The spirit of exploration

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It was an exploration that gave rise to the two Rolex watches most closely associated with adventure: the Explorer, launched shortly after the first ascent of Everest in 1953, and the Explorer II, in 1971. The brand has put its watches in the dolls of heroes such as Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb to the roof of the world together with Tenzing Norgay, Erling Kagge, the first to reach both poles and the summit of Everest, and Jacques Piccard, who in 1960, together with Don Walsh , piloted the bathyscaphe Trieste to the deepest point in the oceans, the Challenger Deep depression, at -10,916 meters.

However, if the last century the objective of exploration was to discover the limits of the globe, overcome the limits of human resistance and observe the Earth, today the paradigm has changed. There is much left to discover, but awareness of the fragile destiny of the planet has led new explorers to become defenders of an ecosystem that is a heritage that we must transmit to our children. Rolex has been able to read the signs of the times and has moved from exploration driven by the desire for discovery to exploration aimed at safeguarding the Earth, consolidating its commitment with the launch, in 2019, of the Perpetual Planet initiative.

Its goal is to support personalities and organizations that use science to understand environmental challenges and devise solutions that rebalance our ecosystems. Perpetual Planet today has 20 partners. Among them, oceanographer Sylvia Earle with the Mission Blue initiative, of which the company has been a partner since 2014 and which aims to protect the oceans through a network of protected marine Hope Spots; the National Geographic Society, a long-standing association that studies the impacts of climate change; and the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, a program that supports creators of innovative projects that benefit the environment.

From exploration to conservation: a change of pace that Rolex had the foresight to make in time. If it is true that, as former American astronaut Frank Borman said, “exploration is truly the essence of the human spirit,” we cannot forget a significant proverb of the Navajo people: “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children".


On January 23, 1960, Jacques Piccard, together with Don Walsh, piloted the bathyscaphe Trieste in the Mariana Trench, in the Pacific, to the deepest point in the oceans, the Challenger Deep depression, at -10,916 meters. The descent of the two explorers lasted approximately five hours and they spent 20 minutes on the ocean floor before ascending. A test for the Rolex Deep Sea Special fixed to the outside of the bathyscaphe.

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Nathan Rivera
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