The Global Explorer has been designed and inspired by three great expeditions in the last century. Each dial is imprinted by the date and the coordinates of one expedition. The full story behind each expedition would be far to long to include here, but we summed up a short overview of each dial and journey below:
The Polar Explorer
In 1910 two teams of explorers started the perilous journey to reach the geographic south pole. One was led by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the other was headed by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, a British Royal Navy officer and explorer.
Amundsen originally planned to explore the North pole, but changed his plan in secret, after two teams already claimed to have reached the pole in 1909. With claims that even his own crew didn't know that they were sailing to the South pole instead, Scott was informed by telegram of Amundsen's intention and it became clear that the two were now in a race to reach the pole.
After sailing over New Zealand to the pack-ice of the south pole, Scott continued the expedition on land, building camps and preparing for the spring to march on wards. In September (keeping in mind the reversed season in the southern hemisphere) he began the journey to the pole. Fighting through blizzards and overcoming glaciers, he reached his destination on the 17th of January. Only to find Amundsen's flag and tent with a letter to the King of Norway (politely asking Scott to deliver it). Amundsen had arrived on the 14th December 1911 - beating Scott by 33 days and claiming the honour of being the first explorer to the South Pole.
Beaten in the race, Scott started the journey back to the coast line. However, the expedition was severely slowed down by adverse weather conditions and could not met up with supply teams. His final diary entry was dated 29 March 1912, stating that they are just a few miles away from a depot, but can't progress any further.
While Scott reached his goal and travelled through the ice and snow to the south pole, the journey proved to be unpredictable and dangerous. He remains one of the most well-known arctic explorers and we therefore chose the year when he reached the pole, instead of the original discovery in 1911.
The Desert Explorer
109 years ago in 1914, a British Archaeologist received the concession to start excavations in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt.
This famous resting place of pharaohs had been the focus of many searches of tombs in the past, however, Howard Carter was not discouraged by this and started a systematic search for missed sites. In particular, he was searching for the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun of ancient Egypt.
His excavations were backed and financed by George Hebert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist. While the excavations were interrupted during the First World War, Carter resumed his work in 1917. Until 1922 very few findings could be reported, and support for his work was starting to dwindle. Carter managed to convince the Lord of Carnarvon to fund one last season in Egypt and in November 1922 he could finally report a major discovery. Lord Carnarvon and his daughter quickly travelled to Egypt and attended Carter when he removed the seals on what turned out to be the searched after tomb of Tutankhamun.
While peeking through a small hole Carter was asked if he could see something – he replied famously “Yes, wonderful things!”. Indeed, the tomb would turn out to be an almost fully intact burial chamber, containing more than 5,000 items and being one of the most important discoveries of modern history.
The Desert Explorer carries the date of the opening of the tomb (1922) as well as the coordinates of tomb on its dial.
The Jungle Explorer
The Amazon jungle is a gigantic tropical rainforest covering more than 7,000,000 km2 stretching across nine nations on the South American continent. From 55 million years ago to today, the forest has been home to indigenous tribes and settlements. However, for the longest time the population of the Amazon was believed to be sparse, restricted by the limited availability of agriculture and reliance on hunting instead.
Percy Harrison Fawcett was a British geographer, officer, archaeologist, and explorer who took his first commission in the Amazon jungle in 1906 to map the border between Brazil and Bolivia. Following this first trip, he returned multiple times, cultivating a relationship with locals and chart hundreds of miles of the unexplored jungle. Around 1914 he found the first indications of a larger civilisation in the Amazon jungle, than initially thought possible. Based on records from Portuguese explorers and his own work, he described a lost city hidden inside the jungle. He named this city “Z” and expected it to house a complex civilisation, lost over time.
Disrupted by the First World War, he returned to South America twice with his final expedition starting in 1924. He travelled with his son Jack and Jack’s best friend Raleigh Rimell to start his search for the lost city hidden beneath the leaves. In the first part of their journey, the group was accompanied by local workers. However, in 1925 Percy sent a letter to his wife stating that they would now progress into uncharted territory and that they would go alone. This was the last heard of the expedition and they would be declared dead a few years later.
The location of his last letter was given as Dead Horse Camp, known from his previous expeditions. It is not quite clear today, if that was his actual location or if he used it to deter any followers from his path. All we know is that the letter was the last trace of the men, which were lost in the jungle. His story caught significant interest globally at that time and and also more recently, being turned into a book and blockbuster movie.
How to read your coordinates
If you are familiar with geographic coordinates, you might be surprised about the format of our coordinates.
Usually, a location is expressed in "Decimal Degrees" (DD, e.g. 25.7404, 32.6014 with a minus added for south or west) or in "Degrees, Minutes and Seconds" (DMS, e.g., 25°44'25.4"N 32°36'05.0"E).
We wanted to use precise coordinates, without disturbing the design of our dial and combined the two, using a DD format with additional N/S/W/E added to the end of the coordinate instead of a minus.
If you want to use google maps or another system to look up the location imprinted on your dial, just type in the coordinates without the letter at the end and add a minus sign (-) in front of the number for South (S) and West (W) coordinates.