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For more than four decades, through the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Rolex has supported exceptional individuals who have the courage and conviction to take on major challenges; men and women who have a spirit of enterprise, initiating extraordinary projects that make the world a better place.

Created in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Oyster, the first waterproof watch and an important milestone in watchmaking, the Rolex Awards foster the values that underpin Rolex: quality, ingenuity, determination and, above all, the enterprising spirit that has driven the company since its beginning. From the start, the Awards were designed to fill a void in corporate philanthropy by supporting exceptional individuals around the world, pioneers who had no or little access to traditional funding and were responding to major challenges with original and innovative projects that advance human knowledge and well-being.

The support given by Rolex to 150 Award winners since 1976 has had a catalytic impact and has in many cases transformed lives and communities. It has also stimulated new ways of thinking about common problems in areas as diverse as creating technologies that improved lives, saving endangered ecosystems, protecting the oceans, exploring new frontiers on the planet, or pioneering advances in science and health.

  • The Rolex Awards over the decades

    The Rolex Awards were created in 1976 to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Oyster watch, the world’s first waterproof chronometer, and to celebrate the historic milestone by helping lay the foundation of a better future. It was one of the first examples of a corporate awards programme. Applications flooded into Geneva from around the world and, due to the extraordinary response, the first five Laureates received their awards in 1978, having been selected by an independent Jury of renowned specialists.

  • The Rolex Awards over the decades

    The first Rolex Awards prompted so much interest that what had been conceived of as a one-off event was extended to a new call for entries for the 1981 series. By the third (1983) and fourth (1987) series, Rolex realized it had embarked on a long-term venture, as the Awards continued to attract a flow of multidisciplinary, cross-cultural projects from around the globe. They had become an institution whose prestige had grown beyond all expectations.

  • The Rolex Awards over the decades

    The projects of the Rolex Laureates in the 1990s reflected the concerns of the day, including the growing realization that human activity was damaging the environment. Whether they were discovering new ways of monitoring ozone levels and reducing CFCs, finding innovative solutions to agricultural challenges, reforesting large areas of the planet or reducing dangerous wastes, the Award winners were helping to preserve the earth’s scarce resources.

  • The Rolex Awards over the decades

    The year 2000 brought optimism with the start of the new century and millennium. The growth of the Internet marked great strides in globalization and communication. But these technological advances coincided with new challenges, including climate change and global warming, natural disasters and the emergence of previously unknown diseases. Rolex Laureates responded to these challenges with innovative projects. The Awards also went international, as ceremonies were held in major cities all over the world every two years.

  • The Rolex Awards over the decades

    The first Rolex Young Laureates were announced in 2010. Rolex introduced the Young Laureates segment of the Awards aimed specifically at individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 who were tackling major challenges with a spirit of enterprise similar to that of the Rolex Laureates. The idea was to help young pioneers meet the challenges of the 21st century. Over the past six years, Young Laureates have demonstrated a significant impact on their communities in a variety of areas.

Rolex Awards

Meet the 2019 Jury

The finalists in the 2019 Rolex Awards are chosen by an independent Jury selected for their expertise and stature in a wide variety of fields. Meet the Jury convened from around the globe for the 2019 Rolex Awards.

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Rolex Awards for Enterprise


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