A few years ago, Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué and the brand’s extreme explorer ambassador Mike Horn had a discussion about global pollution that put the watch brand in its mission to build a watch made from 100% recycled materials.
Horn stressed that he saw pollution in the most remote places on the planet and urged Panerai to do something. “We believe it is also part of our mission to take the lead in what is becoming one of the most important issues in the world,” said Pontroué.
In 2019, Panerai presented two Mike Horn Edition submersibles with recycled EcoTitanium housings and PET straps derived from recycled plastic bottles. One was an Experience Watch, an ultra-limited edition that offered the chance to join Horn on a glacier hike in Svalbard, Norway. Even the packaging was made from 100% recycled materials.
That same year, Panerai also launched the brand’s partnership with team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, official challenger for the 36th America’s Cup in New Zealand in March with four watches featuring dials made from recycled sailcloth. of the yacht.
Last year the brand released the Mike Horn Submersible EcoPangea Tourbillon with a metal casing taken from the shaft of Horn’s amphibious boat, Pangea. The Luminor GMT-42mm had a dial made from recycled carbon fiber used for the hulls of racing yachts.
And this year, Panerai has extended the use of recycled PET wristbands to the new Luminor Marina 44mm – Guillaume Néry Edition, dubbed Shades of the Sea (US $ 18,900). The ultralight and rugged case is made of Direct Metal Laser Sintered Titanium (DMLS) using 3D printing technology that builds up layer after layer of laser fused metal powder. A rubberized coating is applied to the bezel, crown and bridge lever, and an accentuated convex glass combined with a gradient effect on the dial evokes the rays of the sun filtering through the sea.
“We worked with Guillaume, freediving world champion who is also very exposed to pollution, on this program,” explains Pontroué.
Breitling presented its first strap made from recycled materials with the 2018 Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown. The watch’s NATO strap was made from ECONYL yarn, a material made from recycled nylon waste, in partnership with clothing company Outerknown, co-founded by Breitling Surf Squad Ambassador Kelly Slater. The brand continued with a comprehensive collection of bracelets in different colors and sizes that match any Breitling model.
Last fall, Breitling launched the Superocean Heritage ’57 Outerknown (US $ 4,380 in steel and US $ 5,225 in steel with an 18k red gold bezel). The retro design combines a bronze-colored dial and matching ECONYL strap to evoke the laid-back California and Hawaiian surf scene of the 50s and 60s. It is packaged in the brand’s new box set, made up of 100 % of upcycled PET bottles. The box is recyclable as well as recycled.
In his efforts to develop solutions to the ocean plastic crisis, Ulysse Nardin has adopted the concept of marine circular economy and created a dedicated research unit that studies materials from the sea, in particular the characteristics of oyster shells. , seaweed, marine PET (plastic bottles), and polyamide fishing nets. “The marine circular economy is a concept according to which you collect objects in the water and reuse what you find in the water to produce objects that are used in the water”, explains François-Xavier Hotier, president of ‘Ulysse Nardin Americas.
Ulysse Nardin marked its first milestone with the launch of the R-Strap last fall, appealing to brand ambassador Ben Lecomte, the French long-distance swimmer who was the first to swim across the Pacific Trash Vortex, a vast area of swirling ocean currents. where trash accumulates, in 2019. He and his Vortex Swim Team have traveled 300 nautical miles to sound the alarm about the more than 300 million tonnes of plastic produced each year. It is estimated that eight to ten million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year.
The R-Strap is made from recycled polyamide yarn from discarded fishing nets, one of the main sources of plastic pollution in the oceans.
Soon after, Ulysse Nardin launched the Diver Net, an innovative concept watch with every finishing element designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. For the decoration of the case, the middle, the back and the bezel, the brand has teamed up with the French company Fil & Fab, which recovers the nets that have become unnecessary and transforms them into polyamide pellets, a raw material very resistant to friction.
“This raw material is very strong and very resistant to friction and scratches, so it is a material that you can use to make a watch and to maintain the quality and reliability of a watch, which is amazing,” says Hotier.
The quest to expand sustainability has also extended to more affordable brands, such as Alpina, which has launched five models from the new Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection (US $ 1,595 for the 44mm and US $ 1,495 for the the 36 mm) last summer. Each case is made from 70% recycled ocean plastic from discarded fishing nets collected in the Indian Ocean and 30% fiberglass, which adds strength and durability.
The two-tone NATO style straps are made from recycled plastic bottles, and the black vegetable leather straps that come with each men’s model are made from recycled apple waste. The collection is produced in partnership with the start-up Gyre Watch, which sources recycled materials, and Surfrider Foundation Europe, a non-governmental organization working for the preservation of the oceans.
Recycled materials have also become fashionable with the designer set. Tom Ford’s 002 Ocean Plastic Quartz Watch (US $ 995), for example, features a case and strap made from 100% recycled plastic ocean waste.
It looks like Panerai will be the first to make the world’s first 100% recycled watch, powered by an unprecedented recycled movement, due out in April. “The play with Guillaume Néry was part of our warm-up exercises, like those we do before a race,” explains Pontroué. “You have to keep the environment in mind with every action you take. ”