The year I wore my high school boyfriend’s chunky Timex Ironman made me a military-timer for life. I can still picture its face, as wide as my wrist. My first black stainless-steel Fossil was as much a fashion statement as it was a time-keeping device, until it was stolen from the sock drawer of my Lower East Side walk-up. When I lost its successor to an unplanned ocean plunge, I decided that was it for me and watches, though I still checked my wrist for the time until iPhone habits gradually took over.
Twenty years later, I am still watch-free—but a small company in Berlin is changing my mind. Paprcuts watches are handmade from Tyvek—that same weather-resistant material you staple to the sheathing of your house before installing siding. On the wrist, they feel like paper, but they’re actually a kind of recycled plastic made out of high-density polyethylene fibers. This means they’re super-light, waterproof, and, as the literal German-to-English translation on the website touts, “tear-proof as hell.”