Above: Matt Harkins and some of his creations.
There has been a global reckoning in and around the environmental crisis and the flag bearer of that reckoning is sustainability … the ability to sustain. The world we live in has only a finite number of resources and as they become depleted the concept of re-purposing and recycling has moved from beneficial to crucial.
As a marine based operation Indies Trader has been re-using and repurposing things from day one and on a boat at sea operating commercially everything is used, re-used, and then recycled wherever possible, a trip to the store is just not possible 150 nautical miles out to sea.
We connected with Matt Harkins of The Sacred Crafts via photographer Damea Dorsey and as soon as we heard his company story and understood our shared vision knew we had to do a collab … a special collab.
Above: Matt easing into the day in El Salvador.
IT: Matt your company specialises in re-purposing and recycling old boats, fishing nets and all sorts of materials into everything from flooring to watches. Tell us how that came about and what your company vision is.
Below: An old boat prop heading into the melting pot.
MH: I have been lucky enough to travel around for manufacturing and see all kinds of technology and ingenuity. As a surfer, I have also seen the impact that manufacturing has had on our delicate coastal playgrounds. I wanted to launch a brand that had a simple mission – to find the left behind and passed over materials in the environment and to repurpose them into new, high-end products made from secondary materials. The key is that I like nice things, really nice things and I didn’t see high end sustainable products in the market, so I decided to pioneer this space with The Sacred Crafts brand.
IT: We have been working on this 50th anniversary watch for over a year now explain the process we have gone through to ensure it is authentic and worthy of the MV Indies Trader’s 50th birthday. Explain the build process and the specific materials we have used.
MH: Well, given the limitations we had due to covid, this collaboration was unique. Conversations over whatsapp, email and zoom calls were the best we could do. Fortunately, Martin is such a powerhouse…his stories came through no matter the limitations. Martin has a deep background in watches, specifically dive watches. To be able to listen to his ups and downs with different watches was a dream for a watch geek like myself. When he told me his story about his Rolex Comex, it sparked the fire of inspiration, and I knew we had a great starting point. From there I kind of did my thing…built up the layers of material adventure with the limited edition “kit” concept based on things we as surfers find sacred. Used surfboard fins, old parts of the boat, old scooter tires came together to bring a story of old, new, reclaimed and high tech in a watch that is like no other.
Above: Our bronze started as a used propellor.
IT: There may be some folk who don’t have a full understanding of the watch offering so talk us through all the various additional items that come with the watch and how they are a part of the story.
Above: The customised ETA 2824-2 Top Chronometer.
MH: This watch is a 300m rated tool! Powered by a pure Swiss made ETA 2824-2 Top Chronometer. It comes with a removable, unidirectional bezel. We decided to include 5 different bezels – one traditional ceramic style insert and the other 4 are crazy reclaimed materials that we developed from old surfboard fins and reclaimed marine metals. The idea is to make the watch fun, customizable and have a bit of surfing and exploration heritage built in. To take it a step farther, we included a dive knife and a dry bag to carry the watch when traveling. The whole package ships in a genuine pelican case with all the elements fully custom foam fitted. It’s a legit 007 field kit.
IT: For you as a watch maker what is it about the Indies Trader story that is so compelling and drove you to keep hammering at this project and all the hurdles for over a year.
Below: Freshly cast, fully re-purposed bronze.
MH: I think I first need to make the point that I grew up on Indies Trader lore. As a surfer, its everyone’s dream to take a trip with Martin Daly and his crew. When I started working in the surf industry, I was even closer to the brand via athletes and photographers I knew that got to go on an Indies Trader trip. Still, I never had a chance. When photographer Damea Dorsey offered to introduce me to Martin and the Indies crew, it was a dream come true – a life’s work kind of validation to earn the right to be a part of a collaboration. Once I talked with Martin and realized he was such a watch fanatic…wow I was instantly lifted and motivated. This is all during covid when the world turned dark, and I was at a very low point. This project coming together really gave me something to look forward to and sink my teeth into. So happy about it all.
IT: It’s easy to stand back from the environmental crisis and doing little about it and it’s easy to swing to the other extreme and be fully militant how do you see the way forward and how we can address it as individuals and as businesses.
Below: The result of a little bit of re-purposing.
MH: Actually, I really respect this point and I think the most effective way is the most inclusive. That’s why we try to make it all positive. We don’t bash corporations or play politics. We just focus on solutions that clean up the coasts…not really something too polarizing. Our vehicle is high end products that tell a story. The results should be both interesting as product and a net positive to the mother ocean where we live an play.