Tom Ford has launched the third iteration of his Ocean Plastic Timepieces series with the N.004, which is made of ocean plastic.
“I love that by producing these timepieces we are helping clean up the ocean by removing plastic from the waters as well as permanently preventing more waste from ever going back into it,” Ford said via email. “For every 1,000 Ocean Plastic Timepieces we produce, we permanently remove and prevent the equivalent of 35,000 bottles of plastic waste, which is equivalent to 490 pounds of plastic trash from entering the ocean.”
The Swiss-made N.004 features a smaller rectangular case design, available in semi-matte black and white, with interchangeable straps made from 100 percent ocean plastic. The watch contains no virgin plastics or non-ocean-bound plastics and is traceable to the collection source.
“Several years ago, after reading about some alarming statistics about plastics in the ocean, I called our timepiece partner to see if we could produce a watch made out of ocean plastics,” Ford said. “They let me know they had already begun working on adapting ocean-bound plastics into their bands, packaging and watch cases. I persuaded them to let me have this technology for the launch of the first ocean plastic luxury timepiece.”
The brand debuted the series in 2020, also launching the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize.
“Sustainability, for me, extends beyond the use of materials and into the longevity of an item. I feel it is my responsibility as a designer to provide the customer with luxury pieces that last and endure, and my products are sustainable in the sense that they are timeless,” he said, adding that they are meant to last and evolve “or be passed down to generations rather than be tossed out or aside each season.”
In 2019, Ford partnered with Lonely Whale to launch the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, focusing on creating scalable and biologically degradable alternatives to thin-film plastic. Two products — single-use resealable sandwich storage bags and plastic poly bags used by the fashion industry — represent more than 300 billion thin-film plastic bags disposed of annually. In March 2022, eight finalists were announced, each entering a yearlong material testing phase, sponsored by Nike, to ensure their materials were biologically degradable, minimized negative social and environmental impacts, met industry performance standards and were also cost-competitive, scalable and market-ready by 2025.
Ford said the goal is “something that can have long-term sustainability and use. Fashion is a contributor to global waste, there is no argument in that unfortunately, so I feel a great sense of responsibility in working to find a solution and help end this global crisis.”
The brand will be one of the companies that will test the alternative to thin film plastic that come out of the program’s effort. “Depending on what is developed, we can test through use in shipping, using as poly bags, garment bags,” he said, adding “the ideas and innovations coming from our finalists give us great hope we can find true alternatives that can withstand real industry consumer use.”
As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Tom Ford international is said to be searching for a buyer with the help of investment bank Goldman Sachs, with the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. emerging as a surprise front-runner.
Later this fall, the N.004 collection will expand to include a recycled stainless-steel case.