With the green movement now bigger and louder than ever, it was only a matter of time before more manufacturers put responsible watchmaking at the top of their priority list.
No stranger to innovation, IWC — having pioneered new-age materials like Ceratanium (a patented blend of titanium and ceramic) — has a few tricks up its sleeve in regards to saving the planet and animal welfare, and it starts with the new TimberTex straps.
The Swiss manufacturer’s answer to low-impact yet high-quality alternative to animal leather is essentially made out of paper. More specifically, it’s a material composed of 80 percent natural plant fibres, sourced from trees that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified, and are grown in the non-profit organisation’s sustainably- and responsibly-managed European forests.
These natural fibres are brought to Italy, where traditional papermaking techniques and natural plant-based dyes are used to fashion these eco-friendly watch accessories. To mimic the comfort of leather straps, recycled microfibre is then padded around each strap, before being stitched together with recycled thread. You’ll also be pleased to know that unlike other synthetic leathers, TimberTex straps are not plastic or petroleum-based.
If you were worried that these would disintegrate faster than a newspaper left out in the rain, IWC maintains that these are water-resistant and can withstand sudden downpours, aggressive hand-washing, and even a dip in the pool. Because it was designed to be a quality alternative, it also looks and feels just like the real deal, with a soft and supple texture that’s reminiscent of brushed leather. Its irregular grain also makes every strap unique, so it’ll be nothing like the mass-produced synthetics you’re already used to seeing.
The TimberTex straps — available in blue, brown and black — currently complement four models in IWC’s extensive portfolio: the Portugieser Chronograph, Portugieser Automatic 40, Portofino Automatic, and Portofino Chronograph. In addition to this, the company also offers stainless steel bracelets, and textile or rubber straps to those who are no longer keen on sporting animal leather — and rightfully so.
Now that we’re at the cusp of an environmental and ethical revolution, it’s heartening to know that the watch industry — despite being so closely associated with luxury and tradition — is putting in efforts to veer away from the status quo of animal-sourced materials. These TimberTex straps are a pretty good way to start.
Find out more here.
(All images: IWC)