Date — 4 October, 2011
Unique, and utterly fascinating: it is impossible not to be awe-struck by the wealth of flora and fauna in the Galapagos Islands. The volcanic archipelago, which arose from the depths of the Pacific four million years ago, has never been connected with the South American mainland. And any creatures that survived the long journey through the air or being carried by cold currents were forced to adapt drastically to life on rock formed from recent streams of lava. Those that did were clearly adept at survival under the toughest conditions. The result is an animal and plant world unlike any other in the world.
But this paradise is endangered. The main threat to the balance of Nature on the islands is the influx of people, both settlers and tourists. The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), which works under the aegis of UNESCO, was set up in 1959 to carry out research on the fragile Galapagos Islands ecosystem and to develop strategies for the proper preservation of this unique natural legacy. The aim of the researchers is to impress on both new arrivals and visitors the unique nature of the archipelago and to provide them with guidelines on ecologically acceptable ways of treating the environment around them, with a view to protecting the islands and ensuring that they remain intact for future generations.
The partnership has enabled us to push ahead with important protection measures and research and to raise awareness of our concerns worldwide.
IWC Schaffhausen actively supports the unflagging efforts of the Charles Darwin Foundation and supports the researchers in their projects. In addition, and as part of the joint venture, IWC launched the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos. Every year, a sizeable sum from the proceeds of sales of the watch is donated to the Charles Darwin Foundation. The watch, which has exactly the same technical specifications as the standard Aquatimer Chronograph, is equipped with a black rubber strap and designed for diving to pressures of 12 bar (120 metres). The case is coated with vulcanised rubber to protect the rugged chronograph from external influences of all kinds. The engraving of the famous Galapagos giant tortoise (Geochelone nigra) on the back cover has ensured that this particular diver’s watch is a much sought-after rarity.
Randal Keynes, a director of CDF and the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, believes that partnership with IWC is an enormous boon for the Foundation. “The partnership has enabled us to push ahead with important protection measures and research and to raise awareness of our concerns worldwide.”
Two people who have been able to experience this for themselves are Kim and Aaron Oh from the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. They were the winners of a prize draw organised by IWC for buyers of the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos, which is currently being held for the third time. Their prize was a week’s trip to the ‘Archipiélago de Colón’ (the islands’ official name), which gave them a close and personal insight into the threats facing the region together with a wealth of unforgettable memories. Following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, the extremely likeable couple had a close and intensive encounter with the islands’ unique fauna and flora.
Talking to WATCH International following their trip to the Galapagos, Kim and Aaron Oh were clearly convinced that the archipelago has a promising future if the right steps are taken now. The couple from Malaysia won their exclusive study trip to the famous islands in a lucky draw held for the buyers of the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos.