Crystal clear waters, a school of fuchsia fish and a bed of extra-terrestrial looking coral, a world we only see in movies. As a child, I watched Disney’s interpretation of this magical place below the surface in movies like Finding Nemo and Bed knobs and Broomsticks, never believing that the underwater world would live up to this animated vision in real life. A trip to Antigua and a day of Snorkelling made me a believer.
Some of the most beautiful coral reefs and untouched ocean areas still exist and are as beautiful as ever, but sadly enough they are in danger.
Marine scientist Laurent Ballesta has assisted with the exposure of the issues our oceans are currently facing. Diving to the extreme scuba depths of between 150 and 200 metres exploring the “dimly understood undersea ecosystems.” Ballesta uses his dramatic photographs to show the ocean life both “eroding and unfolding” before us. The beauty of these previously unseen underwater worlds still evident, some magical and unscathed others tainted by carelessness and waste.
They hope to continue to educate the public and governments on some of the manmade issues we face and how we can support the fight against them. The recent UK ban on microbeads used in cosmetics and personal care products signals the dawn of a new era in the fight for cleaner oceans. It is an indication that the work done by major organisations is slowly gaining interest and will encourage others to take further action.
In 2011, National Geographic launched their Pristine Seas project.
The project explores the few unspoiled areas of the ocean left on earth, its mission is to let the world know that these places still exist, that they are in danger and ultimately that they deserve to be protected.
Watchmakers Blancpain became the projects first contributing brand showing their dedication to the ocean through their historical connection to diving.
In 1953 Blancpain provided the first model of a dive watch. The Fifty Fathoms watch allowed the wearer to dive to great depths along with the help of large bold numerals, clear markings and an outer rotating bezel. The design took influence from both diving enthusiast and then Blancpain CEO; Jean-Jacques Fiechter and that of Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud of the newly formed French combat diving corps.
The creation of this now iconic timepiece defined diving watches thereafter.
Only a year after the production of the fifty fathoms watch, the first underwater camera with flash was released allowing divers to not only explore these hidden depths of the ocean but to expose more of what is beneath the surface to the public than ever before.
Over sixty years later, Blancpain proudly represent and work with several important activities dedicated to protecting and preserving our oceans. Raising awareness through ocean exploration as they believe we can only respect and protect what we love, and we can only love what we are exposed to.
In 2016, Blancpain extended the opportunity to become an active player in the Ocean Commitment Circle to their clients. The brand released a 250-piece limited edition collection with 1,000 euros of each watch sold being donated to support scientific expeditions and developments. Each owner of one of the limited-edition watches was also offered the chance to enrol in the Ocean Commitment Circle strengthening the brands passion for the underwater world. A possible symbol that time is of the essence and that we must act to protect our oceans as soon we can.
To see more of Blancpain’s ocean commitment project, click here.