The Image Shoppe's Lake Michigan Beach Guide
Sustainability
Sustainability
 | April 01, 2016

Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim: The Lifecycle of a Watch

posted by , Rob McCarty

Reclaimed watch

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fairly obsessive person, and I dedicate a lot of time to my obsessions (unintentionally, I swear). Besides my usual fancies, like shoes and The Image Shoppe, my most recent obsession revolves around wrist watches. I’ve always loved watches, and still think it’s a much better way of tracking time than a smartphone.

The appeal of a smartwatch

This past summer, I noticed a new smartwatch on the market that was pretty sweet, but also set at a pretty steep price. Upon seeing this badass watch, my obsession for watches resurfaced, and I continued my search for the perfect timepiece. I obsessed with the search to find my new piece.

Until suddenly, my grandfather’s genes kicked in. He was always the type to reuse and rarely ever bought something new. I definitely inherited that from him. I then realized, “Why should I buy a brand new smartwatch that will become obsolete in a year, when I can buy a perfectly good used watch?” I was satisfied with this switch of plans.

If it's broken, fix it

And then, plans changed… again. One day, rummaging through my dresser, I found a box that happened to be filled with all my old timepieces that had seen better days, but then the memories came to me. The watch my parents got me for my college graduation, the watch I bought on my and Karen’s first vacation together, my grandpa’s watch he earned as an anniversary gift from Whirlpool. Sure, some had busted batteries or works, but those things could be fixed. There was truly no reason I had to buy another watch when I could bring back the ones in my Watch Graveyard back to life.

Since then, I’ve spent the last few months refurbishing these watches. To date, I have had five of them fixed and have rotated wearing them all.

Why this matters

There’s a lesson to be learned here beyond fixing up old watches. A lot of times, we forget about things we already have that may be outdated or broken. The easy, more exciting thing to do is to buy something new instead of repurposing or repairing what we already have. On the flipside, the easiest thing usually isn’t the most sustainable.

As a business owner, we should be thinking about how we can assess our materials and space to be used as best as possible, for as long as possible. If it’s broken, don’t just throw it away—ask if it can be fixed. Bonus: when things need to be fixed, that creates more job security for craftsmen.

As always, support local

At TIS, we’re firm advocates of reclaiming, reusing, and being mindful of our consumption. We strive to be even more mindful of this in the months and years ahead, and encourage you to do the same! Here are some awesome resources in Grand Rapids to help you reduce, reuse and reclaim some common items going forward.

Baribeau & Sons Inc.: Watch & Jewelry Repair
McKendree’s Jewelry: Jewelry Repair
Misfitz Audio: Vintage Audio Equipment & Repairs
Urban Exchange, Rock Paper Scissors, Plato’s Closet, & Goodwill: Clothing & Accessories
The Conscious Collective Consignment: Consignment shop featuring clothing, home decor & local handmade goods 
Kentwood Office Furniture: Gently Used Office Furniture
Lost & Found: Antique Furniture
Affordable iStore: Apple Repair & Sales
Clearlite Window & Door: Window & Door Repair

What are some of your favorite local resources that aid in sustainability practices? Shoot 'em our way!