“War, what is it good for,” asked Edwin Starr, in 1970. “Absolutely nothing,” the American singer concluded.
Nevertheless, the twin brothers behind Swedish watch brand Triwa are trying to reclaim something from the “friend only to the undertaker” by turning guns into watches.
For the past two years, Didrik and Harald Wachtmeister’s Stockholm-based brand has been working with aid organisation IM Swedish Development Partner to make timepieces from weapons – and raise awareness about gun violence along the way.
IM collects guns in South America, melting them down into what it calls humanium metal. Firearms used for the Triwa X Humanium Metal watches, which will go on sale in September, have been sourced from rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), who laid down their weapons with the 2016 signing of a peace agreement, after more than five decades of conflict. Since late last year, IM has recycled metal from 3,500 firearms.
Each kilogram of humanium can make 20 watches, and for each timepiece sold (they are expected to cost about HK$3,000 each), Triwa will donate 15 per cent of the price to Colombian communities affected by armed violence.
“We think this is the most precious metal on the planet, given what it has been created from. You cannot put a price on a human life,” Didrik Wachtmeister said, while visiting the brand’s new Hong Kong store, in Plaza Hollywood, Diamond Hill, earlier this month. “It is more precious than any gold or diamond that luxury brands make their watches from.”
Brother Harald added, “If we can help raise awareness, we have done part of our jobs. If we help minimise the amount of guns that hurt people in the world, it is good.”
The Triwa X Humanium Metal (marketing tagline, “It’s time for peace”) will come in two sizes, with one boasting straps made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. Pre-orders can be made from May via Triwa’s Kickstarter page.
For more information, see triwa.com.