Cover image: Hindor Oumarou Ibrahim
Ninety-five years ago, Rolex unveiled the world’s first water- and dust-proof wristwatch, the Oyster. A year later, in 1927, professional swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel wearing the Oyster. She was in the water for over 10 hours. The watch was still ticking at the end of the record-breaking attempt.
It was Gleitze’s feat – and several others in the ensuing decades – that inspired the watchmaker to launch the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 1976, five decades after the unveiling of the Oyster. The ethos was simple: support and honour individuals who are doing innovative projects that “expand our knowledge of the world, protect the environment – helping to preserve habitats and species – and improve human well-being.”
Over the past 50 years, Rolex has supported 150 projects. This year, the watchmaker has added five more – Felix Brooks-church (US), Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Chad), Rinzin Phunjok Lama (Nepal) Gina Moseley (UK) and Luiz Rocha (Brazil).