In March 2022, Maurice Lacroix announced a groundbreaking initiative – making watches and associated packaging using ocean-bound upcycled plastic. Working in collaboration with #tide, a specialist company operating in this field, Maurice Lacroix committed to recovering 10 million bottles over a 3-year period; however, after just 11⁄2 years, over 7 million bottles have already been gathered from the seas, on islands and along the coastlines of surrounding various islands in Thailand. Now, the watch brand from the Franches Montagnes explains what it has done to date and reaffirms its commitment for the future.
Released last year, the AIKON #tide embraces the familiar design codes of the brand’s hugely popular urban watch, the AIKON. Formed of ocean-bound upcycled plastic and executed in an array of new eye-popping colours, the #tide models perpetuate Maurice Lacroix’s reputation for delivering Swiss quality and high-perceived value. Moreover, this sustainable approach to watchmaking also extends to the product packaging.
Working in collaboration with #tide, a specialist company based in Switzerland, Maurice Lacroix has sponsored plastic collection activities and funded the purchase of longtail boats, warehouses and equipment. At the outset, the mission was to recover 10 million bottles over a 3-year period; however, after just 11⁄2 years, over 7 million bottles have been gathered from the seas surrounding various islands in Thailand.
Stéphane Waser, Managing Director of Maurice Lacroix, remarks, “At Maurice Lacroix we have enjoyed working with #tide and visiting the communities that are actively involved in recovering plastic bottles from the sea. As we near the completion of our original commitment made in 2022, we did not want to walk away…. this was never a one-shot deal for us. Our journey began by saying ‘that’s what a drop makes’, but I think we’ve already achieved much more than a drop. Nevertheless, none of us should be complacent… we believe in sustainability and that our work in this area must continue.”
Maurice Lacroix has also funded education programmes, delivering courses in schools about the importance of recycling. This has involved children being provided with an insight into the benefits of recycling. The objective was to raise awareness of the marine environment and preserve the oceans for future generations. To date, this joint initiative has led to 550 children, spread across 13 schools, attending educational workshops.
The plastic bottles retrieved from the sea and along the coastlines are sorted, washed and compacted close to the point of collection. The bottles are shredded into flakes, subsequently compounded into smaller granules and then combined with an undisclosed formula, culminating in the creation of upcycled plastic which is eventually used for making brightly coloured AIKON #tide watches.
Back in 2022, Maurice Lacroix chose to fanfare its initiative with the strapline, ‘That’s what a drop makes’. Well, the AIKON #tide has been more than a drop in the ocean. With 7 million bottles recovered from the sea, that’s 7 million fewer bottles polluting the waters lapping the coast of Thailand. With 3 million bottles left to go, Maurice Lacroix did not want to stop its support once the original commitment had been met, hence the company will continue working with #tide in the region. Furthermore, this sustainability initiative is not merely about collecting bottles from the sea, it is also about delivering benefits to the local population.
Beyond collecting more bottles, Maurice Lacroix will fund additional warehouse facilities for storing the plastic and build a pier in Ranong to allow boats to land waste more safely and efficiently. With workers often living
on site, the staff accommodation will be refurbished. Furthermore, Maurice Lacroix will continue to support the maintenance of long-tail boats and the expansion of collecting points in Thailand along with many more ideas to follow. Currently, there are approximately 80 people involved in collecting plastic bottles, 14 of whom work at the Ranong facility.
Some recovered plastics are not suitable for recycling eg polystyrene, so #tide are working on a pilot project to transform this waste into Eco Bricks that can be subsequently made into furniture or even schools.
Thomas Schori, #tide’s Founder and CEO, added, “The collaboration with Maurice Lacroix is a perfect match because we share the same values: Swiss quality and perfection combined with humanity and respect for the environment.
“The relationship with Maurice Lacroix is a perfect example of a 360° partnership: Not only do we work together by supplying our ocean-bound plastic for their outstanding timepieces and packaging, thanks to Maurice Lacroix’s generous contributions, we have also been able to collect millions of plastic bottles, build warehouses, buy boats and educate people. This collaboration is of huge benefit to society, including the fauna, flora, and those people who have been affected by plastic pollution.»
YOUR TIME IS NOW WITH MAURICE LACROIX
For almost 50 years, Maurice Lacroix has demonstrated all of its watchmaking expertise, crafting watches within the brand’s Manufacture in Saignelégier, Switzerland. Having won more than fifteen awards, the brand has demonstrated an innovative, avant-garde and perfectionist spirit over the years. Maurice Lacroix’s culture is indeed to offer affordable watches, with iconic design and high perceived value. In 2016, Maurice Lacroix reinterpreted its iconic model of the 90s, the Calypso, releasing the AIKON. Modern and daring, the AIKON is made for a generation of Millennials who are connected, cosmopolitan and talented. This ambitious generation is setting out to conquer the world’s cities, embracing their unique spirit. A constant source of inspiration for the Maurice Lacroix creative team, an active and urban brand, that thrives in the electric energy of these cities. With this in mind, Maurice Lacroix chooses to associate its image with a set of activities that allow consumers to experience the unique vitality of city life.