Who are #tide and what do they do?Fergus Nash
If you’ve been paying attention to watchmaking trends in the last few years, then you’ll be incredibly aware of the push towards sustainability throughout the entire industry. Whether it’s a net-zero carbon production, vegan leather straps or the slightly controversial BioCeramic MoonSwatch, renewable or recycled materials are popping up in more and more releases. One name you may have seen collaborating with watch brands is #tide, but who exactly are they and what do they do?
#tide is a lot more than just a catchy hashtag, and it doesn’t have anything to do with our name at Time+Tide either. Its full name is Tide Ocean SA, and it’s actually a Swiss company with international reach. Its parent company is Braloba, who are a Swiss strap manufacturer for lofty brands such as TAG Heuer, Swatch Group, Oris and many more. While investigating the manufacture of straps made from recycled ocean plastic, #tide was founded. When thinking of recycled plastic it’s easy to imagine a bunch of soda bottles getting melted down and poured into the shape of a watch case, but that’s not at all how things work. #tide have teams who collect ocean waste mainly from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, who don’t have as strict of a waste management infrastructure as some other areas. That said, plastic pollution is a worldwide problem and #tide are working towards even more expansion.
Once the ocean plastic has been collected, it’s then shredded down to flakes, cleaned, compounded, and then converted into one of three #tide products. The first ocean material is available as granules, which can be used in the injection moulding process to create watch cases or any other kind of hard plastic form. Yarn can also be made for textile use, suitable for watch straps and stitching. The final ocean material is a plastic filament that is used for 3D printing, making rapid prototyping much more environmentally friendly. Of course there are those who will point out these processes still produce emissions. However, the #tide ocean materials are a direct replacement for virgin plastics and produce 80% less CO2, so there isn’t really any downside.
The list of collaborators with #tide is already astounding in the watchmaking sector alone, with some of the most prolific being the Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide Mahindra and many watches from Norqain. Other names include Timex, Certina, Christopher Ward, Titoni, and Luminox. This rapid expansion of influence proves how easy it is to adopt recycled materials when a company such as #tide is making it accessible, and will surely pave the way for even more cleaning of ocean plastic.