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IWC’s sustainable watch production model provides unlikely inspiration for top surfer

Haydenshapes IWC

Surfboard designer Hayden Cox has been inspired by a visit to the IWC Schaffhausen factory, with the two featuring in a new documentary about the Australian’s new upcycled surfboards.

The International Watch Company, founded in Schaffhausen in 1868, prides itself on the use of recycled materials in its manufacturing process.

It was IWC Schaffhausen’s dedication to sustainability that particularly appealed to surfboard design company Haydenshapes, founded by a 15-year-old Cox in Sydney in 1997.

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After visiting IWC Schaffhausen’s factory, Cox commented: “As I was going around, I saw how all the metals and raw materials, which are offcuts from the production process, aren’t wasted.

“Instead, they are carefully gathered up, then melted back down and used for new watches. From that tour of the factory, the idea for our pioneering upcycling process in surfboard manufacture was born.”

IWC Schaffhausen CMO Franziska Gsell added: “We see sustainability as integral to our future and it’s at the heart of everything we do.

“From powering the manufacturing process in a green way to developing new packaging for our finished watches, which uses 90% less plastic than previously, we are constantly striving to minimise the environmental impact of our business.”

IWC Schaffhausen is also signed up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and powers its factory and offices with renewable energy.

The new documentary, shot mostly at Haydenshapes’ floating pop-up studio on Sydney’s Pittwater, shows the two companies partnering in a bid to reduce their environmental impact. It is available to watch online.

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Sam Lewis

The author Sam Lewis