(Zurich) Swiss start-up company ID Genève, which makes luxury watches from recycled materials, has raised funds from investors including American actor Leonardo DiCaprio, providing it with a springboard to experiment with production processes durable.
Founded at the end of 2020 by two thirty-somethings from Geneva, this start-up company raised 2 million Swiss francs ($3 million) in a funding round that also included Swiss investors, it said in a press release on Tuesday.
“Two million is not a lot in the watch industry,” admitted Nicolas Freudiger, one of its co-founders during an interview with AFP.
But the amount raised will allow this microenterprise, which currently only has 7 employees, including its co-founders, to continue its research into materials and increase its production.
And the presence of the American actor among his investors will allow him “to gain years of development”, he welcomes, hoping that he will wear the watch on the red carpets.
ID Genève manufactures watches from recycled or recyclable materials, both for watch cases, bracelets and packaging.
For its movements (the parts that make the watches work), the start-up only uses unsold luxury watches, which would otherwise be destroyed, then dismantles them, washes them, reassembles them to put them back into circulation in its collections.
Its cases are made exclusively from 100% recycled high-end steel by recovering waste from around forty companies in the Jura, including watchmakers, but also manufacturers of medical equipment, such as scalpels, from which it takes the best scraps.
In order to reduce the energy consumed to melt steel, the start-up company carried out tests in a solar oven in Mont-Louis, in the Pyrenees, where the temperature can rise to more than 3000 degrees thanks to the sun’s rays, captured by large convex mirrors.
“We want to reconcile luxury with the expectations of our generation,” explains Mr. Freudiger, who wants to distinguish himself from the big traditional luxury brands that emphasize their “exclusivity” and “rare materials.”
“We are talking about waste that we recycle in a circular world and where this waste is considered at the same level as new raw materials,” says this thirty-year-old, who sees recycling centers as “the incubators of tomorrow’s start-ups “.
Tests in the solar oven resulted in a series of 300 pieces. The brand, whose watches sell for between 3,500 francs ($5,300) and nearly 5,000 francs ($7,500), hopes to reach the 600 watch mark in 2023.