By Lora O’Brien
Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site-one of the world’s largest international protected areas. From summit to sea, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration
So what’s that got to do with watches?
Well, we could get creative and say ‘it’s time’ to conserve this pristine part of the world. But in less poetic and more practical terms, Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre has just joined forces with UNESCO to help conserve this corner of Alaskan wildlife. In fact, since 2008, Jaeger-LeCoultre and UNESCO have been working together to protect the 47 marine sites appearing on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Most recently, to reassert its long-term commitment to environmental protection, the watch brand has made a short video on Glacier Bay National Park (USA) entitled The Guardians, recognising the work of scientists and project managers that preserve the site. But in addition to that, Jaeger-LeCoultre provides direct financial help to the world heritage programme.
For example, in 2013, they made a direct donation of 20,000 US dollars dedicated to protecting the Fernando de Noronha nature reserve. Their recent purchase of a dinghy will facilitate implementation of a regular surveillance programme aimed at evaluating the state of conservation of maritime areas and combating illegal fishing activities.
Educating people about the importance of environmental conservation is another priority for the watchmaker. The President of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Philippe Bonay, and World Heritage Marine Programme coordinator, Fanny Douvere, invited a group of influential guests and friends to their New York based boutique last April, to educate people about the importance of preserving the Glacier Bay National Park. At the same time, a group of photos were displayed, showing the stunning beauty of the park.
These incredible shots by photographer Mark Kelley really are worth a thousand words, and evoke another connection between watches and national parks, as these represent two of the greatest and rarest of luxuries which, once gone, are gone forever: time and nature.