Swiss luxury watch giant IWC Schaffhausen today launched MiraTex™ straps made with MIRUM® alongside Gisele Bündchen, the company’s new Environmental & Community Projects Advisor. IWC is a luxury Maison within the Richemont portfolio, which also includes brands such Cartier, Chloé, Peter Millar, Net-a-Porter, and more.
“IWC understands that luxury consumers increasingly expect brands to show their commitment to sustainability and expect products to be made responsibly and with minimal environmental impact. For this reason, many watch lovers are searching for alternatives to leather straps without compromising quality, durability, or wearing comfort,” IWC states in its press release. “IWC’s MiraTex™ straps are made with MIRUM®, a biobased, plastic-free, circular material that meets IWC’s rigorous standards of durability, flexibility and aesthetic beauty.”
MIRUM® is made entirely with plants and minerals and does not contain any petrochemicals or plastic. The main ingredients of the material are FSC-certified natural rubber, fillers such as cork powder, and different mineral colorants. Since MIRUM® is made from natural materials instead of petroleum and requires no tanning, it has an extremely low carbon footprint – an order of magnitude lower than conventional leather or plastic alternatives in fact.
“Natural Fiber Welding and the entire MIRUM® team is excited to partner with IWC on the creation of the MiraTex™ straps,” stated Oihana Elizalde, Vice President of the MIRUM® business unit at NFW. “This marks a major milestone in the IWC’s sustainability journey, and we look forward to future collaborations with the brand. Together there is an unlimited potential for innovation through our aligned commitment to sustainability and responsibly made luxury products.”
Supermodel and environmentalist Gisele Bündchen is known for her passionate commitment to sustainability and conservation. She has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Program since 2009. She has been honored by Harvard University and UCLA for her longtime commitment to environmental causes and also received the Best Green International Celebrity Award by the Green Awards.
“I’m excited to partner with IWC on our shared purpose of protecting our planet. Our sustainability journeys both started with the realization that we had a responsibility to do more. That we could use our voices and influence to make a positive impact on the environment and society,” Gisele said. “I look forward to working together with IWC to help leave a better future for generations to come.”
The launch of IWC’s MiraTex™ straps supports the company’s ambitious sustainability goals, including plans to phase out non-FSC certified products. Further details can be found in the newly released 2022 Sustainability Report.
Both IWC and NFW are targeting UN SDGs:
8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
12: Responsible Consumption and Production
13: Climate Action
14: Life Below Water
15: Life on Land
"Sustainability drives everything we do at IWC Schaffhausen. We have been producing watches since 1868; we’ve had over 150 years to perfect our craft, yet we continue to push ourselves. For you. For all of us. Our sustainability journey began over ten years ago, and although we don’t need, nor likely have, a century to perfect our approach, the precision, passion and persistence that go into our watchmaking will continue to drive our sustainability efforts,” IWC’s website states.
Right now, nearly all leather alternatives are made of plastic, and even the plant-based leather on the market uses some plastic resin, glue, or coating as a shortcut to meet the performance threshold. The amount of “plant” in plant-based leather is wide-ranging. Depending on the brand, it may be as much as 80 or as little as 30 percent.
Since nearly every plant-based leather on the market uses some amount of plastic, producing these products typically involves solvents, plasticizers, or other processing chemicals. A recent study found numerous plant-based leathers contain harmful chemicals that have been banned in other applications.
NFW is pioneering the use of plants, not plastic, to create high-performance, natural materials that enable people and the planet to thrive together. Using the natural abundance all around us, we can end the demand for microplastic-shedding synthetics in the materials we wear, sit on, walk in, and use every day.
“There is nothing more luxurious than something that exists in perfect harmony with nature, so there is a wonderful symbolism about IWC creating the new MiraTex version of their iconic watch using MIRUM,” said Sian Sutherland, cofounder of A Plastic Planet. “As a champion of future plastic-free solutions, I was proud to wear a prototype of this watch—which embodies a fundamental shift toward truly sustainably material manufacturing—at several recent UN SDG events. I can attest first-hand that extraordinary hand feel and performance are possible with only natural materials and NFW’s groundbreaking science. We urgently need more brands to follow in IWC and Richemont’s path.”