A commitment to a perpetual planet

In 2021, Rolex continues to support exploration, confirming its commitment to a better world by championing human values and respect for the planet.

Sylvia Earle on Caldesi Island in the Florida Gulf Coast Hope Spot near Dunedin where she grew up and fell in love with the ocean. / ©Rolex/Stefan Walter

The world has changed and Rolex has adapted its unwavering support for exploration. This thirst for discovery has been enriched by a desire to protect the planet, leading to the creation of the Perpetual Planet initiative in 2019. Its aim is to support individuals and organisations using science to try to understand the world’s environmental challenges and devise solutions that will restore our ecosystems. One of these programmes is Mission Blue, created by Dr Sylvia Earle, which preserves the oceans through a network of marine-protected areas called Hope Spots. Another key element of this commitment is the Rolex

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbing Mount Everest in 1953. / © Alfred Gregory/Royal Geographical Society

Awards for Enterprise, launched in 1976, which have supported more than 155 Laureates whose projects have helped to push the boundaries of knowledge, improve living conditions and protect the planet. In 2021, the company is revealing the work of six marine scientists, five of whom are Rolex Awards Laureates, in the documentary Perpetual Planet: Heroes of the Oceans. The film, which can be viewed on, was produced by the BBC Studios Science Unit for Rolex, and is also being broadcast on National Geographic channels. It tells the story of Sylvia Earle and other pioneers of marine science. Immersed in the ocean depths, viewers discover the work of these heroes, the challenges facing the oceans and the solutions that can be found. Although almost a third of the oceans’species have disappeared, Sylvia Earle remains positive, believing that “we can create a perpetual planet for generations to come”.

Emma Camp, 2019 Rolex Awards Laureate, searching for resilient corals that might save the Great Barrier Reef. / ©Rolex/Franck Gazzola

Extraordinary human feats

Rolex’s support for explorers – mountaineers, divers and scientists – is nothing new. The brand has been supporting them for nearly a century through its partnerships and the quality of its watches. In the 1930s, Rolex’s founder started testing the reliability of the brand’s watches in the most extreme conditions and the most inhospitable places on the planet. The history of Rolex is intimately connected with some of the greatest feats achieved by humans. In 1953, Rolex equipped the historic expedition that saw Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summit Mount Everest, the Roof of the World. To commemorate this achievement, the company launched the Explorer watch, which it has continually improved to this day and now benefits from all of Rolex’s technical innovations. In 1960, when Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh piloted the bathyscaphe Trieste into the Mariana Trench, they took with them an experimental Oyster watch, the Deep Sea Special, which was attached to the exterior of the submersible. When the watch resurfaced after reaching a depth of 10,916 metres, it was still working perfectly. In 1971, Rolex launched the Explorer II, whose 24-hour hand and fixed bezel with a 24-hour graduation enabled the wearer to distinguish the hours of the day from those of the night: an essential function in dark environments and in polar regions where the sun does not set in the summer. In 2012, the brand supported filmmaker James Cameron on his solo dive aboard the Deepsea Challenger. The Rolex Deepsea Challenge watch, which was waterproof to over 12,000 metres, withstood more than 12 tonnes of pressure on its crystal, and emerged from the water in perfect working order.
By Julie de los Rios

Under The Pole’s Ghislain Bardout checks the Capsule,
which makes it possible for divers to stay underwater
for 72 hours.