In an age where everyone is concerned about sustainability, IWC Schaffhausen continues to make strides to comply with responsible and ethical sourcing and to develop environmentally friendly materials. The newest result of its efforts is the TimberTex line of luxury watch straps that are paper-based using low-impact paper and plant cellulous.
The announcement of the brand’s pioneering creation comes just before the big reveal of the straps at the upcoming Watches & Wonders Geneva exhibit. The new straps complement the brand’s responsibly sourced leather, fabric, rubber and steel bracelets. The straps, which have a luxury look and a supple textured feel, are created using 80 percent natural plant fibers and cellulose from the Forest Stewardship Council-certified trees that are grown in the FSC’s responsibly managed European forests. This plant material is preferred to typical synthetic leathers that are usually petroleum based because these are recyclable.
The straps are actually made in Italy using traditional paper-making techniques and low-impact paper. The strap colors are achieved using plant-based dyes so they are natural and, again, recyclable. In total, more than 60 different steps or processes go into the making the TimberTex straps. They are padded with a recycled microfiber materials, too, for added comfort and they are even stitched using recycled thread. Additionally, these manufacturing and coloring techniques result in an irregular graining of the strap – making each one slightly different and unique.
Following long-term research and development, the straps were tested by IWC and found to adhere to its top-notch quality criteria. They straps are being made to fit four of the brand’s top-selling timepieces, including the Portugieser Chronograph and Automatic 40mm, and the Portofino Chronograph and Automatic. Currently black, blue and brown color ways are being offered. The strap should retail for about $155.
The news of the straps comes on the heels of the IWC announcement that the brand has attained the Chain-of-Customer certification from the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). It is a voluntary standard that certifies that the gold and platinum used by IWC are fully traceable and responsibly sourced. IWC already met the RJC’s Code of Practices years ago, so adopting the new voluntary standard was a natural fit.