No industry wants to go extinct, but it’s a reality that might face watchmaking in the future if it doesn’t start to implement changes now. Sustainability and environmental awareness are more important than ever before, however, many watch brands can have rather archaic attitudes towards materials and waste. One company that is hoping to change the narrative around sustainable watches is The Sacred Crafts, who specialise in using reclaimed materials in their timepieces.
The concept behind The Sacred Crafts was born out of a surfer’s observations about the sea and the cultures he encountered on his global search for the best waves. Matt Harkins, the founder, spends most of his time on the water, experiencing first-hand the amount of trash and waste that accumulates on the shore – from abandoned fishing nets to entire boats that are left to rot – a wealth of materials that are still usable if only someone would put in the effort to reclaim them.
And it’s this untapped resource that Sacred Crafts use. The bronze for their cases comes from Thai boat propellers and some of their dials are made of wood reclaimed from ships – you can still see the natural wear and tear making each dial unique and akin to a work of art. It’s all part of the philosophy that their watches already exist, they just need to be shaped and formed.
One of the most unique substances that The Sacred Crafts pioneers as a luxury material is a type of terrazzo also known as sea glass. It’s made from nylon netting that is collected and moulded into sheets of solid plastic using jewellery grade bio-epoxy, from which state it can be cut into any shape desired. It’s used as a sustainable alternative to precious stones like jade and has a rich green colour.
So, what does a Sacred Crafts watch actually look like when you put all the sustainably sourced pieces together? Let’s take a closer look at Hua Hin. It’s a rugged, 44mm diver’s watch made from reclaimed bronze with a classic unidirectional diving bezel giving it a deeply nautical aesthetic and plenty of character. Not to mention it has 300m water resistance, making it very at home in the surf.
The dial and central bracelet links are crafted out of reclaimed wood from one of the first salvage missions conducted by the company, show the gritty reality of a life at sea, and carefully capturing the patina and weathering that the wood has experienced naturally. It shows that you are part of a story that began long before you bought the watch.
While the exterior of the watch is environmentally focussed, The Sacred Crafts haven’t compromised on the movement inside, opting for the Swiss made ETA 2824 automatic calibre with 42-hour power reserve. It’s a solid workhorse of a movement that you can observe through the display caseback. It’s a slight shame that it doesn’t quite make it to a weekend-proof 48-hours, but that’s not likely to be much of an issue as this is a watch you’ll want to take on adventures with you.
Because of the innovative ways the materials are sourced, the Hua Hin is a limited edition of 90 pieces priced at $1,599 (approx. £1,350). In fact, all The Sacred Crafts’ timepieces are limited and individually numbered, making them highly exclusive. However, while the process is currently reliant on local knowledge and small-scale engineering, the hope is for more brands to be inspired by the story of conservation, craft, and new ways to manufacture products – leading to a sustainable golden age of watchmaking.
More details at The Sacred Crafts.