It is with a sense of responsibility that Rolex introduces its Oceans Moment on World Oceans Day. The watchmaker has been involved with international efforts to explore our oceans for over seventy years, first for the thrill of discovery, and then for the sake of research and protection.

Today, the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative lends its support to a wide range of ongoing projects in the field of conservation across all the planet’s landscapes, mainly focusing in ocean conservation, wilderness protection and the preservation of the living world. To ensure the proper amount of focus is given to all the inspiring projects that Rolex supports, the company has established key Moments throughout the year to deep dive into the projects and the stories of the individuals who are working to make a difference in each of these domains. The Oceans Moment is a chance to celebrate those leading by example in their efforts to understand and protect the Planet’s blue heart: its seas.

Life on Earth remains umbilically attached to the sea. Thanks to their oxygenating capabilities, and their crucial role as a carbon sink and thermal regulator, the oceans constitute our best ally in maintaining the global climate. Preserving them must be an urgent priority – not only as a way of shielding endangered marine ecosystems from further harm, but for the sake of the planet as a whole.

The Rolex Oyster watch, created in 1926, has accompanied explorers to the Earth’s highest peaks and its lowest depths. In 1960, following founder Hans Wilsdorf’s interest in developing a new generation of waterproof and pressure-resistant watches, Rolex equipped the bathyscaphe Trieste with a watch on its deep dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 10,916 metres below the surface.

Over the last half-century, as Rolex-supported projects continued to uncover the oceans’ mysteries, it became increasingly clear that marine exploration and conservation are two sides of the same coin. According to Emmanuelle Périé-Bardout, deep-sea explorer and co-founder of Under The Pole (UTP), a Perpetual Planet Initiative Partner “We need to study it and reveal it so that we can protect it.”

Sylvia Earle has been a Rolex Testimonee since 1982. As a pioneer in ocean exploration, she has been breaking barriers for over 50 years. Earle has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, led over 100 expeditions and has long been a world-leading advocate for the preservation of our oceans. - Open lightbox

In 2019, the launch of the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative redoubled the company’s long-standing commitment to the protection of our planet. One of the central pillars of the Initiative is its partnership with Mission Blue. Founded in 2009 by oceanographer Sylvia Earle (a Rolex Testimonee since 1982) Mission Blue is a way of highlighting the importance of protecting significant marine ecosystems around the world called Hope Spots. Earle is an ocean pioneer whose reputation and impact go before her.

Since they joined forces in 2014, Rolex has supported Mission Blue in their efforts to help protect 30 per cent of the world’s seas by 2030, following the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) recommended target for safeguarding ocean health. Mission Blue’s network of more than 160 Hope Spots keeps growing and includes such richly biodiverse regions as the Azores Archipelago and the Galapagos Islands. The latter recently saw an expedition into its waters, led by Sylvia Earle and supported by the Perpetual Planet Initiative. The expedition team surveyed turtle habitats, mapped the foraging grounds of penguin colonies, measured levels of microplastics and more in order to assess the overall health of the Hope Spot, 25 years after the creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. They found lush forests of kelp, previously thought to only grow in much colder waters, as well as traces of DNA that may belong to species completely new to science.

Through the Perpetual Planet Initiative, Rolex supports a range of inspiring ocean advocates and conservationists from Coral Gardeners, a group of young people in French Polynesia restoring corals reefs and globally raising awareness about their importance, to world-renowned conservation photographers such as Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen. Through their lens, and with the support of the Perpetual Planet Initiative, they draw attention to the urgent changes that are needed to preserve the oceans and inspire positive action on a global scale.

Torrents of cardinal fish race by to avoid a Galapagos sea lion. The Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. In January 2022, the Hermandad Marine Reserve added sixty thousand square kilometres to the islands’ surrounding no fishing zone, adding 5.9 per cent to Ecuador’s protected ocean. - Open lightbox

Through the Perpetual Planet Initiative, Rolex is creating a network of conservationists that could cross-pollinate each other’s projects and have an impact greater than the sum of its parts. One such collaboration saw UTP marry their deep-diving expertise with the knowledge of world-renowned ichthyologist and Rolex Awards Laureate Luiz Rocha to conduct a first-of-its kind exploration of the deep-sea animal forests of Guadeloupe.

Ever looking to the future, Rolex supports scholars of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society, selected by the society for training in a range of sea-based activities to foster next generation of marine pioneers.

The ocean represents almost three quarters of the earth’s surface and accounts for a large proportion of its biodiversity. Over the years, Rolex’s engagement with marine research and conservation has come to have a truly global reach. Projects supported in 16 countries, ranging from Svalbard to the Maldives, Peru to Portugal, have created safe zones for species as diverse as dugongs and seahorses, whale sharks and great white sharks. Through its unwavering support for marine exploration and conservation projects around the world, Rolex continues to play its part in the fight to protect the future of our oceans.

2019 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate and British marine biologist Emma Camp has been working to find solutions to protect our coral reefs. Camp and her team have transplanted more than 100,000 corals to 124 nurseries in more than 30 sites across the Great Barrier Reef. - Open lightbox

For nearly a century, Rolex has supported pioneering explorers pushing back the boundaries of human endeavour. The company has moved from championing exploration for the sake of discovery to protecting the planet, committing for the long term to support individuals and organizations using science to understand and devise solutions to today’s environmental challenges.

This engagement was reinforced with the launch of the Perpetual Planet Initiative in 2019, which initially focused on the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, as well as longstanding partnerships with Mission Blue and National Geographic Society.

The Initiative now has more than 30 other partnerships in an expanding portfolio focusing in ocean conservation, wilderness protection and the preservation of the living world. These partnerships include: Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen; the Under The Pole expeditions; the Monaco Blue Initiative; Coral Gardeners; Rewilding Argentina and Rewilding Chile, offspring organizations of Tompkins Conservation; and many Rolex Award for Enterprise Laureates.

Rolex also supports future generations of explorers, scientists and conservationists through education with scholarships and grants, such as Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society and The Rolex Explorers Club Grants.



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