TRIWA Ocean Plastic Sub Watch | Review - Outdoors Magic

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TRIWA Ocean Plastic Sub Watch | Review

A fun and funky yet practical dive watch with a serious message, the TRIWA Sub is made from recycled ocean plastic, a sustainable material that highlights the issue of marine plastic pollution

Why We Chose It: Distinctive, sustainable, lightweight

In a world of smartwatches and smartphones, traditional watches are a bit of a throwback. These days they’re less a necessity and more a statement – which, depending on both the watch and the wearer, might say something about your individual style, status or spirit.

TRIWA is a Swedish watch brand with a clear agenda. The name TRIWA itself is an acronym that stands for ‘TRansforming the Industry of WAtches’ – and their self-declared mission is “to use the symbolic value and placement of the watch for something more relevant, creating modern statement symbols instead of traditional status symbols”.

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To do this, TRIWA utilises innovative materials and works with people that care about making the world a little better. In 2019, for example, they released the ‘Time for Peace’ range – a handsome series of everyday dress watches with 39mm cases made from ‘humanium’. What’s humanium? It’s a steel alloy made from melted-down illegal firearms, the aim being to highlight the issues surrounding gun crime and conflict. For every watch sold, TRIWA gave back 15% to war-torn societies and victims of armed violence. So far, they’ve raised over $100,000.

Our team using the TRIWA while hiking the Cumbria Way. Photos: Joe Whitmore

In 2020, they followed this up with the ‘Time For Oceans’ collection, a range of simple sports watches with a case and strap made entirely from recycled ocean plastic. This year, they’ve used the same TIDE Ocean plastic material to create a summer-ready dive watch – the TRIWA Ocean Plastic Sub.

Who is the TRIWA Ocean Plastic Sub Watch for?

With its funky fresh styling, this is not a serious watch – but it certainly has a serious story behind it. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to marine life and the health of our seas and oceans, so a watch made from recycled ocean plastic gets a firm thumbs up from us – not just because of its sustainable build, but also because its attention-grabbing looks are exactly the sort of thing that might help to start conversations and raise environmental awareness.

We’re not saying you need to be a committed eco activist to wear this watch, but if you care about the planet, you’ll probably appreciate the aims and ambitions of TRIWA’s Time For Oceans project. That aside, it’s a fun, lightweight and practical watch that comes in an array of attractive hues, from the understated black and teal ‘orca’ to the vibrant bright orange ‘nemo’. They’re all cool, but we reckon our personal favourite is the green ‘ocean seaweed’ colourway, which is a great choice for outdoorsy types.

The watch has decent water resistance of 100m or 10 ATM. While that’s perhaps not enough to make this a true dive watch in the technical sense, it’s more than adequate for swimming, paddleboarding and snorkelling. So, the TRIWA Sub is a good choice for holidays and outdoor adventures.

Eco Credentials

As mentioned, the case and nylon strap as both made from sustainable recycled ocean plastic. This has been produced in partnership with Tide Ocean Material, a Swiss company that specializes in collecting plastic waste from the ocean and turning it into useful material for industry. Since plastics like nylon are ultimately derived from petrochemicals, this also reduces fossil fuel consumption. What’s more, TRIWA have also calculated the total carbon footprint of each and every watch produced, allowing you to monitor your own footprint and perhaps offset the carbon cost of your purchase.

Construction and Performance

Just like the case, the dial is also plastic, finished with printed lumed indices and an attractive 3D wave texture, which adds plenty of visual interest. A chunky handset with contrast pops of colour ensures easy readability. Around the edge of the dial, the chapter ring features printed ‘TIME FOR OCEANS’ text, highlighting the message of the watch. The crystal is mineral glass, which offers decent impact protection and scratch resistance, though slightly inferior to sapphire. But at this price point, it’s a reasonable choice.

This is a fairly compact watch, with a 40mm case that will suit most wrists, both male and female. Thanks to the use of lightweight plastic, it doesn’t feel heavy or unwieldy – in fact, it’s easy to forget you’ve got it on at all. And even though the exposed crown protrudes a little from the case, we didn’t find that it dug into our hand or snagged on cuffs or sleeves.

“If you want a plastic watch, you should definitely buy the TRIWA.”

The TRIWA Sub comes on a 20mm two-piece strap made from robust nylon webbing. This is a common strap size, so if you wanted to switch it up, it’s easy to do so.

The watch is powered by a Japanese Miyota 2015 quartz movement, which is a cheap and reliable three-hand movement that pretty much allows you to set and forget the time. It also features a date window, placed at 3 o’clock on the dial. Unfortunately, the window itself is pretty small and hard to read, which limits its usefulness. In all honesty, we’d have probably preferred a cleaner, no date dial – but it’s no biggie.

A unidirectional 60-click plastic bezel with infilled and painted 60-minute markers adds elapsed time functionality, just like a traditional dive watch. The bezel action isn’t the crispest, and does have a little bit of play, but it is well-aligned and functional.

The lume on the hour and minute hands as well as the dial indices isn’t the brightest or longest-lasting we’ve seen either, but again, it does the job. It’s a slight shame that there’s no lume pip on the bezel though. Ultimately, however, to criticise perceived shortcomings of this watch is sort of missing the point. Really, TRIWA want people to be talking about the issues facing our seas and oceans.


This is a fun adventure watch with a serious message. It takes the classic looks of a Submariner dive watch and reinterprets the design in eco-friendly ocean plastic, making a statement about sustainability and the state of our seas.

On the wrist, it’s compact, comfortable and extremely lightweight. And while plastic won’t be as robust as stainless steel or titanium in terms of outright toughness, this is still a functional and practical outdoor watch. We like all the colourways but were especially drawn to the ocean seaweed green version, which looks particularly ‘adventure-ready’, whether on land or sea.

In many ways, you could argue that the TRIWA Time for Oceans watches share the same appeal and aesthetics as classic plastic Swatch watches. Swatch does use a sustainable Bioceramic material for some of its timepieces (like the recent Omega ‘MoonSwatch’ collaboration), which is a blend of ceramic and bio-based plastic. However, TRIWA’s Ocean Plastic is both more innovative and more sustainable than Swatch’s Bioceramic material, and in that sense the TRIWA Sub deserves to have made a bigger splash than Swatch’s frankly overhyped Moonswatch.

Moreover, unlike the Moonswatch, TRIWA aren’t just playing on the cachet of a luxury name or iconic design to boost sales figures, despite this being ostensibly a ‘Submariner’. Instead, TRIWA is helping to get plastic out of our oceans, whilst also raising awareness for an environmental issue that is of vital importance. There’s no such virtuous cause at the heart of Swatch’s Moonswatch. I guess what we’re saying is that if you want a plastic watch, you should definitely buy the TRIWA.

TRIWA Ocean Plastic Sub Watch

Selected for our Green Gear Guide 2023
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