Saturday, 16 August 2014 | MYT 10:50 AM

Luxury watchmakers hope to buy more time for Mother Earth

Watchmaker IWC Schafhaussen has teamed up with the Charles Darwin Foundation to raise funds for its research station and environmental preservation work on the Galapagos Islands.

Watchmaker IWC Schafhaussen has teamed up with the Charles Darwin Foundation to raise funds for its research station and environmental preservation work on the Galapagos Islands.

Luxury watch brands are doing their part for a better society through fundraising initiatives and programmes to inspire creativity.

As the luxury watch industry continues to expand and grow richer, more and more watchmakers are hoping to buy more time for Mother Earth by engaging in active community development work, charitable campaigns and mentoring programmes that allow them to interact with people on the ground. 

Initiatives like Audemars Piguet Foundation’s environmental projects and Rolex’s Mentor And Protégé Arts Initiative are ways in which these companies are "giving back" to society, raising funds and awareness for important issues that are running out of time, and fostering creative communities. 

IWC Schaffhausen has once again partnered with the Charles Darwin Foundation for a CSR venture to protect the Galapagos Islands. The project, a three-tier membership programme available from iwc.com, enables participants to donate to the cause in exchange for exclusive benefits. All proceeds from the fundraiser goes to the foundation’s science and conservation priorities in Galapagos.

The Charles Darwin Foundation runs the longest, biggest and most successful scientific undertaking on the islands, and has been supported by IWC since 2009. The watchmaker's most prominent act has been the creation of a series of special limited edition timepieces, like the current Aquatimer collection, whereby a portion from the sales are channelled to the foundation. 

“The Galapagos Islands represent a unique environment and we take pride in supporting the Charles Darwin Foundation in its efforts to preserve it,” says IWC CEO Georges Kern. “We regularly hear from individuals who express a desire to take a more active role. In response, we support this programme that will enable individuals to help the CDF’s work.”

Members who give US$1000 (RM3,200) to the initiative will become benefactors of the foundation, which will entitle them to invitations for events like the annual general assembly of the Charles Darwin Foundation, IWC boutique functions, a special documentation package and preferential treatment for travel and visits to the Galapagos Islands (that also includes a VIP tour of the research station).

For US$200 donations, participants are considered supporters of the programme and they will receive newsletters from the Charles Darwin Foundation and IWC, as well as an invitation to visit the research station on the islands. Conversely, you can also "adopt" an endangered Galapagos species for only US$20. 

The partnership between IWC and the Charles Darwin Foundation also offers volunteering opportunities to youths who would like to learn and benefit from the work done by the foundation and at the research station. Another hands-on experience possibility involves becoming a staff assistant at the foundation's CEO office.

The winning photo in Jaeger-LeCoultre's
IWC Schafhaussen has teamed up with the Charles Darwin Foundation to raise funds for its work in the Galapagos Islands.
IWC Schafhaussen has teamed up with the Charles Darwin Foundation to raise funds for its work in the Galapagos Islands.
IWC Schafhaussen has teamed up with the Charles Darwin Foundation to raise funds for its work in the Galapagos Islands.

Jaeger-LeCoultre recently showed its support of the visual arts with the “My Picture Perfect” photography competition, to commemorate the company's almost 200 years of watchmaking. Photographers who participated in the contest were asked to capture time and interpret the JLC history. Vince Cheong Kim Fye, who submitted a picture of a lakeside scene by night reflected in the water, won the top prize – a Reverso Classique timepiece.  

“This image is immersed with many elements of serenity and tranquillity, one of which is the water element that brings joy and life, yet remains silent and blissful as the wind,” Cheong says, describing the winning frame. “It reflects everything – the gleams in its pathway, showing a whole new reflection of the world, a perfect illusion. A metaphorical way of portraying Jaeger-LeCoultre and time.”

He also says, “As time captures and reflects every moment in our everyday life, it is indestructible. And similar to reflections, it only can be accepted for what it is. The reflection in this image depicts the ever so elegant Reverso collection, where its case could flip over to display a perfect reflection of another face of the watch.” 

Three other photographers also in the running for the top prize – Tanes Jitsawart, Calven Lim and Ming Thein – submitted images (respectively) of an Aston Martin in an endurance race at the Sepang circuit, a film camera from the 1950s along with photos depicting the camera's lineage, and a black-and-white picture of a Reverso Repetition Minutes a Rideau watch.

The winning photo in Jaeger-LeCoultre's
The winning photo by Vince Cheong for Jaeger-LeCoultre's 'Picture Perfect' competition.

Roger Dubuis has teamed up with Emirates Airline in a programme aimed at bringing joy and enhancing the lives of children around the world. The “Time For Change” initiative will raise funds for the Emirates Airline Foundation through a silent auction of a unique piece: the Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon. 

Between 15 August 2014 and 14 March 2015, passengers on all Emirates flights can participate in the auction by filling in a bid form in-flight, or at the Roger Dubuis Boutique at The Boulevard, Emirates Towers in Dubai. The winning bidder will be invited for a VIP visit to the brand’s Manufacture in Geneva, Switzerland, to experience first-hand the mastery and craftsmanship that go into the creation of Roger Dubuis’ timepieces, as well as meet and speak to a master watchmaker.

“We are extremely proud to join hands with Emirates to make a difference in the lives of children and enable them to live brighter, happier lives,” said Jean-Marc Pontroué, CEO of Roger Dubuis. “The Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon is among our finest creations and we hope to be able to raise the maximum amount for the Foundation.”

“This collaboration with Roger Dubuis will go a long way in our efforts to positively impact the lives of children,” said Terry Daly, Board Member of the Emirates Airline Foundation, and Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President – Service Delivery. “There is great need to garner international support to help millions of children around the world and improve their quality of life. We hope this initiative will make a meaningful difference.”

All the proceeds from the auction will benefit Emirates Airline Foundation’s programmes dedicated to providing a wholesome and loving environment for children in need across the world.

Specially designed for the partnership, the unique timepiece is a collector’s item and what the brand is calling its most iconic creation. The Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon is a ground-breaker from a brand with a flair for daring technical innovativeness. The piece combines, for the first time, the skeleton and the double flying tourbillion in an extravagant exercise in style and watchmaking expertise, powered by the extremely technical RD01SQ movement, comprised of 301 parts that ensure greater precision thanks to a differential system that averages the rates of the two tourbillons.

Participants in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, in the category of Music, mentor Kaija Saariaho (left), and Vasco Mendonça, her protégé.
Music category participants in the Rolex Mentor And Protégé Arts Initiative: Kaija Saariaho (L) and Vasco Mendonça (R) are mentor and protégé.

> This article was originally published in Life Inspired, out every second and fourth Sunday of the month and distributed exclusive with The Sunday Star to selected households.

Tags / Keywords: Life Style , CSR , JLC , IWC RD


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