Vollebak's 'Garbage Watch' Could Forge A New Path For Sustainability In Watchmaking

30 July 2020
Watches, Luxury watchmaking, Vollebak, Garbage Watch
Made entirely of discarded electrical waste like motherboards, computer chips and TV wiring

The world of luxury watchmaking is one that largely turns a blind eye to excess. As much as it's fashionable now to say that you're making your timepieces out of sustainably-sourced metals and jewels, the fact remains that every watch being produced is still made of particularly rare stuff taken from the earth in one way or another.

The tide towards sustainability throughout the industry is slowly shifting, whether it be through brands adopting recycled materials to make limited-edition watches or shifting to less resource-intense production methods. But a new development from experimental fashion brand Vollebak is pushing the boundaries of just how far you can go in creating horological masterpieces quite literally out of nothing.

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Vollebak specialises in creating apparel and accessories out of obscure materials, from graphene-infused jackets or ceramic t-shirts. For this watch, however, they've taken raw electronic materials like computer motherboards, TV wiring and phone microchips and repurposed them to create something magical, pioneering a new way to re-use stuff we already have at our disposal.

As Vollebak points out, a good deal of the luxury materials and precious metals used in watches, like gold, platinum and titanium, are actually re-entering the earth in the form of electrical waste. It's estimated that 7% of the world's gold, for instance, has quite simply been thrown away. The Garbage Watch, as it's known, finds a new way to repurpose these materials, creating something luxurious out of materials that should be coveted yet, for some strange reason, largely aren't.

The colourful, almost steampunk-looking watch Vollebak revealed as their first prototype is a mighty impressive bit of kit, with what looks like a variety of complications and an exposed mechanism made entirel out of disused bits of electrical equipment. Even the multicoloured strap is fashioned from strands of TV wiring.

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"Working in collaboration with the Wallpaper* Re-Made project, the Garbage Watch reframes an often invisible and hazardous end of the supply chain," says Vollebak. "Over the next year we’ll be going on a journey from prototype to product, sourcing components from sustainable e-waste recycling efforts, and sharing the story with you."

Vollebak have put in place a goal of getting the first Garbage Watches to customers by 2021, with development still on-going. You can find out more about the watch, and the brand itself, at their website.


Via GQ Australia