Mondaine Essence 41mm (Review) – Vegan? Sustainable? Made from recycled materials?

Always since I have started to review watches, Mondaine was the one I wanted to review. And now finally Mondaine has reached out to me to review one of their newest watches which are all about ecology, sustainability and recycling!

The History of this brand is very interesting in my opinion and funny enough, it started with a railway clock in station! In 1944, Hans Hilfiker, a Swiss Engineer and Designer and employee of the Federal Swiss Railways, created a clock which has become known as the “Official Swiss Railways Clock”.

In 1986, the Mondaine watch company, owned by the Bernheim family, was inspired by the blueprint of the iconic patented design of the Railways Clock, and turned it into a watch collection — with official license from the Federal Swiss Railways. And from that the brand expanded and is known all over the world among all the watch enthusiasts.

Th watch arrived in a very nice small packet/envelope. Inside that we have this pouch which feels like made from felt, but is made from recycled PET bottles and actually you can reuse it as a phone pouch as my already “retro” iPhone 6s fits in really good, ha ha. Also inside there were some instructions, warranty and some other papers. The first impression is actually pretty good. I didn’t knew what watch did they sent me as I said surprise me! And I like that they sent me the recycled one as this is what now is hip and everybody is talking about! In my opinion recycling is something that we need to think about in these times and I think recycling has a big potential in watch business and even in the high end watches, Hublot I think did this with some limited run of watches and a couple of other brands too!

The case of the Essence is made of castor oil and glass powder! The case is black and it actually is as light and feels like plastic, but it feels a bit more rigid than plastic, more like carbon fiber. The case has a matte finishing. the case diameter is 41mm, the thickness is about 8-9mm and the lug width is 20mm. At 3 o’clock we have a signed push-pull crown from the same recycled material as the case. The pressed case back is solid and has white engraved writing with some specifications and other text. The crystal on top is a hardened mineral crystal which at this price range and the watch beeing light and eco-friendly is ok. The water resistance is 30m (3ATM) which is more than enough for daily wearing. It easily can withstand light rain, washing hands etc. but just remember that no swimming at all.

The dial is as all Mondains come with! Bold hands, red lollipop second’s hand and white dial (altough there are also variants with black dials, but the white one is the classic), bold hour markers and that Monaine SSB logo at 12 o’clock. The dial is as simple as it gets, but thats why this face is used in railway clocks in Switzerland as you can easily read time by just having a glance at the dial and see time even from far. There is no lume on the watch that is the only problem in my opinion for it be the ultimate daily watch, but Mondaine has come out with a watch that has lume on the other side of the hands, I don’t know how exactly it charges, but none the less cool idea!

The movement in the watch is a very basic Swiss Made Ronda 513.S quartz movement. It isn’t anything special, but it keeps it’s time better than any mechanical watch would and also there is almost no servicing needed, just a bettery change in every 2-3 years so it is also cheap/budget friendly in that aspect!

The strap is made from recycled natural rubber which is super soft and supple! Probably one of the most comfortable straps I have seen on a watch that is in for review. The rubber is black, very simple. The tang style buckle is also made from the same material as the case. The thing that I like that Mondaine did and that other big brands need to learn is the quick release spring bars! They are just so much better than regular spring bars as it is faster an easier to change straps and also no risk of scratching the case with spring bar removal tool.

Overall I really like the watch! I like the recycling idea starting from the packaging and the watch! It is great to see that watch industry is also moving in that direction too, as we need a weekend watches that are light, cheap and simple so if we break it, we can just buy a new one. The price in my opinion is also pretty good at 175$ which is pretty cheap in my opinion for what you get: good and timeless design, Swiss made, good build quality and of course eco-friendly! So if you are looking for a good weekend watch, this is the one! I actually gifted this one to my watchmaker as he loved it so much + he visits Switzerland twice a year for learning new tricks in watchmaking an always uses the railway to drive around and he always liked the railway station clock design!

Price: 175$ @ mondaine.com

MovementRONDA 513.S
Movement (type)Quartz
Case size/diameter (mm)41.00
Case materialBase on renewal raw material
Case backPressed Caseback
CrownRegular Gasket
Crystal/Glass materialHardened Mineral
Water resistance (m/ft/atm)30 / 100 / 3
Strap/Bracelets materialNatural rubber based
Width at lug (mm)20.00
OriginSwiss Made

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