Leather is recognized as the preferable material for watch straps for various reasons, including the fact that it is sturdy, luxurious to the touch, and simply attractive.

The environmental impact of leather manufacture, on the other hand, is apparent, as even sustainably sourced leather can leave a modest carbon footprint on the environment.

To do this, IWC has developed TimberTex, a novel paper-based strap made up of 80 percent natural plant fibers and explicitly designed for watches.

Even though synthetic leather is frequently touted as a suitable replacement for animal leather, its production involves plastic and petroleum, which typically negates any potential benefits. TimberTex, on the other hand, is made using traditional papermaking techniques and dyed with natural plant-based pigments, as opposed to different types of paper. The cellulose used in TimberTex is derived from trees certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and grown in forests that have been sustainably and responsibly managed.

Franziska Gsell, IWC’s Chief Marketing Officer and Chair of the company’s Sustainability Committee explained that the company’s culture of innovation and responsible watchmaking was the driving force behind this new development.

“From our earliest days, when we relied on hydroelectric power from the Rhine, through our early adoption of titanium and ceramics, as well as the invention of Ceratanium, our quest of innovation has resulted in significant advancements in technology. So naturally, we wanted to apply this pioneering attitude to finding other high-quality alternatives for our clients who don’t want to wear animal leather. So we set out to find them”.

While most animal leather substitutes are stiff and uncomfortable, IWC’s TimberTex choices are padded with recycled microfibre, making it more straightforward for the material to adhere to the wrist’s contours and feel more natural. It is also water-resistant, and it can even endure brief exposure to water under certain conditions. For the time being, IWC is only offering its TimberTex straps in three colors: blue, brown, and black. They are intended to complement the existing Portugeiser Chronograph, Portugeiser Automatic 40, Portofino Automatic, and Portofino Chronograph collections.