Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 3 December 2020

Designer Tom Ford turns his hand to tackling pollution with plastic watch

The man who once helmed Gucci has created a luxury watch made from reclaimed ocean waste

Designer Tom Ford launches the Tom Ford Ocean Plastic Watch. Courtesy Tom Ford
Designer Tom Ford launches the Tom Ford Ocean Plastic Watch. Courtesy Tom Ford

Designer Tom Ford is an environmentalist. Shocked by statistics that show that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, Ford decided to do his bit by creating a luxury watch made entirely from plastic recovered from the oceans.

The watch is all black and extremely elegant, as befitting a man who is known for his immaculate eye, both as a fashion designer and film director. Speaking to British Vogue, Ford explained why he felt compelled to try to turn the tide on rubbish. “It’s one of the greatest issues facing us: polluting the oceans,” he said simply. “If they die, we’re in big trouble.”

The Tom Ford Ocean Plastic watch. Courtesy Tom Ford
The Tom Ford Ocean Plastic watch. Courtesy Tom Ford

Called the Tom Ford Ocean Plastic Watch, each timepiece is made from 100 per cent ocean plastic, and uses the equivalent of 35 plastic bottles, transforming them from a pollutant into a durable wristwatch with a woven strap.

“I suppose it feels like plastic, if you know, but it doesn’t feel like a compromise. It’s incredibly durable. It’s beautifully made. And it says ‘ocean plastic’ on it. You see it on your arm and you think: 'Wow, you can make great things out of ocean plastic,'” Ford says.

As well as launching the watch, Ford has created the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize. As part of a five-year partnership, the designer has teamed up with actor Adrian Grenier and 52HZ, the advisory arm of Lonely Whale (founded by Grenier in 2015 to help clean the oceans) to launch the initiative.

Open to anyone, the prize's brief is to find an environmentally friendly, fully scalable alternative to thin-film plastic bags. Used for just moments, up to 5 trillion are manufactured every year and, once discarded, find their way into waterways, and from there, into the oceans. Offering a $1 million prize, Ford hopes to trigger new solutions to the real problem of global plastic pollution. The winner will be announced in 2022, with the aim of full-scale production of the new bag set for 2025.

More information about the Innovation Prize is at plasticprize.org.

Updated: November 22, 2020 10:25 AM

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