Hublot joins Jean-Louis Etienne’s Polar Pod expedition
Hublot becomes the partner of the Polar Pod expedition, a zero-emission, ecological vessel designed by explorer Jean-Louis Etienne to explore the Southern Ocean which surrounds Antarctica. It is the planet’s main oceanic carbon sink and a gigantic reservoir of marine biodiversity that is still poorly understood. This expedition is a first for this Ocean, which has never yet been the subject of this type of research.
As part of its HUBLOT Xplorations programme, the Swiss watch manufacturer has signed a new partnership with the Polar Pod expedition. The brainchild of the French explorer and environmentalist Jean-Louis Etienne - the first man to have reached the North Pole alone - this zero-emission ship will be tasked with exploring the waters of the “Furious Fifties.”
This name was given to this area of the Southern Ocean in reference to the high winds and rough seas that are usual here. In order to withstand the sea in all weathers, the Polar Pod is a vertical vessel 100 metres high (with a draught of 80 metres) stabilised by 150 tonnes of ballast. Without an engine, it will drift with the Antarctic circumpolar current and will be powered by the energy of six wind turbines.
The Southern Ocean, the fourth largest ocean by surface area, captures 50% of the carbon dioxide absorbed by all the world’s oceans, making it a major player for the climate. Connecting the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, its waters form a gigantic reservoir of marine biodiversity. However, scientists are sorely lacking in measurements and observations in this part of the world. The Polar Pod will be fitted with highly powerful instruments, making it possible to collect a continuous stream of precious date on biodiversity, current dynamics, the impact of human pollution and the atmosphere-ocean interactions which control the climate.
This data will be made available to the international scientific community. The research, coordinated by the CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) in partnership with the CNES (the French National Centre for Space Studies) and Ifremer (the French National Institute for Ocean Science), will include contributions from scientists from 43 institutions and universities in 12 countries. In addition, school pupils will be able to follow the adventure through videos and exhibitions.
The construction of the Polar Pod will start in June 2022, with a launch date of late 2023. The expedition will then span three years until 2026, with the changeover of the eight crew members taking place every two months.
This project fits perfectly into Hublot’s Xplorations programme, which now has three pillars: Space, with the design of components for the Space X Exomars Martian robot; Earth, through supporting Sorai, the charity to protect rhinoceroses and other endangered animal species; and the Sea, with Anticythère and now Jean-Louis Etienne and the Polar Pod expedition, a project in which Hublot intends to get fully involved. This partnership strengthens Hublot’s corporate social responsibility profile while respecting its maritime heritage, marking a natural return to the brand’s roots. Today, Hublot is proud to support research through a human, scientific and societal project.
Hublot has also set itself the objective of going behind the scenes to create videos about all the preparations for this Expedition and the visionary work of Jean-Louis Etienne in order to spread the word to as many people as possible and three years until 2026, with the changeover of the eight crew members taking place every two months.
“To dare is to push one’s imagination beyond certainties and known limits; it is also about creating opportunities to listen and share with those who dare with you. And Hublot dares. Soon, in the shipyard, Polar Pod will take shape before
heading off to discover the huge expanses of the Southern Ocean. Sharing technical information, technological research and with Hublot’s assistance, generating media visibility will contribute to the expedition’s success. The data and observations will be made available to the entire international scientific community.”
Jean-Louis Etienne, explorateur
“Life on Earth started in the oceans, yet they still have so much to teach us. By joining Jean-Louis Etienne’s Polar Pod project, Hublot wished to contribute to our understanding of our planet, the starting point for making the right decisions for all of our futures. With this project, we are also returning to our maritime roots, which is the source of our very name, Hublot”
Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot CEO
Founded in Switzerland in 1980, Hublot is defined by its innovation, which began with the highly original combination of gold and rubber. This “Art of Fusion”
stems from the imagination of its visionary Chairman, Jean-Claude Biver, and has been driven forward by CEO Ricardo Guadalupe since 2012.
The release of the iconic, multi-award-winning Big Bang in 2005 paved the way for new flagship collections (Classic Fusion, Spirit of Big Bang), with complications ranging from the simple to the highly sophisticated, establishing the extraordinary DNA of the Swiss watchmaking house and ensuring its impressive growth.
Keen to preserve its traditional and cutting-edge expertise, and guided by its philosophy to “Be First, Different and Unique”,
the Swiss watchmaker is consistently ahead of the curve, through its innovations in materials (scratch-resistant Magic Gold, ceramics in vibrant colours, sapphire), and the creation of Manufacture movements (Unico, Meca-10, Tourbillon).
Hublot is fully committed to creating a Haute Horlogerie brand with a visionary future: a future which is fused with the key events of our times (FIFA World Cup™, UEFA Champions League™, UEFA EURO™ and Ferrari) and the finest ambassadors our era has to offer (Kylian Mbappé, Usain Bolt, Pelé).
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