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by Aleta Saeger September 05, 2020 3 min read

With the creation of the Hulk Submariner, the brand new 41mm Kermit just released in 2020, and countless other models, we know that Rolex loves green watches. But did you know Rolex also was interested in a different kind of green that has little to do with watch design? 

Recently we learned about Rolex’s long-standing partnership with National Geographic and their dedication to helping create a greener and more eco-friendly world with a new project called Perpetual Planet. While you don’t always associate a mega-brand like Rolex with environmental initiatives, Rolex actually has quite an extensive history helping the environment. Few people know that Rolex is actually a charity, and they quietly and modestly fork out a tremendous amount of money every year to various causes to help create a greener and healthier Earth.

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The Rolex Hulk on a green 
Everest Band

A Brief History 

According to the National Geographic website, Natural Geographic and Rolex have “partnered to support trailblazing scientific research, expeditions, and solutions to increase the understanding of the threats facing the planet’s life support systems and drive action to address them.”  Rolex is known for its involvement in many historical milestones in exploration for over 60 years. From the highest peaks to the deepest seas, Rolex supports research to protect our planet. Below are examples of previous and current explorers who have worn Rolex watches on their expeditions and who Rolex has sponsored:

Examples: 

  • Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Mt. Everest in 1953 wearing a Rolex Explorer.
  • The Rolex Deepsea Special was strapped to the exterior of the Trieste in 1960 with the deepest dive at 10,916 meters.
  • Sylvia Earle is an Oceanographer and pioneer of ocean exploration. 
  • National Geographic Explorer James Cameron made a record-breaking solo dive to the Earth's deepest point with the Rolex Deepsea Challenge. 
  • David Doubilet, the renowned underwater photographer and Rolex ambassador has been diving with a Rolex watch for over 50 years.

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Rolex’s Partnership with National Geographic

Rolex continues to assist in efforts to learn more about how to save the environment with its partnership with National Geographic. The new project, a Perpetual Planet, was launched to gather and share ways we can protect the environment and ecosystems, specifically: the oceans, the mountains and the poles. The goal is to support explorers and scientists to gather research on how to make a real difference. 

The data will be compared to previously gathered information to explore the changes to our Earth’s ecosystems. These systems provide the most basic needs for life: water, oxygen and a stable climate. Some factors, like climate change, are causing problems with these critical systems. And in order to stop any negative impact, we need to understand these changes and discover ways to prevent them. This is why Rolex and National Geographic are embarking on this project together. 

national geographic and rolex a perpetual planet
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The Latest Environmental Research

The first stage of this project focuses on mountains, and the water it provides. The most recent expedition revealed information that the mountain water systems are at a risk. (Fun Fact: National Geographic calls mountains the world’s water towers). The expedition took a team to Mt. Everest, which almost 2 billion people rely upon to receive water. The research gathered from this expedition will help scientists understand how we can protect the water systems. (Just as we need to do our best to learn how to protect our planet, it’s always a great idea to protect your Rolex bracelet too. So, preserve your Rolex bracelet with Everest Bands here.)

The team, including a geographer for National Geographic, Alex Tait, mapped Mt. Everest in spring of this year. The expedition was dubbed the Rolex Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition, and its goal was to scan and perform detailed photogrammetry. The National Geographic notes that it mapped “the entire Khumba glacier from the South Col down to the toe of the glacier.” Additionally, the team scanned the Mt. Everest base camp. 

national geographic and rolex a perpetual planet
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This scan was the highest resolution imagery ever collected at Mt. Everest. The information resulting from the scan will be used to compare past and current conditions. This comparison will be able to help scientists understand and predict how the mountain environments (including  streams and rivers that flow from Mt. Everest) will change in years to come. You can read more about the Mt. Everest expedition and resulting data here

Why Don’t We Hear More About This in the Media?

It’s interesting that in exploring the relationship between Rolex and National Geographic, Rolex rarely boasts of the efforts they make to help us to protect our planet. Instead of boasting of their efforts, they sponsor the explorers because the concept of Rolex is supporting exploration, conservation, the arts and the best that humans can be. And, the Perpetual Planet is a nice play on words in reference to a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. 

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Aleta Saeger
Aleta Saeger



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