The new year is a great time to take a look at some fresh perspectives. One of them comes from the relatively young Swiss watch brand known as CuleM. Founded in 2018, this company has formed collaborations with four top conservation and humanitarian organizations in an effort to give back to world. It also plants 100 trees, or works to make charitable donations, for every watch sold. Need another excuse to take a closer look at CuleM? The fledging firm’s philosophy, its road map to the future and sustainability, as well as its affordable and nicely designed GMT watches should reel you in.
Recently, via a mutual friend and a member of the board for CuleM, I had the opportunity to talk at length with CuleM founder, Matthew Cule about this young company that produces automatic GMT watches and its direction. The conversation was enlightening. From it, we deduced five easy reasons to take a closer look at the brand.
CuleM and Conservation
Four easy reasons come all at once with CuleM’s partnerships and causes. Easily one of the most exciting is its commitment to conservation of Earth’s resources. CuleM’s collections are inspired by different aspects of the world in which we live, and the company has pledged that at least 3 percent of all of its sales will be donated to philanthropic and sustainable causes.
As such, it has teamed with conservation organizations Rainforest Trust and Ecologi to protect 65 acres of tropical rainforest and plant 10,000 trees in a CuleM Forest. Additionally, with every watch sold, CuleM will plant another 100 trees in the forest and preserve more than six more acres of existing Brazilian rainforest. It also turns its sights to preventing plastic from making its way to the oceans by teaming with Plastic Oceans UK.
CuleM and Humanity
As if this wasn’t enough, the brand also teams with ActionAid to donate a percentage of total sales to the organization that works with women and girls living in poverty.
“These efforts enable our customers to protect land, air, water, animals and people with each purchase,” says Cule. “I believe that a watch has meaning to its owner, and we wanted to add to the meaning by making a lasting impact on the planet.”
CuleM and Sustainability
While he admits that the company’s watches are not yet fully sustainable or made from upcycled materials, Cule says that this is the ultimate end goal. This is the reason that CuleM uses only automatic movements that can live on into eternity versus quartz watches powered by batteries. The company also boasts100 percent plastic-free packaging and is working to reduce its carbon footprint. In fact, the firm is so dedicated to this path, that it has even created the position of Chief Sustainability Officer.
Inspired by his passion for travel, the world and watches, successful entrepreneur Matthew Cule was eager to bring his three loves together in a new venture: CuleM. The goal was to offer affordable GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) watches to those who want to travel the world and make new memories. His focus was on Swiss craftsmanship and affordability, as well as design. To offer the best value proposition, CuleM sells its watches directly to customers online – enabling a great starting price of $1,100. The top price, depending on the model selected, the materials and the extra strap choice, is $1,320.
There are three different models, including the Portal GMT, the Frame GMT and the Lights GMT. Each version is a 40mm stainless steel watch with a different world-map on the dial. Additionally, there are several color variations of each dial and a host of strap choices for the extra interchangeable strap offered with each watch.
For instance, the Portal GMT Mediterranean Sea Blue watch depicts the world map on the dial in a layered format for the continents in bright blue against a blue background. The layering of the continents gives them great depth and dimension. The GMT function is read on the outer 24-hour chapter ring of the dial and offers a day and night indication. This particular color is incredibly alluring and makes a sophisticated statement. The Italian leather strap it is sold on is perfectly color coordinated and as a whole it delivers real panache.
The Frame GMT features a dial wherein the world map is created in white outlining in a highly geometric format. Converse to the Frame, the Lights GMT watch offers an icy blue pearlescent dial with the continents drawn in a darker blue in a very realistic representation. The continents are bright white in the daytime, but as night encroaches, tiny luminescent points on the map shine the major cities around the world.
All of the CuleM watches house Swiss ETA GMT automatic movements and boast a transparent case back for viewing the caliber. The case back is also engraved with six continents and 24 world destinations showing the correct world time zones in both GMT and BST (British Standard Time). The watch also depicts the correct time in Sydney, Australia, year-round, even in summer time. All CuleM watches also offer date indication at 6:00 and are guaranteed for five years.
CuleM and the Future
As mentioned, Cule says that the brand is working on its brand identity and its fundamental strategies. “As a brand we want to make ourselves sustainable in all aspects, including the products, and we have a roadmap to accomplish that,” says Cule. “The first thing was to complement the watch with doing good and right in the world, that was always my objective. Now that we have some fantastic partners, we will look at becoming carbon free and even carbon negative. We also know that automatic watches are sustainable, but we hope to make the other materials more sustainable over time, so people can buy our watch and feel guilt free.”