Perpetual Planet: Rolex and its commitment to the preservation of the planet

Ghislain Bardout Ghislain Bardout, leader of the "Under the Pole" expeditions, during an encounter with a hawksbill turtle.

It’s time to raise awareness about the vulnerability of the planet! Rolex supports researchers in its “Perpetual Planet” campaign to develop solutions to environmental problems and restore the balance of the Earth’s ecosystems.

Protect instead of discover

For Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, the world was an experimental laboratory where he could test the reliability of his watches under real conditions. Since the 1930s, he gave them to pioneers of exploration and discovery, who ventured into the most inaccessible areas under extreme conditions. But the world has changed.

Perpetual Planet, Emma Camp
Emma Camp, 2019 rolex awards winner, in search of resilient corals that could save the Great Barrier Reef.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the company has been promoting expeditions that are less about pure discovery and more about protecting our planet, and has strengthened its commitment with the Perpetual Planet initiative, which started in 2019. This supports researchers and organizations that use scientific knowledge to understand the world’s ecological challenges and develop solutions to restore balance to our ecosystems.

The Perpetual Planet initiative currently draws on Mission Blue, the initiative of Sylvia Earle – a Rolex partner since 2014 – to establish a network of marine protected areas known as “Hope Spots”; an expanded partnership with the National Geographic Society to study the effects of climate change; and the Rolex Prizes for Entrepreneurship, which for 45 years have supported people whose innovative projects contribute to improving our knowledge of the world.

 Sylvia Earle, Perpetual Planet
Mission Blue founder Sylvia Earle and Hope Spot champion Angélique Pouponneau participate in a beach cleanup on Long Island in the Seychelles.

Perpetual Planet: Heroes of the Oceans

The documentary in the framework of Perpetual Planet brings together legendary oceanographer and Rolex Testimonee Sylvia Earle with a cast of pioneering marine scientists, to tell the story of work being undertaken across the planet to protect the oceans’ fragile ecosystems.

Rolex commissioned this documentary as part of its Perpetual Planet initiative to support those devising solutions to the Earth’s environmental challenges.

It is in this spirit that Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue, narrates the documentary. It features the work of six marine scientists, five of whom are Rolex Award Laureates; Angélique Pouponneau, who is a Mission Blue champion for the Seychelles; and Ghislain Bardout, co-founder and Director of the Under The Pole expeditions.

Over the course of the hour-long documentary, the viewer is immersed in a spectacular underwater world, discovering the challenges our oceans face today and the solutions that can be taken to make a real change. Almost a third of ocean life has been destroyed due to climate change and human activity.

Perpetual Planet, Kerstin Forsberg
Kerstin Forsberg and her team at planeta oceano collect plankton for analysis to help protect giant manta rays.

“Each of us can make a difference in inspiring others. With passion, curiosity and hope, anyone can change everything. We can create a Perpetual Planet for generations to come.”

for Sylvia Earle there is hope

The BBC Studios’ Science Unit-produced film for Rolex, which is being broadcast on National Geographic channels and since World Oceans Day it is available to watch on >> online

Perpetual Planet, Ghislain Bardout
Ghislain Bardout of Under the pole reviews the capsule that allows divers to stay underwater for 72 hours.

Rolex Heros

  • Sylvia Earle has been involved with Rolex through exploration since 1970. President and Co-Chairman of Mission Blue, oceanographer, explorer, author of more than 225 publications and lecturer, she has a lifetime of experience as a field research scientist, government official and director for corporate and non-profit organizations.
  • Emma Camp, 2019 Rolex Awards Associate Laureate, reveals how she has developed coral nurseries on the Great Barrier reef and offers hope for other vulnerable reefs around the world.
  • In Antarctica Michel André ,2002 Rolex Awards Laureate, is deploying pioneering new technology to listen to the ocean’s acoustic environment and help protect this pristine ocean from the threat of noise pollution.
  • In Peru Kerstin Forsberg, 2016 Rolex Awards Laureate, protects endangered manta rays by improving ocean literacy through education, developing ecotourism, and by raising awareness and empowering the next generation to take control.
  • Brad Norman, 2006 Rolex Awards Laureate, uses sophisticated electronic tagging to protect whale sharks in his native Australia and beyond.
  • In the depths of the Chilean fjords of Patagonia, VreniHäussermann, 2016 Rolex Awards Laureate, has been using mini submersibles to find previously unknown coral species and protect them.
  • Angélique Pouponneau represents a Mission Blue Hope Spot in the Seychelles. With the help of local communities, Mission Blue creates marine-protected ‘Hope Spots’ in areas of the oceans considered vital to the preservation of species or places where communities rely on a healthy marine environment for their livelihoods.
  • Ghislain Bardout is co-founder and leader of the Under The Pole expeditions, which Rolex supports. Bardout developed a special capsule that enables scientists to stay underwater for 72 hours at a time, gathering vital data to protect the oceans.

Pass on values

Hans Wilsdorf’s vision and values still shape the company’s philosophy. True to the spirit of the company’s founder, the brand remains committed to pioneering expeditions – from discovering unexplored regions to protecting the environment. For nearly a century, Rolex has supported pioneers of exploration and discovery who push the boundaries of what is possible. With its Perpetual Planet initiative, launched in 2019, the brand is committed to long-term support for explorers in their efforts to protect the environment. Initially, the focus will be on Rolex Prizes for Entrepreneurship and partnerships with the National Geographic Society and Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative. But that’s just the beginning!