The 2019 edition of the highly prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise announced the names of their five laureates earlier this month at the renowned Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Comprising a diverse group of people belonging to a wide range of fields, each winner has been acknowledged for their original projects aimed at benefiting humanity and creating a more sustainable planet. As such, João Campos-Silva, Grégoire Courtine, Brian Gitta, Krithi Karanth and Miranda Wang will all receive special funding to help further their individual causes, as well as a Rolex chronometer.
The biannual awards were first established in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster, the world’s first truly waterproof diving timepiece. Created with the intention of preserving the environment and in recognition of human enterprise, the award encourages those that embody the luxury watch brand’s commitment to improving life and fostering its core values. Approximately five million people have been impacted positively since the inception of these awards. And its scope and impact is still growing.
This year, the multi-national, independent jury comprised of a mix of renowned visionaries and accomplished individuals, including investor and entrepreneur Ling Wong and conservationist Paula Kahumba. The body diligently sifted through a list of 957 deserving candidates, from 111 countries, before selecting the final ten. The eventual winners were decided after taking into account an online vote, which allowed the general public to participate, for the first time, in the awards 43-year history.
While there is no common thread uniting the winning projects, each fits in with Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf’s vision of looking at the world as a living laboratory. As a result, it’s no surprise that the proposals encompass everything from ecology to human health. The awards also tie into the Perpetual Planet initiative, a campaign launched by Rolex in partnership with National Geographic which offers support to conservational projects across the world. Interestingly, the word ‘Perpetual’ is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster, a fitting tribute to a horological icon and the reason for the awards’ existence.
View the gallery below for more details on this year’s noble laureates and their impressive projects.