For nearly a century, Rolex has supported pioneering explorers, pushing back the boundaries of human endeavour. Since the 1930s, Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches have accompanied individuals to the highest mountains and to the ocean depths, serving as precise reliable tools.

In turn, these groundbreaking expeditions proved to be the perfect “living laboratory” for the brand to test and develop its timepieces. The expeditions and projects have transitioned to drawing attention to the planet’s fragility as well as catalase and design solutions to the Earth’s environmental challenges.

One of the Hope Spots off the Gulf of California, as part of Dr Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue Expeditions, in partnership with Rolex

Through the Perpetual Planet campaign, Rolex has contributed to the preservation of 17 ecosystems that are crucial for biodiversity and for the human communities that depend on them.

These include the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, the Atlantic forests in Brazil and the Gran Chaco in South America. The brand has also assisted Laureates to help protect 23 endangered species, such as the Amur tiger, the hornbill, the tiny seahorse and the great whale shark.

Ocean explorer Dr Sylvia Earle on her Mission Blue initiative, in partnership with Rolex

The Rolex Perpetual Planet campaign has three pillars: leading ocean explorer Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative to protect the oceans through a network of marine protected “Hope Spots”; the Rolex Awards for Enterprise that recognises individuals with projects that advance knowledge and protect the well-being of mankind and the environment; and its long-standing partnership with National Geographic.

Since 2010, Earle has inspired communities and governments to shield marine life that is at risk from humanity. These “Hope Spots” are areas of the oceans designated as being vital for preservation: from the range of diversity a particular site displays or its significance as a home to endemic, rare or endangered species, or places where local communities rely on a healthy marine environment for their survival.

2014 Rolex Awards Laureate Francesco Sauro explores caves in the mountains of Amazonia to find clues to the evolution of life

The number of Hope Spots has increased from 50 to 112 since 2014 with the support of Rolex. Currently, eight percent of the oceans are protected, and Earle aims to protect 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

The biennial Rolex Awards for Enterprise, on the other hand, pays tribute to those with new and ongoing projects anywhere in the world that deserve support for improving lives or protecting the world’s natural and cultural heritage – an endeavour the brand has going on since 1976, with 140 individuals already in the alumni.

A member of the Rolex and National Geographic Society Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition at Khumbu Icefall, Mount Everest

Lastly, for Rolex’s partnership with the National Geographic Society, the brand will enhance its long-standing partnership with them to promote exploration and conservation.

The partnership will harness world-renowned scientific expertise and cutting edge technology to reveal new insights about the impacts of climate change on the systems that are vital to life on Earth. The Society has supported bold people and transformative ideas for more than 130 years, making valuable contributions to exploration, science and conservation.

This article was first published in the August Man Malaysia April 2020 issue

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