Fashion and fine jewellery, watches and fashion accessories are subject to increasing legislation. Watches have always been amongst the most regulated of these products, having various functional specifications and criteria to be met if product descriptions such as waterproof were to be used. However, in recent years this has been matched by burgeoning general product safety legislation.
Estimates suggest that over 10 million UK adults bought a watch in 2014 and with this volume of consumers potentially at risk if product safety requirements are not met retailers are becoming increasingly rigorous about the requirements they impose on their suppliers.
Key legislation for watch safety is the EU REACH (Restriction, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) Regulation and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS 2) Regulation.
REACH restricts many potentially hazardous substances. Those relevant to watches are nickel, lead, cadmium, azo dyes, formaldehyde, DMF and PCP’s. Chromium VI, which may be present in leather watch straps, is also controlled since May 2015. Further information about all of these is available HERE.
Suppliers may also choose to carry out tests from a customer satisfaction aspect, checking colour fastness to ensure that dye will not rub off onto either clothing or skin during prolonged wear.
Watches are also captured by the new Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS 2) legislation which seeks to reduce the amount of hazardous materials being used in electronic products. The objective of this Regulation relates to limiting environmental damage when the product is disposed of after use.
RoHS restricts Mercury, Lead, Chromium VI, Flame Retardents, Polybrominated Biphenyl (PBB), Polybrominated Biphenyl Ether (PBDE) to 0.1% by weight and Cadmium to 0.01% by weight. There is an anomaly here with the Lead levels of 0.05% allowed by REACH and suppliers need to keep abreast of all this legislation to ensure they do not fall foul of the new regulations included in both the REACH and RoHS regulation.
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