From the world’s largest fresh water reservoir to a marine sanctuary off the coast of Florida, ORIS’ mission to help clean, replenish and protect the planet’s vital water resources now takes us to South Korea. The manufacturer of mechanical watches with the red rotors have decided to partner with Seoul KFEM, South Korea’s largest environmental organization.
Being part of the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, One of Seoul KFEM’s projects is to clean up and protect the Hangang River, which runs through South Korea’s capital city. The river is a vital source of water for the 10 million people who live there, but years of neglect have dramatically reduced the quality of the water. Given the importance of this waterway, ORIS will be supporting a series of clean-up days Seoul KFEM has scheduled for later this year. During these, hundreds of local volunteers will work along the river to pick up litter, plastic and other harmful pollutants. The events will also help raise awareness of the importance of clean water in Seoul. To support the organization’s wider mission to protect the river, Oris is also introducing the Oris Hangang Limited Edition. Sales of the 2,000-piece limited edition watch will help fund the Hangang clean-up project.
The Hangang LE is based on Oris’s high-performance Aquis diver’s watch and Oris’s new limited-edition diver’s watch supports a Seoul-based project to clean up South Korea’s mighty Hangang River shares the same function and performance profile. It has a 43.50 mm stainless steel case with a unidirectional rotating bezel for safely recording dive times. The deep green color of both the ceramic bezel insert and the dial are inspired by creek waters found at the Hangang’s source. The Oris Hangang Limited Edition is water-resistant to 30 bar (300 meters) and is powered by an automatic movement that provides the watch with a small-seconds and a circular date window. The case back is decorated with an engraving of a map of the Hangang’s path across Korea, and the limited-edition number.
To help spread awareness of the current state of the Hangang River, Yun Hwan Cho from Seoul KFEM shares his vision behind this project.
What is Seoul KFEM’s vision?
YHC: Our vision is that Seoul will be transformed into a sustainable city. To that end, we have five core initiatives. The first is focused on the Hangang River. We’re demanding an end to irresponsible development along the river and that a vital waterway is reopened by demolishing a dam blocking it. The second is to save local forests and to encourage biodiversity. Third is to eliminate plastic waste. Fourth is to reverse climate change through the use of safe, clean energy. And the fifth is to clean up our air by reducing traffic pollution.
Why is the Hangang River so important?
YHC: Most people think the river only runs through the capital, but it’s the second longest river in Korea and carries more water than any other river in the country. It’s also a natural treasure trove and home to many plants and animals.
Where does the pollution come from?
In the 1980s, underwater dams were built under the Gimpo and Jamsil Bridges, blocking part of the river. The water flow rate decreased significantly, leading to the buildup of green algae. We’re campaigning for these dams to be reopened.
What will the Oris partnership involve?
As well as the Limited-Edition watch, which will help raise funds in support of our activities, we’ll also be partnering on the clean-up days later this year. We’re expecting hundreds of volunteers to join us as we gather rubbish from the river. The aim is also to raise awareness of the problem. Most Seoul citizens have no idea how bad rubbish pollution is. After the collection, recycling experts will talk about how to dispose of this waste responsibly. We’ll also be producing environmental-themed campaigns around the partnership. So, it’s an important and very exciting moment for Seoul’s future!