Next Event - 11/12th September, 2021

Inspiration | Exploration | Adventure

OZTek Welcomes Blancpain

Blancpain was a frontrunner in the support of the Pristine Seas initiative as founding partner from 2011 to 2016. Lead by National Geographic Society's Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Enric Sala, the Pristine Seas expeditions were dedicated to exploring and protecting the precious few remaining truly unspoiled, wild ocean areas on earth. The expeditions studied and filmed these areas as part of the effort to educate the public and governments on the value and uniqueness of their ecosystems and to secure governmental pledges to protect them. The program helped protect marine areas in the United States, Chile, Gabon, Kiribati, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, the Seychelles, northern Greenland, and South America's Patagonia region. The most recent (established in 2017) is the Revillagigedo Archipelago in Mexico. It represents 148,000 km2, making it the largest marine protected area in North America.

Laurent Ballesta’s Gombessa project 
Laurent Ballesta's Gombessa project focuses on studying some of the rarest, most elusive marine creatures and phenomena on earth. Ballesta and his team use state-of-the-art closed-circuit rebreather diving techniques to reach extreme depths and bring back unique scientific data, photographs, and videos. Their activities are consistently marked by triple challenges of a technical, scientific and artistic nature. To date, there have been four Gombessa expeditions, all underwritten by Blancpain. The first took place in the Indian Ocean in 2013 in search of the coelacanth, a prehistoric fish once thought to have become extinct 70 million years ago. The second occurred in 2014 in Fakarava, French Polynesia. The aim was to shed light on the enigmatic aggregation of the marbled groupers. For his third Gombessa expedition, Laurent Ballesta went to Antarctica in 2015 to conduct the first ever measurement of the richness harboured by this marine ecosystem threatened by global warming. In 2017, the fourth Gombessa expedition travelled again to Fakarava in order to study the hunting behaviour of the estimated 700 grey reef sharks that inhabit the southern pass of the atoll. In addition to Blancpain’s regular support, this fourth mission benefited from an additional 250,000 euro donation stemming from the sale of the first BOC limited-edition model. Ongoing analysis of the scientific data in several research centres could well reveal for the first time a collaborative behaviour among the individuals of this species that appear to hunt in packs.

World Ocean Initiative and World Oceans Day
Public awareness is essential to the achievement of such important environmental objectives. Six years ago, Blancpain organised Oceans, an underwater photographic exhibit at the United Nations headquarters in New York during the celebration of the World Ocean Day 2013. This presentation, featuring photographs by Edition Fifty Fathoms photographers, as well as images and videos from the Pristine Seas and Gombessa expeditions, was visited by more than 100,000 people. It paved the way for the establishment of an annual photographic contest and exhibition supported by Blancpain. 
In addition to these major exploration and public awareness initiatives, the Blancpain Ocean Commitment also includes sponsoring The Economist's World Ocean Summit, an outcome-driven dialogue between global leaders to bring fresh perspectives to the ocean agenda. The 5th Summit took place in March 2018 at Riviera Maya in Mexico and marked the beginning of a new phase in the cooperation between the watch Manufacture and The Economist, with the launch of the World Ocean Initiative and The Protectors program. This latter is designed to support six individual projects, which contribute in an innovative and significant manner to the objective of having 30% of the planet’s oceans classified into marine protected areas by 2030. Blancpain's contribution to these projects is complemented by its support to the Hans Hass Fifty Fathoms Award, which acknowledges excellence in marine sciences, underwater imagery, and underwater technical innovation. Since 2007, the brand also partners with world freediving champion, Gianluca Genoni. With Blancpain's support, Genoni has set multiple records and made contributions to medical science with experiments at high elevations, under the ice and in the sea.


To date, all the actions conducted with passion by Blancpain in support of exploring and preserving the oceans have led to tangible results. They have indeed contributed to doubling the surface of marine protected areas around the world, with an addition of more than four million km2, out of a worldwide total of eight million km2.

Discover HERE the surface

of global marine

areas protected so far

Meet the incredible speakers gracing the Gombessa Theatre stage at OZTek2019 –

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