Hublot is saving the world (not really)

Is there such a thing as watch journalism? That's a rhetorical question. We know that there isn't. Watch journalism is merely repeating press releases as though they are fact (@celinesimon is the exception that proves the rule).

This time of year many of us consider the state of our charitable giving. My family has been giving to various funds to help maintain elephant populations in Africa for the past few years. Keeping several windows of charitable organizations on my computer at the same time, along with watch content, I began to wonder if watch companies gave to this sort of charity.

Hublot announced that they were partnering with SORAI (Saving Our Rhinos in Africa and India) and would give a portion of the sale of a limited edition (100 pieces) Big Bang to SORAI.

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This is a $24,000 skeletonized field watch in the Hublot style. It is a dainty 45mm.

Certainly, I thought that I could find out how much Hublot was actually giving to SORAI for rhino preservation efforts. There have been others who have been skeptical (@OscarKlosoff 's old stomping ground). Hublot hasn't said.

But, I have the internet, so surely I could get some information, right? I started at SORAI. SORAI is an Australian foundation founded by retired South African cricketeer Kevin Pietersen. Pietersen owns a luxury lodge in the Kruger National Park. Nothing wrong with that, wealthy folks make good conservationists, something about being able to afford it.

The problem is that SORAI doesn't claim to be a charity ("we are not a charity"). SORAI "raises awareness" and donates to Care For Wild. Care For Wild is a sanctuary for orphan rhinoceros, the largest in the world.

Care For Wild appears to be doing real conservation with rhinos. They list all of their donors and partners. Conspicuously absent is SORAI, and by extension, Hublot.

I can't say that the proceeds from buying this Hublot didn't benefit endangered rhinos in some way. However, it looks like Hublot gives some unenumerated something to a non-charity who may or may not pass it on to where it will do the most good. That is an inefficient means of giving. Hublot only lists two charitable programs on its website. Maybe someone should ask them about this one.

Rhino watch

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Looks like a plastic Moonswatch to me. 

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I've often thought about becoming one of the richest men in the world, and then buying up all the elephants in the world.  If anybody were to attempt to poach one of my elephants, I would treat them the same way that I would treat anyone trying to poach one of my miniature schnauzer puppies.

Knockout Ufc GIFs | Tenor
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LVMH owns Hublot and LVMH is a public company. 

So, we could ask for more financial disclosure about Hublot's statement: "This commitment takes the form of the Big Bang Unico SORAI, from which a large portion of the funds raised from sales will be directly paid to Care for Wild for the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned baby rhinoceroses. In buying the timepiece, 100 people will thus become involved in this initiative undertaken by Hublot." 

Between my snooping abilities and your lawyer-ing skills, we could get to the bottom of it. 😀

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I was just thinking the other day that perhaps we are too harsh on Hublot, but evidently not. Their actions don't appear to be routed in actually 'caring'.

I noticed that Norqain have a similar project:

https://www.norqain.com/watches/wild-one-42mm-hakuna-mipaka-limited-edition/?v=79cba1185463

They actually state that 10% of proceeds go to a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa and have wider wildlife goals such as phasing out leather use. I haven't thoroughly fact checked it all so maybe this is all lies too. 

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Deeperblue

I was just thinking the other day that perhaps we are too harsh on Hublot, but evidently not. Their actions don't appear to be routed in actually 'caring'.

I noticed that Norqain have a similar project:

https://www.norqain.com/watches/wild-one-42mm-hakuna-mipaka-limited-edition/?v=79cba1185463

They actually state that 10% of proceeds go to a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa and have wider wildlife goals such as phasing out leather use. I haven't thoroughly fact checked it all so maybe this is all lies too. 

Uh, what happened to your username?! What did I miss? 😆 

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celinesimon

Uh, what happened to your username?! What did I miss? 😆 

It was a suggestion that I'm trying out for a while 😆

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I really like the look of that watch. Drats! How much you say?

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In my opinions it doesn't matter much what percentage of the watch sale goes to SORAI, if any. If the future Hublot owner wants to make sure how much of their money goes to the foundation, they could always just donate. Cut out the middle watch 😉

I think the awareness is what's beneficial with these partnerships. Wealthy people buy expensive watches and could have enough left over to donate for the cause of their liking. If the caseback inspires them to google SORAI it may have worked.

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I've always distanced myself from all these pseudo-charity "save-the-whatever" campaigns that ends up being promotions for selling limited edition watches.

I donate when I care about an issue and it's something that can be solved with money. Anyone can do it and so can corporations and companies and that will also save us from the sanctimonious PR.

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celinesimon

LVMH owns Hublot and LVMH is a public company. 

So, we could ask for more financial disclosure about Hublot's statement: "This commitment takes the form of the Big Bang Unico SORAI, from which a large portion of the funds raised from sales will be directly paid to Care for Wild for the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned baby rhinoceroses. In buying the timepiece, 100 people will thus become involved in this initiative undertaken by Hublot." 

Between my snooping abilities and your lawyer-ing skills, we could get to the bottom of it. 😀

What's your knowledge of Australian reporting requirements? I think that an English/South African cricketeer did not accidentally set up his organization in Australia. There is always a legal reason, usually involving taxation or public reporting for using the laws of a particular country (like Delaware or South Dakota in the U.S.).

When I fell down that rabbit hole I fully expected that SORAI would be a "good guy". But, the closer that I look at it, the more SORAI doesn't appear to be much at all, just a conduit for funds. It has a glossy website filled with the usual eco-apocalyptic talk, but it doesn't seem to do anything.

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Robert Farago always questioned these charitable collaborations, and in the few times any hint of the donated sum was found it tended to be considerably less than the sales tax one would pay for the item.

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robwei

In my opinions it doesn't matter much what percentage of the watch sale goes to SORAI, if any. If the future Hublot owner wants to make sure how much of their money goes to the foundation, they could always just donate. Cut out the middle watch 😉

I think the awareness is what's beneficial with these partnerships. Wealthy people buy expensive watches and could have enough left over to donate for the cause of their liking. If the caseback inspires them to google SORAI it may have worked.

"Raising awareness" is usually the first clue that your money is going to activities to raise further funds. If you want your charitable giving to reach the issue that you are trying to help avoid "raising awareness" charities. Research into the organization that has all sports teams go pink in October is depressing. The executives dine out on all of the awareness and a vanishingly small amount of money assists cancer victims.

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Deeperblue

It was a suggestion that I'm trying out for a while 😆

Whew, I thought this confusion was limited to me. I kept reading “Eris” thinking ‘Uhh, who?!’

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This honestly sounded like another “buy your carbon offsets from us and we’ll use it to pay some rich douche to upkeep his hunting ranch” scheme and I was starting to boil. 

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I guess it‘s still kind of the same thing but a little less opaque thanks to the True Detective Watch Agency of @Aurelian amd @celinesimon   

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valleykilmers

This honestly sounded like another “buy your carbon offsets from us and we’ll use it to pay some rich douche to upkeep his hunting ranch” scheme and I was starting to boil. 

Image

I guess it‘s still kind of the same thing but a little less opaque thanks to the True Detective Watch Agency of @Aurelian amd @celinesimon   

Our own Woodward and Bernstein couple