While it’s difficult to ascertain just how much plastic debris enters the world’s oceans every year, it’s estimated that 8 million metric tonnes of such waste ended up under the sea in 2010 alone. It’s an environmental tragedy—but also an opportunity for designers to make something good out of this enormous waste. And that’s exactly what Tom Ford is doing.
After an initial tease in September, the American brand is launching its Ocean Plastic Timepiece, the first luxury watch made from 100 percent recycled ocean plastic, according to the brand. Every example of this Swiss-made model removes the equivalent of 35 bottles of plastic waste from the ocean and comes housed in recyclable packaging.
“Sustainability is a key issue in our lives right now,” Ford said in a statement. “In particular, the amount of ocean plastic that we are generating is perhaps taking the greatest toll on our environment of all. For every 1000 Ocean Plastic Timepieces we produce and sell, we permanently remove and prevent 490 pounds of plastic waste from entering the ocean.”
The handsome watch has a classic round 40mm case with a black DLC stainless steel screw case back, and is water-resistant up to 330ft. Like the case, the strap is made from ocean plastic, braided from fibres spun from the repurposed material.
In conjunction with the launch of its watch, the brand is also launching The Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize in partnership with 52HZ, an advisory group from the ocean conservation organisation, Lonely Whale. The prize money––a purse total of $1 million––will be awarded by a panel of judges, and the winning ideas will all be vetted not only for their ability to help the environment but also to ensure they are scalable and market-ready by 2025.
While the garment trade has dabbled in sustainability for a few years at this point, watches are an interesting new testing ground for applying earth-friendly ideas. Ulysse Nardin launched a watch earlier this month partially made from old fishing nets while Breitling’s presentation boxes are now crafted from plastic bottles.
The Tom Ford Ocean Plastic timepiece is available from Tom Ford boutiques and the brand’s website for £895.