Without water, there is no life. Whether it is the drinking water required as the most basic of human needs or the vast oceans that help to regulate Planet Earth’s climate and provide sustenance for its population, water plays a crucial role in our lives. Yet it is something that we so often take for granted, with little thought for the consequences of our actions on the health of our planet.
A number of watch brands are helping to foster awareness in the two areas mentioned above by working with charities and large international organisations. Small independent brands such as Louis Moinet and larger ones such as Hublot (working in partnership with music legends Depeche Mode) have chosen the provision of clean drinking water as their aim.
Hublot and Louis Moinet bringing drinking water to 100,000 people
Louis Moinet teamed up with a young NGO called 123 Action, which after just one year of existence has already provided treated water for 130,000 families in three countries. At a recent charity auction, Louis Moinet sold a unique piece Tempograph Water watch for 30,000 Swiss francs. The proceeds are already earmarked for drilling six wells in Togo to provide drinking water for over 10,000 people.
Tempograph Water © Louis Moinet
Since 2013 Hublot and Depeche Mode have supported the organisation “Charity: water” to fund 229 projects in Nepal and Ethiopia to install standpipes and wells that bring clean water to 30,000 people. For the most recent campaign, launched last year to coincide with Depeche Mode’s huge “Spirit” world tour, the aim is to beat this achievement and bring clean water to 50,000 people around the world. A percentage of the sales revenue from the Hublot Big Bang Depeche Mode special edition launched last year helps to support these projects
Big Bang Unico Depeche Mode © Hublot
I covered the narrative, with a lot more background information regarding the first Breguet 160, its narrative, reduction, and eventual recovery. If you’re interested in this particular story, I highly recommend checking out that article because the narrative of this reference 160 Marie Antoinette timepiece is one which all watch fans should know.More thus, a range of elements of the background, both long past and modern, of the 160 are still to a degree mostly unknown to the general public. It is actually a pure coincidence that Breguet unveiled the Breguet 1160 Marie Antoinette pocket watch only months after the original 160 was discovered. It’s more than likely the most valuable horological thing in existence.I mention the above coincidence because most people wrongly believed that the brand released the Breguet 1160 Marie Antoinette due to the re-discovery of the 160. This is wrong. Breguet had been covertly working on replicating the 160 for about five years up to that point. The modern Breguet brand is known for its original founder Abraham-Louis Breguet. Often known as the “grandfather” (or dad) of modern watchmaking, the Breguet brand lasted for centuries through various family members after his death.In the 1980s Breguet was introduced to existence in its modern iteration via a fresh group of investors largely separated from the original Breguet family (however, now, parts of the first Breguet family are a part of their brand again). It was watch manufacturer and designer Daniel Roth who formed the contemporary appearance of the new wrist watches being motivated by historical Breguet pieces. Just something like 5,000 Breguet clocks and watches were created during Abraham-Louis Breguet’s lifetime.
Blancpain, Breguet, Breitling and Seiko saving the oceans
Blancpain has been the principal supporter of the World Ocean Summit since its first edition in 2012, but this year’s edition, held in Mexico from 7th until 9th March, signalled a new phase with the launch of the World Ocean Initiative. The World Ocean Summit has been bringing government leaders, companies and international organisations together to discuss solutions for a sustainable future. The World Ocean Initiative takes things a step further with a programme called “The Protectors”, which has been set up together with the Economist newspaper, the organiser of the World Ocean Summit. This new programme will support six projects that work towards having 30% of the planet’s oceans classified into marine protected areas by 2030.
Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Ocean Commitment II © Blancpain
Breitling recently announced that it had teamed up with the Ocean Conservancy, an organisation founded in 1972 that focuses on cleaning up our coastlines. Over the past thirty years, the organisation has held clean-up events in 153 countries, involving over 12 million people who have collectively picked up over 100 million kilos of rubbish.
At Baselworld 2018 Breguet Watches Melbourne Replica announced a new partnership with the Race for Water Foundation, whose “Odyssey 2017-2021” involves travelling around the world on a renewable energy vessel power by a mix of solar energy, hydrogen and kite to promote innovative solutions for transforming plastic waste into energy.
For its part, Seiko is focusing on education through its support of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center. The brand announced its new partnership with the grandson of legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau at Baselworld, simultaneously presenting a special collection of Prospex watches that are tied in with the partnership.
Seiko’s international media campaign featuring the Prospex diver’s watch collection and Fabien Cousteau. © Seiko
Preserving the waters of Laike Baikal and Manta Rays with Carl F. Bucherer
The Lucerne-based brand has taken a different approach to nature conservation. The brand’s Executive Vice President Sales, Laurent Lecamp, took part in the 2018 Baikal Ice Marathon with athlete Vladimir Voloshin. The race is dubbed the “Clean Water Preservation Run” and the course crosses the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lake Baikal, the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake, whose waters are at threat from growing tourism in the area.
Carl F. Bucherer also supports the Manta Trust, a UK registered charity that has identified over 4,300 individual reef mantas from over 50,000 different sightings. The brand has also financed two satellite trackers that have been attached to two rays named ScubtaTec and TravelTec to allow their movements in the Pacific Ocean to be monitored. The location of the rays can be seen on a dedicated website.
Scubatec Manta Trust © Carl F. Bucherer
Favre-Leuba helping to highlight the impact of sea-ice loss
Favre-Leuba support the Arctic Mission, which made the first successful voyage to the Central Arctic Ocean by yacht without icebreaker support last year to highlight the risks to this fragile ecosystem posed by the loss of sea ice. One of the mission’s vessels, Bagheera, was emblazoned with the Favre-Leuba logo.
It’s nice to know that, in some cases, the purchase of a luxury watch can help to safeguard our planet’s resources.