From climate change to pollution, clean water—arguably our most precious natural resource—currently is under threat around the world. For watch brands looking to support worthy causes, drawing a link between popular dive models and initiatives that support research and conservation of water, the oceans and the life they contain, is a no-brainer. In recent years, brands including Oris, Breitling, Panerai, Blancpain, IWC, and Carl F. Bucherer have launched limited editions to benefit such initiatives.
According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF last year, 785 million people still do not have easy access to clean water. Another report by the World Bank referred to “the invisible water crisis” detailing how deteriorating water quality is threatening the well-being of humanity and the environment.
“We believe passionately in conserving [water] for future generations, and also in acting responsibly as citizens of the world to bring positive change,” says Rolf Studer, co-CEO of the Swiss watch brand Oris. “Every year, we seek out pioneering organizations who share these values and work to protect the world’s water.”
Sales of this year’s Oris Lake Baikal Limited Edition (US$2,400) will support research conducted by Point No.1, the Lake Baikal Foundation’s conservation project run by the Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University in Siberia. Founded in 1945, it is regarded as the longest-running and most detailed environmental water monitoring project in scientific history.
The Siberian lake, believed to be 25 million years old, is the deepest in the world at 1,642 meters and holds 20% of the world’s fresh lake water reserves. It is currently under threat from industrial pollution. Oris will produce 1,999 pieces of the Lake Baikal Limited Edition, based on the brand’s flagship Aquis dive model, in a nod to the year in which Russia adopted the Baikal Law protecting the lake.