The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation was established in 1999 by Daimler AG, the premiere German automotive manufacturer, and Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, the Swiss luxury goods holding company, as founding patrons. It is now supported by its global partners, Mercedes Benz and IWC Schaffhausen. IWC’s involvement with Laureus began in 2005 and, now that a decade has fully elapsed, it is fitting to review what both Laureus and IWC have accomplished.
Laureus has the commendable goal of addressing social challenges through sports-related community development initiatives. To increase its recognition and worthy goals, it holds an annual awards ceremony honoring individuals and teams from the world of sports. The winners, selected from entries nominated by a panel of writers and broadcasters, are voted on by Academy members, to pay tribute to the greatest sporting achievements during the preceding year.
There are 60 Laureus Academy members, who serve as ambassadors and include many of the greatest names in the history of modern sports. They include Edwin Moses, Jack Nicklaus, Katarina Witt, Li Xiaopeng and many other stellar athletes who willingly donate their time to Laureus programs. Academy Members share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bringing people together and improving the lives of young people throughout the world.
In addition, awards were also given to the World Action Sportsperson of the Year and the World Action Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. All award recipients were given a statuette exclusively designed by Cartier, commemorating their performance.
Proceeds from the award ceremony and other contributions are used to benefit the notable work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The Foundation supports more than 150 community projects in 35 countries throughout the world. Laureus has raised over 100 million Euros since 2000, enriching the lives of over 1.5 million youths.
In 2016, Laureus issued these awards:
Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
Sportswoman of the Year: Serena Williams
Team of the Year: New Zealand National Rugby Team
Comeback of the Year: Dan Carter
Breakthrough of the Year: Jordan Spieth
IWC proudly supports the Laureus programs in various ways, of which the most well-known is producing an annual limited edition watch. This year, 2016, marks the tenth edition celebrating an IWC Laureus watch.
The dial of each watch is produced in a distinctive “Laureus” blue color, although the colors slightly vary from each edition. The blue color is intended as a symbol of hope. In addition, the case back is engraved with a drawing that is selected among competition entries in which young people from local Laureus projects participate. This engraving serves as a reminder that a portion of the proceeds from sales goes to help support Laureus Sport for Good Foundation projects around the world which help so many young people.
In addition, IWC supports local Laureus initiatives and participates in various fundraising events and charity dinners. IWC also has published a lavishly illustrated book entitled “Let the Children Play.” Well-known authors and photographers have documented ten projects among the many that are supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Given that IWC now has produced ten watches between 2006 and 2016, a summary of these models, and the countries of the competition winners for the case back drawing is as follows:
2006 Portuguese Chrono-Automatic
2007 Pilot’s Watch Chrono-Automatic
2008 Da Vinci Chronograph
2009/10 Portuguese Automatic
2011 Ingenieur Automatic Vintage Collection
2012 Portofino Chronograph
2013 Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph
2014 Portuguese Chronograph Classic
2015 Ingenieur Automatic
2016 Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37
Laureus has raised over 100 million euros since 2000, enriching the lives of over 1.5 million youths
The number of watches produced in each edition has varied, depending on the model. In addition, the children whose drawings have won the annual competitions represent different countries. These countries are Cyprus (2016), Uganda (2015), Russia (2014, Sri Lanka (2013), Sri Lanka (2012), India (2011), Sri Lanka (2010), India (2008), Uruguay (2007), and Kenya (2006). With one exception, the themes of past drawings have involved the ubiquitous word “time”. There is “Time to Play,” “Time to Move,” “Time to Inspire,” “Time for Unity,” “Time for Sport,” “Time for Joy,” and “Time for Inspiration.” The one exception was the theme of “Team Spirit”, which itself is a timeless concept.
Collectors often debate which Laureus models they should own. One well-known IWC collector, Dr. Andrew Thomas, has solved this conundrum by having all ten now and he must hope to own dozens more in the future. He loves these watches not only for their intrinsic beauty but also for the boundless spirit of competition and excellence that they represent. The message through the unique image on the case back serves as a constant reminder of the power of sport, and Andrew appreciates Laureus great support of youth sports activities throughout the world. As he says “I fully believe in the vision and work of the Foundation”.
As well he should, for each watch tells a story. Every year’s edition is equally compelling, but the 2016 Laureus Portofino represents what sports can accomplish for both the individual and society. This year, the jury chose for the case back engraving a drawing by 16-year-old Eleni Partakki from divided Cyprus. Her drawing on the theme “Time for Sport” shows girls and boys playing with a ball. Eleni Partakki is a participant of Peace Players International Cyprus (PPI), a project that actively encourages Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot children living in divided Cyprus to play basketball together. This is truly a strong and important statement, beautifully executed, about unity for which watch collectors and sportsmen worldwide can own and believe in.
Here, as in the preceding ten years, a fine and beautiful watch and Laureus’ noble guiding principles come together. A great cause and great watches complement each other perfectly.
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