Some people will cross the globe to get their hands on a Zenith El Primero. Swedish explorer Johan Ernst Nilson, seen here on the right with Zenith CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour, is doing just that by travelling from Pole to Pole without the use of any motorised vehicles.
It was precisely one hundred years ago, in 1911, that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole. Fifteen years later, in 1926, he conducted the first confirmed exploration of the North Pole. A century later there remains one feat that no one has yet accomplished: travelling the globe from one pole to the other. That is unless of course you discount Michael Palin’s 1992 BBC TV programme Pole to Pole, but one has to assume that Michael had an entire film crew to assist him. Johan is going to do it by all himself and without the use of any motorised vehicles.
Johan Ernst Nilson will undertake this epic journey in just a few weeks time and watch Manufacture Zenith has entered into a partnership agreement with the explorer. Like Roald Amundsen before him, Johan will wear a Zenith chronograph throughout his trip.
The ultimate epic journey: the Pole2Pole project
The schedule the Swedish explorer has set for himself is tough. Starting at the North Pole on March 30, Johan will walk 200 kilometres over the Arctic sea ice to the Svalbard Archipelago to the east of Greenland. From there, he will travel and sail through the Arctic Ocean to Canada and then bicycle south first through North and then South America, passing through the Amazon jungle along the way and arriving finally in Patagonia. From there he will set sail again to Antarctica where the last leg of his trip will begin—a two-month journey on skis and by parafoil to the South Pole. The entire journey should take about one year to complete—one year to travel through every degree of latitude on earth, starting at the northernmost point on the globe and finishing at the exact opposite southernmost point.
So how will Johan maintain precise time keeping as he sticks to this gruelling schedule, even in climes above the polar circles where the typical reference points used to mark the passage of time can no longer be relied upon? No prizes for guessing it’s going to be with his special edition Zenith El Primero Stratos.
Zenith has built its reputation on precision, accuracy and stability even in extreme conditions and the partnership between Zenith and Johan Ernst Nilson will present Zenith with an opportunity to further refine their expertise in extreme technology.
The El Primero Stratos is designed to withstand the harshest of conditions and needless to say, only 500 of these individually numbered Stratos Pole2Pole limited-edition chronographs will be produced.
The watch is in good hands. Johan Ernst Nilson has successfully conducted 28 expeditions that have taken him to over 100 different countries around the world. Among other expeditions, in 1995, he crossed Alaska on foot—this is when he came to realise the full extent of the problems caused by climate change; in 1998, he participated in scientific research in Antarctica, and in 1999, he led a dog-sled expedition in the Arctic, before exploring the North West Passage.
The only problem with hailing the Pole2Pole journey as the ‘last great adventure’ is what happens when Zenith want to sponsor another great adventure?
Launch party pictures courtesy of Blommen of the zenith.watchprosite.com forum