In Part 2 of Cachet’s 2021 feature story, we take a look at luxury watch brands driving change towards sustainability, conservation, and humanitarian efforts to make the world a better place – featuring Audemars Piguet, Tom Ford, Breitling and Oris.
The Audemars Piguet Foundation
Since 1992, The Audemars Piguet Foundation has contributed to global efforts to conserve forests through environmental protection and youth awareness-raising measures. Mrs Jasmine Audemars, daughter of Jacques-Louis Audemars, who first founded the association, is the current chair of the Board of the Audemars Piguet Foundation. The institution benefits from the scientific cooperation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organisation comprising almost 1,000 governmental and non-governmental members, all responsible for conservation issues.
The Foundation provides aid to projects coordinated by non-profit associations and non-governmental organisations on a global scale. The support helps communities to protect a lifestyle and culture that respect the environment. To date, the Audemars Piguet Foundation has supported over 30 campaigns and initiatives around the world. These projects range from protecting biodiversity in Madagascar to aiding family farming in Brazil. Other efforts include protecting Dayak farming practices in Borneo, reconstituting forests in Senegal, protecting ancient skills in Colombia, and so much more.
In El Salvador, the Audemars Piguet Foundation supported a global programme initiated by One Drop, launched by Guy Laliberté, Cirque du Soleil founder. The Audemars Piguet Foundation planted twelve thousand trees to slow down the erosion that is causing water sources to run dry and supplying families with fresh produce.
The Foundation’s approach hopes to set in motion a virtuous circle of sustainable development through projects led in collaboration with the people they affect. In raising awareness among young people, upholding past knowledge, and fostering skill development, communities may build a sustainable future.
Tom Ford: Plastic Innovation Prize
In 2020, Tom Ford released the world’s first luxury timepiece made from 100% ocean plastic: Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic Watch.
The stylish Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic timepiece features a case made entirely from plastic with a stainless-steel case-back plated in black DLC for a smooth finish. The stainless-steel crown plates with black DLC with ocean plastic inlay. The matte black dial features Super-LumiNova numerals with painted hands that glow in the dark. The 40mm quartz movement watch has a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and is water-resistant up to 100m. The signature Tom Ford braid strap is hand braided out of recycled plastic with a stainless-steel buckle plated in black DLC.
In addition to the historic launch, Tom Ford created an innovation prize in partnership with 52HZ, an advisory launched by Lonely Whale, to reassert their commitment to ocean health. The Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize aims to drive the creation of a suitable replacement for thin-film plastic and to urge the globe to act against plastic pollution in our seas.
The winning innovator will receive USD 1.2 million in exchange for developing a viable replacement for thin-film plastic, often seen in polybags favoured by the fashion industry to single-use, resealable sandwich and storage bags. With submissions accepted from January 2021, the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize is a two-year competition. Three years of support for competition finalists will follow, designed to encourage the development and adoption of these alternatives to thin-film plastic. The winning submission will be thoroughly vetted and stress-tested to ensure a positive environmental impact and market readiness by 2025.
Every year, an estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic waste pollute our oceans, destroying habitats and endangering marine life. Plastic films make up 5 million metric tonnes of ocean leakage or 46% of all ocean plastic leakage. Estimations indicate that there are 14 million metric tons of plastic on the ocean floor today that will be nearly impossible to remove.
The purchase of a Tom Ford Ocean Plastic Timepiece contributes to permanently removing an equivalent of 35 plastic bottles from the ocean, delivered in eco-friendly, recyclable packaging. Additionally, transportation of the ocean plastic materials is carbon neutral, and its Switzerland-based compounding is solar powered. The ocean plastic used is sourced from uncontrolled landfills, oceans, and coastlines. For every thousand Ocean Plastic Timepieces produced and sold, over 222kg of plastic waste disappears for good.
Breitling: Superocean Heritage
Since March 2018, Breitling has partnered with Ocean Conservancy, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to leading the charge for a healthy ocean and clean beaches. Ocean Conservancy has organised tens of thousands of coastal clean-up operations across 153 countries over the last three decades.
These efforts have attracted the support of hundreds of thousands of volunteers. They have also significantly aided in increasing public awareness of the pollution of our oceans and beaches. Since 1986, more than 12 million people have removed 230 million pounds of trash from coastlines as part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.
Breitling plays an active role in some of Ocean Conservancy’s initiatives by participating in clean-up programmes to maintain trash-free seas and restore balance to ocean health. The watchmaker and Ocean Conservancy hope individuals feel empowered to play a part in making a difference.
In May 2019, Breitling introduced the Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronograph 44 Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition to commemorate its crucial partnership with Ocean Conservancy. The launch, held in Bali, was a part of a massive beach clean-up initiative. A hundred Breitling guests joined hundreds of volunteers from Bali and the surrounding regions to dispose of hundreds of kilograms of garbage and plastic from the beach. Breitling’s Surfers Squad were on hand to support the effort, including American pro surfer Kelly Slater and Australians Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore.
Breitling has also partnered with sustainable apparel manufacturer Outerknown, co-founded by 11 times world champion Kelly Slater. As a result, the brand has created a series of new Superocean Automatic watches. The striking Superocean Heritage Chronograph 44 timepiece celebrates this meaningful collaboration. The Nato strap comprises ECONYL yarn, an innovative material woven from nylon waste sourced from fishing nets recovered from oceans. With a black DLC-coated stainless-steel case, calming blue dial and strap, the watch makes a stylish statement about saving our heritage by protecting our oceans.
Oris: Change for the Better Initiative
Oris has been a leader in environmental conservation for the last decade. The brand raises awareness to causes worthy of widespread support by releasing limited-edition watches that spotlight preservation efforts worth championing. Ocean conservation is a sentimental cause to Oris as a brand recognised for their dive watches.
The Oris Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition was the first watch in the ever-evolving Change for the Better series. It was a dive watch on the Aquis platform made to benefit the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). The organisation protects ocean wildlife off the coast of Australia, including the massive ecosystem supported by the Great Barrier Reef. AMCS is an independent charity that has protected Australia’s wildlife for over 50 years and has since partnered with Oris on other watches.
Oris has also partnered with the Coral Restoration Foundation since 2017. In 2020, Oris teamed up with the Coral Restoration Foundation to produce two watches to raise awareness for the restoration of Carysfort Reef, situated in the Florida Keys. The Foundation is working to reverse the damage done to the Florida reef tract. The Carysfort Reef Limited Edition is a GMT diver with a date complication. Instead of large numerals or an oversized GMT hand potentially obscuring time telling, Oris designed the watch with an alternate time zone on an inner 24-hour track for quick reading. Armed with a brilliant blue dial and offset with subtle orange accents, the timepiece echoes the beauty of the deep blue sea with thriving coral reefs. The second watch is a solid gold version of the first, which gives the Aquis an undeniably luxurious feel.
Scientists estimate that we have lost 50 per cent of the world’s coral reefs to coral bleaching and human causes over the last 30 years. Without direct intervention, coral reefs could become extinct within the next 80 years.
Despite the damage, there is hope. With Oris’s support, the Coral Restoration Foundation planted more than 35,000 corals on Carysfort Reef in 2020, just one of many sites the Foundation is working to restore. CRF has renewed more than 8,000 square metres of coral beds in the Florida Keys and restoring more than 120,000 corals to this ecosystem.
This feature story appears in our 2021 annual watch supplement, Cachet. Read the full magazine today on Magzter.