Few industries are as well-poised to make tangible improvements to our world as luxury. On one level, luxury brands have the financial means to support worthy causes. On another, they wield significant social influence – by themselves and in collaboration with others in their spheres. Blancpain has long recognised its ability to effect positive change, and taken up the cause of ocean conservation years ago. Its activities in this domain are almost an extension of its watchmaking work, which has dive watches among its key pillars.
For the uninitiated, one of Blancpain’s milestones is its creation of the world’s first modern dive watch, the Fifty Fathoms. It was unveiled by the brand in 1953, and came with technical features that went on to become de rigueur for dive watches that followed. Its development was not a coincidence – the timepiece was designed to meet the requirements set out by Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, who were heading the French combat diving corps. What’s more, the project was personally supported by Blancpain’s then CEO, Jean-Jacques Fiechter, who was himself an avid scuba diver.
Protecting Our Oceans
Blancpain’s approach to ocean conservation has been multi-pronged. Over the years, some of its projects have included financing National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas Expeditions and Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa Project, working with free diver Gianluca Genoni, and partnering with The Economist for its World Ocean Summit. The brand has also supported several independent underwater photographers.
These seemingly disparate projects haven’t only directly protected the world’s oceans, but also helped to raise awareness about specific issues concerning the oceans’ ecosystems that the public may be unaware of. The results speak for themselves.
The Pristine Seas project alone has helped to protect over three million square kilometres of ocean territory. Others have led to progress elsewhere. The Rainbow Fish Project, for instance, has advanced undersea exploration techniques with its development of a new submersible that’s capable of navigating horizontally across the seafloor.
In a bid to subsume all its ocean conservation initiatives under a single banner, the brand introduced Blancpain Ocean Commitment in 2014. Under this new aegis, Blancpain’s projects now had a common global platform for public engagement and education – one important factor necessary for any policy’s success.
To that end, the brand has launched a website that doesn’t just track the projects it’s currently involved in, but also past ones that have since been completed. The result is a comprehensive look at past and present efforts in preserving our oceans.
Honouring The Commitment
Beyond simply supporting the good work done by others, Blancpain has also leveraged on its core expertise as a watchmaker. The manufacture has released three series of limited edition timepieces dedicated to Blancpain Ocean Commitment with the latest, the Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III, unveiled just this year.
The impact of each Ocean Commitment edition timepiece is multifold. For a start, Blancpain directly donates €1,000 to support projects under Blancpain Ocean Commitment with the sale of every watch. The owner of each watch is also inducted into the Blancpain Ocean Commitment Circle – a club that confers exclusive privileges such as invitations to private events and conferences concerning the initiatives under Blancpain Ocean Commitment. By involving its customers and garnering their support, what the brand is effectively doing is apply a multiplier to its causes, thus widening their impact. It looks like there is hope for our oceans yet.
Learn more at blancpain-ocean-commitment.com