organizations” are the companies for whom they consult. A lot of companies.

Their annual report reveals they raised $4,360,637 in 2020/2021 and spent $4,078,817. Eighty-six percent went to “Campaign and Campaign Contributions.” After texting with their Communications Director, I learned that the verbiahe reflects the fact that all the money goes to their staff to provide “save paper” consultancy to their partners. Free of charge, if you exclude any tax-free contributions.

In any event (which ends on the 22nd), buying a pre-owned watch may make you a sustainability warrior, but it’s a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to industry practices (which are good and getting better).

More to the point (IMHO), buying a pre-owned watch is a good way to save money and a safe bet – when it’s from a dealer you trust with a suitable returns policy. (Click here for Is It Safe to Buy a Watch From eBay?). If you really want to support a good cause, make sure the charity aligns with your values and write them a check. That is all.

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