Rolex constantly reinvests its earnings back into the company, research and design, and to our future. Every two years, Rolex names five Young Laureates who possess the “…talent for independent thinking and the capacity to embrace projects that require creativity and determination in the face of considerable odds.” The Rolex Laureate Awards program supports work in applied technology, cultural heritage, the environment, exploration and discovery, science and health. Projects are scored on originality, impact potential, feasibility, and most importantly, the candidate’s own spirit of enterprise.  Rolex has two Laureates programs, an open category and a category for applicants under aged 30 with award recipients being named every two years.

The 2014 crop of Young Laureates are aged 30 or under and were chosen by an international jury of eight experts who reviewed 1,800 applications submitted from around the globe. Each Laureate receives 50,000 Swiss francs to further their project, and access to Rolex’s network of over 100 past Laureates, and publicity from Rolex’s marketing and media coverage.

Here’s this year’s Rolex Laureates and a little about them:


Neeti Kailas: Science & Health; India, Born 1985
Neeti Kailas is a designer who wants to make a difference, improving life opportunities for hearing-impaired children by detecting infant hearing loss early. Kailas’ design passion is further leveraged by her desire to transform health care in India. Kailas has used her skills to create a non-invasive portable device that screens newborn babies for hearing impairment.


Olivier Nsengimana: Environment.; Rwanda, Born 1984
Rwanda’s recent turbulent political history of Rwanda has not allowed for wildlife conservation to be a priority, but field veterinarian Olivier Nsengimana is determined to bring environmental awareness with his project to save the endangered grey crowned-crane.


Francesco Sauro: Exploration; Italy, Born 1984
Since 2009, Francesco Sauro has led five expeditions to South America’s table-top mountains, along with the Italian exploration association La Venta, and with the support of the Venezuelan team Theraphosa. Sauro made several discoveries including one of the world’s longest quartzite caves in Venezuela’s Auyan tepui. With support from Rolex and others, Sauro plans more expeditions to study the “lost world” that exists in these 1,000,000+ years old caves.


Arthur Zang: Applied Technology; Cameroon, Born 1987
Heart disease is rising in many low- and middle-income countries including Cameroon because of increasingly wealthier lifestyles and greater human longevity. According to Cameroon’s Society of Cardiologists, 30 percent of the country’s 22 million people have high blood pressure, one of the key contributing causes to heart disease. Cameroon has fewer than 50 heart specialists most of whom are in the populated cities of Douala and Yaoundé, leaving rural areas with no ready access to cardiac care. Zang has invented what is believed to be Africa’s first medical tablet that will allow health-care workers in rural areas to send the cardiac test results to heart specialists via a mobile-phone connection.


Hosam Zawawi: Science & Health; Saudi Arabia, Born 1984
29-year-old microbiologist Hosam Zowawi laboratory time makes him aware of a nightmarish possibility of modern drugs failing to work.  Zowawi is a clinical microbiologist who focuses his attention to antibiotic resistant bacterial diseases, the so-called “superbugs”.  Zawawi has developed a fast diagnostic tool called “Rapid Superbug” that identifies the type of infection more quickly, facilitating appropriate treatment in the early stages of the infection.


The Rolex Awards for Enterprise was launched in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster chronometer. Each one these 2014 Rolex Laureates’ individual story and the background of their project, as well as the stories of past recipients is posted at Each project is truly inspirational and there is no question why Rolex supports their creativity and ingenuity.  For Rolex owners, there certainly pride in wearing a timepiece from a company that invests in our future.

– Sheldon Smith