Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Blancpain Partners Ocean Photography Awards To Celebrate Biodiversity

There are lots of ways watch firms are doing their part for the world, even if these are often not quantifiable. Blancpain takes the lead with its Ocean Commitment initiatives.

Oct 11, 2021 | By Ashok Soman
Matty Smith, Third place winner, OPA
Image: Matty Smith/

Can a watch brand save the world? Definitely not. What about just a sliver of an ecosystem? Maybe, but it is doubtful. Many watch specialists have discussed the subject at length and come to these somewhat obvious conclusions. But we all agree that watch brands can make a difference, in the same way that a conscientious act by just one person is still a good thing. Blancpain’s premier role with the United Nations World Oceans Day is one such example, and another is its main partner role with the Ocean Photography Awards (OPA) 2021, which just announced its winners. 

We feel that this sort of thing is important primarily because the ocean often seems like a faraway wonder, especially if you are not a diver. The photos paint a vivid picture of what lies beneath the waves and can motivate people to support protecting this vital ecosystem. 

The winners were revealed at an event at the Blancpain London boutique, which also served to launch a pop-up exhibition, which runs until October 20 at 11 Bond Street. So what is the Ocean Photography Awards about? Beyond the obvious, the organisation says its mission is to communicate the beauty of the ocean, as well as the many perils it faces. We think you will agree that it has accomplished this, just from the photographs shown here. To illustrate this, we have opted to showcase the work of current and past winners, including the Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 and the new Female Fifty Fathoms Awards.

Aimee Jan, Winner of Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 Blancpain@660px
Image: Aimee Jan/

There were more than 3,000 entries to the competition this year across six categories, which does not include the overall Ocean Photographer of the Year award. This prize went to Aimee Jan, an Australia-based photographer who captured the shot you see here of the green turtle in a school of glass fish. This year, there is a new category specifically associated with Blancpain, the aforementioned Female Fifty Fathoms (FFF) Award, where all the entrants were pre-nominated by someone for whom they are an inspiration. The winner was Renee Capozzola, an American photographer and biology teacher with an interest in marine conservation. Blancpain presented her with a special Fifty Fathoms model bearing the serial number 1; it is also engraved with the words FFF Award 2021. 

Renee Capozzola, Winner of FFF, Blancpain
Image: Renee Capozzola/

According to the website for the Ocean Photography Awards, the awards are inclusive, being open to all photographers without exception. It goes on to note that the awards are a platform through which ocean artistry is shared with millions — art that is enjoyed and discussed, art that puts the ocean centre stage in people’s hearts and minds.

Will Harrison, founder of the Ocean Photography Awards, said: “We are delighted and humbled to have Blancpain partner with us for 2021. Blancpain’s commitment to ocean exploration and conservation is part of its fabric, its identity – a passion and pursuit that has seen it achieve significant ocean conservation wins and exploration firsts over many years. That ocean authenticity and integrity are a very welcome addition to OPA2021.”

“The Blancpain Ocean Commitment centres on the principle that people can only respect and protect what they love, and can only love what they know,” said President and CEO of Blancpain Marc A. Hayek “In continuation of the Fifty Fathoms’ role in the opening up of the underwater world, Blancpain has been supporting those who best raise awareness of ocean issues and especially those who convey a positive message insisting on the inspiring beauty of what is intact. Thus, we are proud to become the Main Partner of the Ocean Photography Awards, which aims at sharing the oceans’ hidden wonders and their importance for life on Earth.”

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