News: IWC launches TimberTex, a sustainable leather alternative

The Swiss watch manufacturer joins brands like Hermès and Adidas and develops watch straps made from sustainable leather alternatives

IWC Schaffhausne Timbertex
Source & Copyright by IWC Schaffhausen

Author: Julia Schindler

  • IWC launches TimberTex, a paper-based watch strap
  • The material is made from 80% vegetable fibres, hand-made in Italy
  • This brings the watch manufacturer one step closer to its CSR goals for 2022

The leading Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen shows, according to a press release , his commitment to sustainable business practices with the launch of the new TimberTex wristwatch. The special feature: The bracelets of the new collection are made from environmentally friendly paper and recycled materials.

Lining up the company to other luxury brands such as Hermès or Adidas, who also recently launched products made from leather alternatives. Their mycelium material, however, is made from natural mushrooms.

Traditional know-how meets innovation

While the luxury company is primarily known for its craftsmanship and precision engineering, the Watchmaker is further showing its commitment to innovation and sustainability. In 2018, the IWC research team dedicated itself to the search for vegan leather alternatives. The result: TimberTex paper based material.

Source & Copyright by IWC Schaffhausen

TimberTex is 80% made of natural plant fibres. More precisely: Made of cellulose from FSC-certified trees from European forests. This material is handcrafted in Italy using traditional paper-making techniques. This creates an irregular grain and a soft texture, which in complemented with recycled microfibre and recycled yarn, in order to come as close as possible to real leather.

In accordance with IWC's self-imposed sustainability standards, the new model is intended to be a holistically sustainable and fair product. TimberTex also meets the watch manufacturer's internal test criteria such as elasticity, breathability and water-resistance.

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Corporate social responsibility at IWC

For several years now, the company has set itself the goal of assuming social and ecological responsibility: In 2020, the manufactory published its second Corporate Sustainability Report.

The goals of the Sustainability Report are aiming to make the positive commitments of the brand measurable by 2022. The reason for the two-year cycle is to ensure a positive social and environmental impact, which is a long-term undertaking, according to IWC.

Source & Copyright by IWC Schaffhausen

2022 Goals: The goals of the CSR report

  • Double the share of women in management positions
  • RJC Chain of Custody certification of watch components
  • Global purchase of 100% renewable energy
  • Development and implementation of a green IT strategy
  • Stop buying non-FSC-certified forestry products
  • Development and piloting a concept for sustainable events
  • Maintaine "Great Place to Work" certification
  • Achieve Equal Pay Certification
  • Double annual corporate volunteering hours compared to 2020

In addition, the Sustainability Committee, which consists of representatives from the respective business areas, has determined the following focus areas: Sourcing, Environment, Employees and Community.

Sustainability conclusion

The CSR report thus shows a comprehensive plan for sustainable engagement. This is especially in the Jewelry and watch industry of great importance. Where ethical and fair working conditions in procurement of raw materials require urgent actions. The speed of implementation at IWC, however, makes clear, that implementing sustainable measures within large corporations is a complex task.

Sustainability goals should always work towards a holistic transformation. Adjustments are therefore required at all levels of the value chain. The TimberTex bracelet addresses one of the most important aspects, which is sourcing. This is often a difficult area to address, due to lack of transparency within supply chains. Thus, the innovation from IWC can be seen as a signal for seriousness for more long-term sustainability.

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