At CLUSE, we care about how we produce and how our products reach our customers. And we realize that each product has an end-of-life date, therefore we must also care about what happens next.
How it’s made has always been a key part of our brand’s DNA. Before we started CLUSE, we were active in the watch industry as retailers. There were a lot of things we liked about the fashion watch industry, but there were also parts that we thought could be improved. Quality was the key word. And this is how we decided on the name for our brand. CLUSE is named after the town of Cluses in France, just over the border near Switzerland. Cluses used to be known for its watch making institute. We wanted to honor the craft of watch making by naming our watch brand after this renowned watchmaker’s town.
We believe that a qualitative watch should have the potential to last for generations. And once its ‘life’ is no longer sustainable, the product should be recycled as much as possible. When it comes to our packaging, we have a similar approach.
Here are some of the steps we have taken in our ongoing journey to produce responsibly.
When we started CLUSE, we selected our partners carefully. We were determined to make sure that manufacturing and our products comply with the international regulations for our industry. In addition independent third parties test our products both mechanically as well as chemically.
CLUSE is an Amfori member. As such, we require our suppliers to comply with the BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) standards. We had to postpone our 2020 audits, but in 2021, provided the Covid-19 restrictions allow it, we will hold independent third party BSCI audits at our manufacturers.
OUR SHIPMENT PACKAGING
When we ship our products to our retailers and to end consumers, we use boxes made of recycled carton. We hardly use fill up materials, as we ship our products in made-to-measure shipping cartons, that perfectly fit our product packaging. This way we ensure that our products do not take up unnecessary space when transported. Furthermore, our slim packaging allows for delivery in letter boxes in several of the countries we ship to.
The first CLUSE collections had cases produced in brass. In 2016, we launched our first collection with stainless steel cases. After being able to compare feedback on both materials for some time, in 2018, we started to transition all our watch and jewellery collections to stainless steel. In the watch industry, stainless steel is considered qualitatively superior, more durable and a more sustainable material in comparison to brass. Moreover, it allows for more recycling options.
In addition to producing in stainless steel, in 2021 CLUSE launched a watch with a case made of another more sustainable material. We are very excited about this new step!
In 2019, we started our transition to Italian leathers for our watch straps. We started working with suppliers who are members of the Leather Working Group. The standards of the Leather Working Group ensure that our suppliers limit the environmental impact of the tanning process of our leather straps.
The vast majority of our straps are produced in stainless steel, which is considered the metal for fashion watch straps that allows for the best recycling options. In 2021, we launched a new collection with a strap made of another more sustainable material. We are very excited about this new step!
We are working with leading Japanese movement manufacturers, this ensures that our watches are able to run on time with a very high degree of accuracy. On top of that they are considered the most durable in their class. The manufacturers did not only optimize the power consumption which leads to further longevity, but also constructed the movements in such a way that repair/replacement of individual components is possible.
We try to limit the amount of returns from our end consumers. From the start, we’ve done this by trying to avoid over-promising. This means that while our product looks beautiful in our pictures, we’re not overdoing the editing. We don’t like returns because the product didn’t look as nice in real life. Furthermore, we try to help customers as much as we can by clearly communicating our product specifications, such as the exact size of the product, which is key when ordering a watch, a jewellery piece or a new watch strap. In 2021, we introduced the ‘paperless return option’ for our customers in several markets, which enables the customer to return an item without having to print a return shipment label at home.
Our watches are sold by retailers worldwide. A customer of an official CLUSE retailer may return a product purchased at that retailer for service. In case of a warranty issue, we try to limit the number of watches returned by the retailer to us for service purposes. Instead, we opt as much as possible for local repair or exchange, allowing for higher service levels and avoiding back and forth transportation of our products.
We don’t throw away our defective CLUSE products. Returned products that are defective are, when repairing isn’t a realistic option, disposed and recycled as much as possible. For this process, we work with an accredited local partner.
For products with minor usage signs (such as unused returns or samples), we try to find other solutions. One of the most popular so far, has been our sample sale. It is our policy to not destroy products that are unsold.
At times, we donate our products to causes we believe in. We prefer to connect directly with those we support. For example, during the Covid-19 lockdowns in France and the Netherlands, we showed our support to the staff of nursing homes, who were working unprotected at a time when the threats of the virus were still unclear. In 2021, we’re donating products to an organization that helps people make a great impression during a job interview.