A few months back, I wrote an article about Rolex’s status as a non-profit organization. To summarize, Rolex SA itself is not a nonprofit, but its holding organization – the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation – is in fact a not-for-profit charitable organization. As a true admirer of Rolex, someone who reads and writes about the brand most days of my life, I felt it was time to dive into their philanthropic efforts. Where’s the money that you spent on your meteorite Daytona actually going? Good news – it’s going toward some incredible causes. Let’s take a look at a few.
Rolex's Commitment to Sustainability
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Rolex explicitly follows the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: a list of 17 goals promoting environmental prosperity and human equity. Through responsible material sourcing and energy-efficient manufacturing, Rolex minimizes its environmental footprint far more than it has to, frankly. Furthermore, they fund and design programs like the Perpetual Planet initiative: an effort alongside the National Geographic Society to collect climate data in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region: a region whose glaciers provide water to 1/8th of the planet. Rolex also donates to Slyvia Earle’s Mission Blue initiative: one of the largest ocean wildlife protection projects out there. From their vertically-integrated production to their allocation of charitable funds, Rolex is committed to an ethos of environmental sustainability.
Rolex’s Efforts in Education
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Rolex spearheaded the creation of “The Rolex Learning Center”: a 400,000 ft2 campus hub and library in Lausanne, Switzerland (pictured above). This massive public learning center cost 110 million Swiss francs, with Rolex as the lead sponsor behind the Swiss government themselves. Beyond general education, Rolex finances and underwrites the tuition at the Lititz Watch Technicum: a watchmaking school in Lititz, Pennsylvania. This type of funding not only supports the watch industry (further supporting Rolex’s other charitable efforts), but it supports individuals seeking an education. By partnering with key organizations, Rolex is actively enhancing educational opportunities globally: again following the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Rolex’s COVID Response & Medical Advancements
By June of 2020 – right in the thick of a global pandemic – Rolex had established ongoing contributions to the American Red Cross as well as the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Not only were these thoughtful contributions, they were timely ones. Rolex’s charitable efforts are clearly at the forefront of the Wilsdorf Foundation. Even beyond the aforementioned global crisis, Rolex has made sizeable contributions to global medical advancements.
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For instance, Rolex is directly supporting neuroscientist Grégoire Courtine (pictured above) – a man pioneering bioengineering techniques related to spinal cord injuries and paralysis – via the Perpetual Planet initiative. They’re also supporting individuals such as Felix Brooks-church: a man attempting to eradicate malnutrition in Tanzania by fortifying flour in local mills. These aren’t charitable efforts that one just happens upon; Rolex is carefully and thoughtfully selecting where to allocate their philanthropic funds.
Rolex’s efforts in sustainability, education, emergency response, and healthcare showcase a real commitment to making Earth a better place. For all the semantic discussions surrounding whether or not Rolex is a “true nonprofit” (which I contributed to), no one seems to be highlighting the charitable efforts of the organization other than Rolex themselves. Furthermore, this is just the tip of the iceberg – if you want to learn more about Rolex’s charitable efforts, visit Rolex.org.
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