In January 2019, when the organization committee of the G7 contacts us to meet us, we first believe it is some kind of joke. Two days later, we are inside the Elysée (french president residence).
Before the meeting, we asked ourselves a few questions. Being a political event gathering the officials of the greatest economic powers, the G7 is an exclusive event, often leading to protests. These issues are far from our mission and values (as much as the position shown by some heads of state).
We then get to the meeting, both curious and puzzled. We quickly understand the issues of the discussion. France wants to heighten awareness with G7 participants about the emergency of a group action against the environmental problematics and specifically the oceans-related ones of which the increasing pollution is becoming worrying. To illustrate her message, she is planning to gift the present delegations a symbol of this preoccupation.
We leave somewhat proud – a state supporting your adventure is quite a big deal – and with an important challenge: think, design and produce the watch which will materialize this strong engagement (and a necessary one).
When we launched our first collection: Origins a year ago, we wanted to prove that is it possible to create durable objects, made with existing materials, without making any compromise on design or overall quality. Our watch was the result of an already achieved approach: infinitely recyclable steel, a bracelet made from plastic bottles taken from the oceans and a battery less movement using light to work, with a record-breaking battery life.
We have since wanted to work with new materials and to place innovation in the center of our development. The G7 summit gave us this opportunity and despite the rather short delay, we only had one idea: make the first watch made from used fishing-net. The use of the fishing net is symbolic, beyond the micro-plastic pollution it creates, it is an important problem for maritime fauna of which hundreds of thousands get stuck in abandoned nets each year, a true scourge.
The fishing nets are taken by our partner in the North Sea, selected and cleaned to be transformed in granule, which becomes our base material. More than 6 months were necessary to get the perfect material, both beautiful and resistant enough. This material is also interesting when looking at its aspect and comfort on the wrist. A choice both technical and philosophical.
The watches are then assembled in Besançon, France, in our partner’s workshop which has more than 60 years of experience. Just like all of our watches, it uses the solar technology which is more coherent and better performing.
We do not know if Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau or Donald Trump will wear their watch, and this is not what matters most 😊. One thing is certain, G7 has been a true accelerator, boosting both our creativity and our will to innovate towards our values, while comforting ourselves about the importance and legitimacy of our mission.
Lilian Thibault, Fondateur AWAKE