Watches have been linked to the ocean forever. From the marine chronometers invented by John Harrison in the 1700s to the first ever waterproof watch case, the Oyster, from Rolex in 1926.
And now with so many issues floating to the surface surrounding our seas many of the big watch houses are starting to take action and lend a helping hand to the charities and causes desperately trying to save our oceans from climate change and pollution. Whether they’re incorporating recycled materials into the watches or donating proceeds of sales to organisations who are leading the charge in conservation and protection of marine life and their habitats.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Ocean Conservancy
This year Breitling launched its latest big-wave-ready watch in Bali with a big beach clean up in association with Ocean Conservancy and their Surf Squad lending a helping hand. The watch in question is the Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy limited edition, its 44m stainless steel case is kept on your wrist with a choice of two ECONYL NATO straps. A material that is made out of nylon recovered from sea waste such as discarded fishing nets. Part of the sales of this 1000-piece limited edition will go towards Ocean Conservancy which help develop science based solutions to the troubles facing the seas.
Breitling Superocean Heritage II Ocean Conservancy, £4,880, available at breitling.com
Oris Ocean Trilogy
Oris, however, has taken this idea of creating a limited edition watch to help the oceans and gone two steps further. This year the independent watch house has released a trilogy of limited editions, all linked to different charities, all helping the seas in different ways.
The first two, released at Basel this year, are both limited to 2,000 pieces and variants of Oris’ Aquis diver’s watch. The Great Barrier Reef III limited edition as the name suggests helps protect and rejuvenate the largest coral system in the world. The model’s distinctive circular date display and small seconds at nine o’clock give this diver an original look.
The slightly smaller Clean Oceans limited edition comes with a disk of recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic in the case back that has been salvaged from the ocean. Proceeds from this model go towards Pacific Garbage Screening which is helping stop plastics from ever reaching our seas to help keep them clean.
The latest model can only be bought as part of this trilogy of limited editions and is restricted to just 200 models. Which is fitting as this chronograph is helping protect one of the rarer animals on the planet. The Blue Whale limited edition helps support the Whales and Dolphin Conservation group and if you buy this along with the other two watches they will come in a box entirely made from the PET plastic mentioned earlier. So you’ll be helping the giant whales as well as making sure more harmful plastic doesn’t reach their ecosystem.
Oris Clean Ocean limited edition, £1,800, available at oris.ch
Oris Great Barrier Reef limited edition III, £1,950, available at oris.ch
Oris Great Barrier Reef Limited Edition III, only available as part of trilogy £7,500, available as oris.ch
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III
Blancpain has for a long time been connected with the high seas, or more specifically the depths of them, since they released the world’s first diver’s watch in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms. Their latest model to continue their support through their Ocean Commitment is a blue dial Fifty Fathoms that comes with a NATO strap made from sailcloth. Only 250 of these are being made with €1,000 from each sale will be donated towards the Ocean Commitment cause. This will help build on the 4,000,000 square kilometers of ocean the brand has already help protect.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III, POA, available from blancpain.com
Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec Black Manta
Manta rays are one of the most majestic creatures found in our oceans, but due to over-fishing in certain areas of the world they have become increasingly rare. Carl F Bucherer is stepping up to try and make a difference.
Partnering with British charity the Manta Trust, the horologist is committing to help preserve the rare black manta (manta rays are more commonly white or grey) by funding invaluable research into the feeding ecology of these creatures based in the Maldives.
If the watch looks a little familiar, that’ll be because the house previously released this model as a limited-edition in steel with a grey dial and rubber strap. This new edition adds a bi-colour brown and black bezel, and is, in a first for the brand, a ceramic bezel insert combined with a titanium case.
Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec Black Manta, £5,500, bucherer.com