Industry / Watches

Solgaard’s Plastic-Negative Watches Blend Design And Climate Positivity


On Earth Day, people worldwide think about what they can do individually and collectively to improve our lives on this planet. Among those taking action is Adrian Solgaard, Solgaard founder and CEO, as he introduces the brand’s Shoreline watch collection.

The Scandinavian-designed timepieces are made from recycled ocean-bound plastic, Solgaard says. These plastic-negative watches are standouts not only because of their design but also because for every watch sold Solgaard pulls the equivalent of 229 ocean-bound plastic bottles from shorelines and waterways around the world, he says.

“We approach all our products as a dual innovation opportunity by way of both sustainable sourcing and manufacturing paired with consumer-friendly designs of premium quality,” Solgaard says. “By saving the equivalent of 229 plastic bottles from the ocean with each item sold, we are scaling our impact by almost 200 times more than [we would be] by simply utilizing recycled materials in our products.”

Shoreline Watch white
The Shoreline watch collection features a 42 mm case made from Shore-Plast, Solgaard’s high-impact and durable proprietary material made from recycled, ocean-bound plastic collected from beaches and riverways around the world ($125). 

“There is no silver bullet or single action that will achieve what is needed to address climate change and ocean plastic pollution,” Solgaard continues. “Instead, we work collaboratively to identify scalable steps and solutions to establish a more circular economy and environmentally responsible supply chain.”

We talked with Solgaard about the Shoreline watch collection and its environmental efforts.

The design jumps out at me right away—the colors, the shape. Why did you want something different for this watch, and how does the design achieve that?

A lot of watches look similar—one of the few ways to get a unique watch is to spend quite a lot of money, and that’s not something everyone can do. I realized in the design process that a hexagon was unique and was also easier to tell time on, which was a double win.

A timepiece has 12 hours, and a hexagon has 12 unique aspects—six corners and six flat sides—making it faster and easier to see where the hands are pointing without needing numbers for each of the 12 hours. We call this “glimpse tech,” meaning you can check the time on your watch with just a glimpse. You don’t need to hold your wrist up in front of your dinner guest. Securing the patent on the hexagon-shape watch was an exciting win for us.

We believe that beautifully designed, sustainable products should be accessible to all. Creating the Shoreline collection is our way to offer that to the watch world.

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Shore-Plast—what was the creative process like to get to that product for your watches?

I was surfing in Bali, dodging plastic in waves and on the beach. I was so disheartened, and that got me thinking: How we could use ocean plastic in our supply chain? It took almost two years to get things up and running. In 2018, we launched Shore-Tex, fabric made from ocean-bound plastic. Then in 2020 we introduced Shore-Plast, ocean-bound plastic that can be used in durable products.

There are many challenges in working with Shore-Plast, including that there are constraints and challenges on clarity and colors. Due to the nature of ocean-bound plastic, each batch of material is a different color. Some bottles are green, clear, white, and the mix of all together can be quite inconsistent, making the challenge of getting the right color in production a substantial one. Thanks to our meticulous team, we were able to achieve bright and vibrant colors inspired by oceanic tones from around the world in an environmentally responsible way.

What else do you want people to know about your brand that doesn’t get asked enough in terms of its sustainability or environmental impact?

It’s clear to many that we use ocean-bound plastic in our supply chain, but what we’re doing, and we hope other brands follow our lead, is that we go above and beyond. For our watches, we’re preventing nearly 200 times the plastic from polluting the ocean than the ocean-bound plastic material that goes into the product. This is done together with our network of ocean-bound plastic collection partners, collecting from beaches and protecting riverways around the world. Going climate neutral isn’t enough. We need to go climate positive, and this is our way of doing that.

Top: The Shoreline watch, shown here in Miami Mint, comes in the Solgaard signature hexagonal shape with a case made from ocean-bound plastic and strap in biodegradable silicone; photos courtesy of Solgaard.

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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