With an estimated nine million metric tons of plastic dumped in the oceans annually, dive watch makers are making a splash by recycling that trash into fashionable wrist straps and more.
In 2018, Breitling tapped Outerknown, the sustainable apparel company for NATO straps made with Econyl yarn derived from discarded fishing nets and other ocean waste. The Outerknown range of colors and sizes fit any Breitling. A brown Econyl strap outfits the new Superocean Heritage ’57 Outerknown, which takes its cues from the original SuperOcean from 1957 with arrow-shaped hands, oversize indexes and a distinctive concave bezel. The retro-styled COSC-certified chronometer with a bronze dial is available in stainless steel ($4,380) and with an 18-karat red-gold bezel ($5,225).
Ulysse Nardin established a research unit dubbed the marine circular economy. Last fall, the brand launched the R-Strap made from recycled PET ocean waste to fit the brand’s Diver 44 mm, Diver 42 mm, Diver Chronograph, Marine Torpilleur and Freak X models. Ulysse Nardin soon followed up with the Diver Net, a concept watch featuring a novel material derived from old fishing nets. A similar material was used to produce cases for Alpina’s Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection ($1,595 for the 44 mm and $1,495 for the 36 mm) fitted with two-tone straps made from recycled plastic bottles.
This year, Panerai not only used recycled PET straps with the Luminor Marina 44 mm, Guillaume Néry Edition, dubbed Shades of the Sea ($18,900), but has also been incorporating salvaged materials into cases and dials. The Mike Horn special editions use recycled metal for the cases. Meanwhile, Luna Rossa editions, named for the brand’s sponsorship of an America’s Cup team, are fitted with dials made from recycled sailcloth and carbon fiber material taken.
In April, Panerai plans to go a step further and unveil a watch made completely with recycled materials, movement and all. “We believe it is also part of our mission to take the lead in what is becoming one of the most important subjects in the world,” says the CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué.