As the 21st century unfolds, exploration for pure discovery has given way to exploration as a means to preserve the natural world. Rolex continues the legacy of its founder, Hans Wilsdorf, supporting the explorers of today on their new mission: to make the planet perpetual.
For the founder of Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf, the world was like a living laboratory. He began to use it as a testing ground for his watches from the 1930s, sending them to the most extreme locations, supporting explorers who ventured into the unknown. But the world has changed. As the 21st century unfolds, exploration for pure discovery has given way to exploration as a means to preserve the natural world. Rolex continues the legacy of its founder, supporting the explorers of today on their new mission: to make the planet perpetual.
To this aim, in 2019, Rolex is launching a campaign titled Perpetual Planet. For now, it embraces an enhanced partnership with the National Geographic Society to collect climate data and Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative to protect the oceans through a network of marine protected “Hope Spots”. It also embraces the Rolex Awards for Enterprise that recognize individuals with projects that advance knowledge and protect human well-being and the environment.
Long history of support for exploration
In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf launched the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Rolex Oyster. Later, in 1931, the company added the “perpetual” self-winding mechanism, to create the Oyster Perpetual. In the decades since, explorers have been accompanied by this iconic watch testing it under the most extreme conditions of use. It was widely adopted as an instrument of discovery and it led to the evolution of the Explorer watch in 1953, which was launched to mark the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.
Being a part of some of humanity’s greatest adventures inspired Rolex’s commitment to exploration and explorers, as well as something beyond discovery: a sense that we, as humans, must join together to take better care of the planet.
Rolex watches have accompanied these explorers to the highest mountains and to the ocean depths, serving as precise, reliable tools. In turn, these groundbreaking expeditions have proved to be the perfect living laboratory for the Rolex to test and develop its timepieces.
Rolex continues Hans Wildorf’s legacy but with a new mission: to help make the planet Perpetual. By supporting those who protect the oceans, study the effects of climate change and create a more sustainable world. Rolex stands behind the scientists, explorers and visionaries who will spark the imagination of future generations – for the sake of a Perpetual Planet.
Alone we can go far, but only together can we make the planet perpetual.
National Geographic Society
In April 2019, a team led by National Geographic and Tribhuvan University launched a scientific expedition to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, supported by Rolex. Known locally as Chomolungma ‘Goddess Mother of Mountains’, the mountain is part of the Hindu Kush-Himalaya whose glacial waters sustain a billion people. With climate change, these glaciers are retreating. The information from the expedition, coupled with additional data sets on water supply and demand in the region, will form the basis of a new index to track the health of the Himalayan water system and inform decisions to help protect it.
Rolex and National Geographic have been partners in exploration since 1954, a relationship that was enhanced in 2017 to promote exploration linked to preservation of the planet.
Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Since 1976, Rolex has encouraged the work of some of the world’s most inspiring individuals, through the Rolex Awards for Enterprise. More than 140 Laureates have achieved outstanding feats of discovery, commitment and renewal in the fields of science, exploration, health, the environment and cultural heritage. Their spirit of enterprise makes our world a better place. Discover more on the link.
Perpetuating the legacy
The vision and values of Hans Wilsdorf still guide the company today. From exploration for pure discovery to exploration as a means to preserve the natural world, Rolex continues the legacy of its founder.
For nearly a century, Rolex has supported pioneering explorers, pushing back the boundaries of human endeavour. With the Perpetual Planet campaign, launched in 2019, Rolex is committed for the long term to support the explorers in their quest to protect the environment. To start with this commitment focuses on the Rolex Awards for Enterprise and partnerships with the National Geographic Society and Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative. But that is just the beginning.
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