OCEAN DEEP
World of Watches|Autumn 2021
There are lots of ways watch firms are doing their part for the world, even if these are often not quantifiable. Blancpain takes the lead with its Ocean Commitment initiatives '
ASHOK SOMAN

Can a watch brand save the world? Definitely not. What about just a sliver of an ecosystem? Maybe, but it is doubtful. Many watch specialists have discussed the subject at length and come to these somewhat obvious conclusions. But we all agree that watch brands can make a difference, in the same way that a conscientious act by just one person is still a good thing. In an issue where we expended plenty of words and pages highlighting the shortcomings of the trade, it is important to also acknowledge the good work that continues to be done, especially when there are some numbers to go along with it. Blancpain’s premier role with the United Nations World Oceans Day is one such example.

What have you done for the world’s oceans lately? World Oceans Day just passed this summer but this question is pertinent all year-round given the outsized role the oceans play in making our planet habitable. Humans have a complex relationship with the ocean that extends past recreational use and travel. The ocean covers more than 70% of the surface of our planet, while a staggering 97% of Earth’s water can be found in our oceans. It is not only a rich source of food and biodiversity but a critical component in the ecosystem that removes carbon and provides oxygen as well as freshwater.

This year’s theme for World Oceans Day, Oceans: Life and Livelihoods, reminds us all that our oceans do not only enable our existence, they also play a vital role in securing our livelihoods. The oceans are, as the UN puts it “the lungs of our planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.” Given that we are based in Singapore, you might think that we do not need much of a reminder of this. The presenting partner of this International Day is Swiss watchmaker Blancpain, and this makes us think about the immense popularity of dive watches, none of which would be possible without the oceans and the seas.

PROTECTING ECOSYSTEMS

The idea of the dive watch, whether you wear one for sport or just because you like those sorts of watches, is deeply rooted in the spirit of exploring our planet’s watery habitats. These days, it is also connected with the notion of preserving the oceans, which watchmakers such as Blancpain, a pioneer in creating dive watches, are very much a part of. It is certainly not just lip service.

The Blancpain Ocean Commitment initiative has partnered, over the years, with such commendable efforts as the Pristine Seas expeditions and The Economist’s World Ocean Initiative, as well as Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa project (some of which we have covered in the magazine, but also on Luxuo.com). The watchmaker has, to date, supported the protection of 1.2% of the world’s oceans, or 20% of all protected areas, working towards the UN’s modest target of 30% by 2030. There is an ocean of content on Blancpain.com about this, and other important work. If you own a Fifty Fathoms watch, this is yet another reason to feel good about your timepiece, although clearly, much work remains to be done.

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