Yes, you read that right. IWC is now offering watch straps made of the modern, low-impact paper-based material TimberTex. 80% composed of natural plant fibers, 100% colored with natural dyes and 100% handmade in Italy. Each strap is manufactured by hand, combining centuries-old craftsmanship with new state-of-the-art production methods. The goal is to offer customers a high-quality choice that is both attractive and sustainable.
SEARCH FOR NATURAL PRODUCTS
IWC is known not only for its expertise in innovating groundbreaking material, but also for its strong commitment to sustainable business practices and responsible luxury watchmaking. Considering an additional alternative to real leather was an obvious task for the team in Schaffhausen.
Thus starting in 2018, IWC’s research team began to look into viable options. “We wanted to have something vegan and green, a material made of natural products. And so, instead of examining artificial leather and its predominant usage of plastic, we focused our research on the processing of new or recycled paper,” said Ivo Malacarne, Department Manager Bracelets and Accessories.
In order to comply with IWC’s strict self-imposed sustainability standards, the team got Sarah Vowles on board. As Senior Corporate Sustainability Manager who had already started investigating more environmental-friendly options on her own, Sarah joined Ivo in meetings with possible suppliers in order to ask the right questions. “For me, it was important that certain concerns were being looked at. For example, does the paper come from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified suppliers? Does the supplier run on renewable energy? Are fair and just working conditions applied?” explained Sarah.
The meetings with suppliers were clearly convincing. The cellulose used, as both learned, was made of trees from managed forests or tree farms in Scandinavia and Austria. Moreover, the stitching and lining of the watch strap consist of recycled thread and microfibre, respectively. “Every aspect of the strap is considered. And that’s really important – to be consistent,” said Sarah.
Indeed, careful internal and external evaluation confirmed that the new straps meet all IWC’s stringent testing criteria, including resilience, breathability and resistance to humidity. Very durable, they are water-resistant and will not show wear after a dip in the pool.
The new material opens new opportunities henceforth. “Personally, I would very much like to purchase something natural based and not made of plastic,” said Ivo.
“The resistance of the material is amazing. You can use it as an athletic accessory, in the water, during your sports activities. However, the main point is to offer something vegan. And I think we should offer these alternatives more in the future.”
IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 (Ref. IW358304) on a blue TimberTex strap
Back of an IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 (Ref. IW358304) on a blue TimberTex strap
IWC Portugieser Chronograph (Ref. IW371605) on a blue TimberTex strap
Back of an IWC Portugieser Chronograph (Ref. IW371605) on a blue TimberTex strap
The new paper straps are offered in blue, brown and black, and can be worn with four models: the Portugieser Chronograph, Portugieser Automatic 40, Portofino Automatic and Portofino Chronograph. Please visit your nearest IWC boutique to see, touch and try the new straps in person. Or shop online here.
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