Time for Change: Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Symposium

Time for Change: Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Symposium

5 May, 2020

Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Symposium in Singapore shed light on a groundbreaking eco-campaign

Pioneer marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle
Foto: Dok. Tatler Indonesia December Issue 2019

For nearly a century, Rolex has supported pioneering explorers who have broken boundaries when it comes to human endeavours and has played a part in some of humanity’s greatest achievements and adventures. The luxury watchmaking brand has accompanied explorers like Sir John Hunt as he reached the summit of Mount Everest, as well as Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and American Navy Lieutenant Din Walsh in the deep-sea explorer Trieste. Furthermore, Rolex has been with filmmaker and self-styled explorer James Cameron who descended to the depths of the Mariana Trench—the deepest part of the world’s oceans—and arctic explorer Ghislain Bardout during his expedition to the North Pole in 2010.

As such, Rolex’s place in the history of exploration as a testing ground for its watches has paved new ways when it comes to preserving the natural world. So to continue the legacy of its founder Hans Wilsdorf in supporting the explorers of today on their missions to save the Earth, Rolex has launched an initiative called “Perpetual Planet”, which consolidates its ongoing support for research on environmental issues and climate change.

Dr Sylvia Earle and David Doubilet at Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Symposium in Singapore
Foto: Dok. Tatler Indonesia December Issue 2019

Along with this commitment, the luxury watchmaking brand recently held an immersive symposium at National Gallery Singapore and invited legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle and famed underwater photographer David Doubilet to share their knowledge about climate change and environmental issues.

The symposium highlighted Rolex’s commitment to a perpetual planet, which includes an enhanced partnership with the National Geographic Society to study the impacts of climate change, as well as Dr Sylvia Earle’s “Mission Blue” initiative to safeguard the oceans through a network of marine, protected “Hope Spots”.

To further its initiatives, Rolex invited Generation T (Gen.T) honourees who share the same devotion to saving the planet and who hail from different Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, plus students from local universities, to learn from these two legends. One of our 2017 Gen.T honourees and a conservationist herself, Farwiza Farhan attended the symposium to discuss solutions to climate change with the two Rolex Testimonees.

Through their lenses, Farwiza got to see how fragile our planet is. For her, the symposium was an eye-opener that should motivate others to take action before it’s too late. With HAkA (which protects the natural environment in Aceh), Farwiza strives and fights for a stronger and healthier Leuser Ecosystem—the world’s most eco-abundant and ancient natural region—in the province in which she was born and raised.


Chinstrap penguins rest and play on top of a small iceberg near Danko Island Antarctic Peninsula. Photo by David Doubilet

During our exclusive interview with her in late September this year, Farwiza said that the ecosystem is currently facing threats such as exploitation, deforestation, and large-scale infrastructure/monoculture projects to satisfy global demand for commodities like timber and palm oil.

Aware of this threat, HAkA has a mission to strengthen the voice of local leaders and local organisations when it comes to policy making. The NGO also helps to create long-term sustainability in Aceh Province, both socially and financially. Farwiza’s fearless action to fight destructive practices and corruption now brings the battle for nature into the courtrooms.

Birth of a reef. Acropora corals release egg and sperm bundles into a night sea on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Foto: Dok. Tatler Indonesia December Issue 2019

Recognising Individuals

In its quest to spread the message and raise awareness towards sustainability, Rolex launched the Rolex Awards for Enterprise that recognise individuals with projects that protect human beings’ wellbeing and the environment.

The awards mean five individuals with exceptional projects to conserve our cultural heritage and protect the environment were selected, including Brazilian fisheries biologist João Campos-Silva, French medical scientist Grégoire Courtine, Ugandan IT specialist Brian Gitta, Indian scientist and conservationist Krithi Karanth, and Canadian entrepreneur and molecular biologist Miranda Wang.

Each of them walked away with US$200,000 for their noble projects and received a Rolex timepiece along with worldwide publicity and the opportunity to meet and interact with the brilliant minds of the Rolex Awards community, which comprises mentors and members of scientific, research, and environmental conservation circles

In addition to its Awards Enterprise and symposium, the campaign also includes an extensive collaboration with the National Geographic Society to collect the data on climate change in extreme environment. After all, as the brand founder Hans Wilsdorf once said: “Rolex has supported explorers’ ventures into the most extreme places on Earth to discover more about the world,” and this campaign will certainly become one of the brand’s most dedicated efforts to keep the planet perpetual

Source: Yasmin, Diella, “Time for Change”, Tatler Indonesia, December Issue, 2019