ray of hope
Rather than making the somewhat predictable contribution to ocean conservation, Swiss-German watch manufacturer Carl F. Bucherer has chosen a unique avenue to bring this kind of philanthropy to life. His 188-piece limited-edition collection is dedicated to the Manta Trust charity, a conservation group not only wrapped around a unique species — the reef manta ray — but also an experience that is increasingly shared by ocean wildlife enthusiasts.
Hanifaru Bay in western Baa Atoll in the Maldives is a funnel-shaped section of coral reef that is home to a regular aggregation of the largest reef manta rays in the world. At the right time of year, visitors with just a mask and snorkel can experience close interaction with these giant rays, some measuring over 7 metres in wingspan.
Mantas are perhaps the most charismatic of any fish," says Guy Stevens, CEO of Manta Trust. “The creatures are both gentle and inquisitive, having the largest brain-to-body-mass ratio of any fish." They are also a bellwether of ocean health and are threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.
The Manta Trust has, among many other activities, cataloged nearly 80 percent of the mantas in the atoll, each of which has unique distinguishing marks on its underside. Along with a special dial, each piece of the Patravi ScubaTec Manta Trust edition (US$6,400/RM27,050) will feature an individual manta on the caseback, engraved with the manta’s own underside markings and catalog number or name.
The edition offers its wearers a nice, direct connection to the beneficiary of the charity. The mantas of Hanifaru Bay can be accessed through several resorts in the atoll, including the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru.