Throughout over 150 years of history, IWC has had a long tradition of innovation in materials. Think for instance about its early use of titanium together with Porsche Design, or the 1986 Da Vinci Chronograph Perpetual Calendar, which was the world’s first pure ceramic watch. Even recently, the brand introduced Ceratanium, a innovative blend of titanium and ceramic. Today, the brand unveils another material innovation, however, the spirit behing this creation is different. Today is all about responsible watchmaking and low-impact, yet high-quality alternatives to animal leather. Here are the new IWC TimberTex straps.
Green initiatives are now flourishing in all industries, and for good reasons. More and more people are concerned about the environment or questions such as animal welfare and even the luxury industry has to find answers to such issues. Soucing materials without impact our planet is more than important, it is crucial for our future. This is why IWC has decided to work on alternatives. In addition to its responsibly sourced leather, the brand can offer stainless steel bracelets, textile or rubber straps to those who aren’t willing to wear animal leather. Today, IWC is broadening this offer by adding new straps made thanks to a low-impact process, involving natural materials and components made thanks to recycled sources. And yet, we’re talking luxury watches and the look and feel was also an important question for the brand – obviously. Finally, these straps won’t be impacted by the rules regarding imports of exoctic skins in certain areas of the world (cf. California’s ban on alligator skins).
The answer of IWC to current environmental and ethical questions is named TimberTex, “a material composed of 80% natural plant fibres. The cellulose used comes from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified trees grown in the non-profit organisation’s sustainably and responsibly managed European forests.” Then, it is manufactured in Italy, using traditional papermaking techniques and coloured with natural plant-based dyes. In addition to that, the IWC TimberTex straps are padded with recycled microfibre for extra comfort and finished with recycled thread. And unlike many synthetic leathers, these are not plastic or petroleum-based.
We had the chance to have three IWC watches equipped with these new TimberTex straps on hand, and the result is both surprising and pleasant. The straps have a irregular grain that somehow recalls the look of grained leather, thus complementing the watches – and not being a cheap-looking alternative, just for the sake of environmental matters. The textured is soft and matte, recalling brushed leathers or Alcantara, and the whole strap feels supple and comfortable. Actually, it doesn’t feel (thankfully) at all like paper-based. Also, and while we didn’t test it ourselves, IWC states that these TimberTex straps are water-resistant.
The IWC TimberTex straps can be added on 4 classic models in the collection; the Portugieser Chronograph, Portugieser Automatic 40, Portofino Automatic and Portofino Chronograph. They are available in black, dark blue or dark brown, thus elegantely replacing your classic calfskin or alligator strap.
For more details, please consult iwc.com.