Rolex Honors Ocean Conservation Efforts of Two Canadians

by Barbara Wilson

In a bold statement of its enduring commitment to ocean conservation, Rolex unveiled its Oceans Moment initiative on World Oceans Day, June 8th. With a legacy of over seventy years in marine exploration and protection, the Swiss luxury watchmaker has shifted its focus from pure discovery to active conservation, encapsulated in its Perpetual Planet initiative. This year, Rolex celebrates two remarkable Canadians whose dedication to preserving marine environments exemplifies this mission.


Paul Nicklen: Guardian of the Polar Regions

Paul Nicklen, a celebrated conservation photographer, has devoted his life to the protection of the polar regions. His journey began at the tender age of four when his family relocated to Baffin Island in northern Canada. The harsh beauty of the Arctic instilled in him a profound respect for these fragile ecosystems.


Nicklen, a Rolex Testimonee, is acclaimed for his powerful images that bridge the gap between art and science. His work exposes the hidden lives of marine creatures and the stark realities of their environments, fostering global awareness and action. Co-founder of SeaLegacy, Nicklen leverages visual storytelling to highlight the impacts of climate change and human activity on marine life, advocating for marine protected areas and sustainable fishing practices.


Christina Mittermeier: Ocean Advocate and Storyteller

Christina Mittermeier, another luminary in conservation photography, uses her stunning visual narratives to champion the cause of ocean preservation. As the founder of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), Mittermeier has focused her lens on the environmental and social challenges faced by indigenous communities and marine ecosystems. Her work, featured prominently in National Geographic, tells the poignant stories of those who live symbiotically with the sea.


Mittermeier’s photography goes beyond mere documentation; it is a compelling call to action. Her images reveal the intricate connections between human communities and the natural world, urging sustainable practices to maintain these bonds. She captures both the beauty of the oceans and the threats they face from pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

The Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative

Launched in 2019, the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative underscores the company’s long-term commitment to environmental preservation. Supporting a diverse array of conservation projects worldwide, the initiative primarily focuses on ocean conservation, wilderness protection, and the preservation of biodiversity. Rolex’s Oceans Moment specifically honors those who are at the forefront of marine conservation.

Global Conservation Efforts Backed by Rolex

Rolex’s dedication to ocean conservation dates back to the creation of the waterproof Rolex Oyster watch in 1926. The brand’s support for marine exploration was further solidified in 1960 when a Rolex watch accompanied the bathyscaphe Trieste on its historic dive to the Mariana Trench’s deepest point. The Perpetual Planet Initiative builds on this legacy by partnering with prominent conservationists and organizations, such as Mission Blue, founded by oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Mission Blue strives to protect significant marine ecosystems known as Hope Spots, with the ambitious goal of safeguarding 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Rolex’s support extends to numerous global conservation projects, ranging from the Arctic to the tropics. These initiatives create safe zones for diverse marine species and foster collaboration among conservationists, enabling the exchange of ideas and strategies. Key collaborations include Under The Pole, which explores deep-sea ecosystems, and Coral Gardeners in French Polynesia, which works to restore coral reefs.

Empowering Future Marine Pioneers

Rolex’s vision for the future includes nurturing the next generation of marine scientists and conservationists. Through scholarships and grants, the company provides education and hands-on training opportunities. Programs like the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society and The Rolex Explorers Club Grants support young scholars, preparing them to lead future ocean conservation efforts.

A Commitment to Ocean Conservation

Rolex’s Oceans Moment is a testament to the brand’s unwavering dedication to protecting the planet’s oceans. By supporting conservation champions like Christina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen, Rolex inspires global action to safeguard marine ecosystems. As we honor their contributions on World Oceans Day, we are reminded of the vital role each of us plays in preserving the beauty and vitality of our oceans for future generations. Through exploration, research, and conservation, Rolex continues to drive positive change, ensuring the longevity of our planet’s blue heart.


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