In partnership with Alpina

An Interview with Alpina’s Brand Director on the Making of the Seastrong Gyre

Founded in 1883, Alpina has been making Swiss watches for nearly 140 years and, throughout that period, their focus has been on making robust timepieces for the outdoors. Today, one of the ways Alpina continues that tradition is through its partnership with the National Parks Foundation. Through this partnership, Alpina supports the work of the Foundation to “protect and enhance America’s national parks for present and future generations.”

It’s with this commitment to sustainability and preserving the outdoors in mind that Alpina releases products like the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic, a unique 300-meter dive watch with an innovative case construction designed to reduce waste without sacrificing performance. The Gyre’s case has been manufactured from 70% plastic debris collected from fishing nets in the Indian Ocean. The remaining 30% of the case is made of fiberglass, adding rigidity and making it just as suitable for diving as a watch made from traditional materials.

The Gyre comes fitted on a textile strap made from recycled plastic bottles and even its packaging is made from recycled materials. We had the opportunity to ask Alpina’s Brand Director, Oliver van Lanschot Hubrecht, a few questions about the Seastrong Gyre, how it was made, and what Alpina learned along the way.


Worn & Wound: What kinds of challenges did you face in designing the Gyre?

Alpina: As the Gyre watch case is made out of a completely new material we developed, we had to find the right compound suitable for a sports watch case. The main challenge was to make it as strong and resistant as traditional materials. At the beginning it was not strong enough and we had to avoid porosity. This took over a year to fine tune, with many samples before the right blend was found.

W&W: There are many environmentally friendly materials that you could have chosen for the Gyre – why did you land on the recycled plastic/fiberglass composite that the watch is made from?

A: The main objective was to raise awareness on the disaster we are seeing in our oceans, mainly due to ghost nets and waste resulting in micro-plastic debris. It was therefore key for us to use plastic coming from this waste. We chose plastic waste coming out of the Indian ocean. We then blended it with fiberglass to strengthen the material and make it suitable for a Divers Watch.

W&W: What kinds of limitations, if any, does the Gyre have that a watch made from steel or titanium does not?

A: We are extremely happy with the result as it is extraordinarily strong and very light. Stainless Steel tends to be heavy and Titanium does not serve the environmental message we want to communicate. We really have a strong and rather light watch, conveying the message and raising awareness on the issue of plastic waste in the oceans.

W&W: How corrosion resistant is the Gyre’s case compared to more commonly used materials?

A: We can say that the result is very similar to traditional diver’s watch materials. As it is made out of strengthened plastic, it is very resistant to corrosion.

W&W How is the composite case manufactured, and how is the process different than that for a typical steel watch?

A: The composite case is molded in a specific mold, to accommodate the specificity of the material, and not on CNC machines used to manufacture steel cases.

W&W: Does Alpina have any plans to use this material in other watches in the future? If so, how may you improve or alter the manufacturing or design process moving forward?

A: We consider the Gyre project as a first step on Alpina’s sustainability map. We want to reduce our footprint as a company and produce watches that include more environmentally friendly material, while raising awareness. You will see more of this in our future products.

W&W: Other than the Gyre’s case being made from environmentally friendly materials, how does Alpina support green initiatives as an organization?

A: In 2020, we supported the World Oceans Day via the Surfrider Foundation Europe, with the objective of raising awareness on the issue. We are also working with organizations helping us to map our actions to reduce our impact on the environment. This started already with simple actions in our offices and how we act as individuals. Looking ahead, as part of our partnership with the National Park Foundation, we are excited for the potential to organize beach clean-ups, helping to keep our parks beautiful and the habitats pristine.

To learn more about the Alpina Seastrong Gyre Autumatic, head to Alpina’s website.

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