In part one of the series, we talk to Rolex Scholar Mae K L Dorricott about whether she’s simply a Rolex enthusiast, or if her watch is an important piece of equipment for her to properly function in her role.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into diving and what do you love about it?
I got into diving from a ripe young age of 12! I wish I could have started earlier, but that’s the youngest you could be to take your first diving qualification. So before I could dive, I was snorkelling. I’m extremely lucky to have a mother from Malaysia and when we visited her family, they would throw me into the sea with a mask and snorkel and let me explore. Scuba diving was the next step, so that I could spend as much time as possible underneath the water.
How long have you been into watches and what (or who) got you started?
To be totally honest, I’ve never been “into” watches. I like to think I have a hippy spirit, and having a time device on my wrist was like a constant reminder that I was late or running out of time! Then, when I became the 2017 European OWUSS Rolex Scholar, I was presented with a Rolex Submariner and I fell in love.
You always wear a Rolex when diving. Why?
Rolex has a strong connection with exploration and ocean conservation. They sponsor amazing underwater photographers, and one of my personal heroines, Sylvia Earle. Wearing a Rolex makes me feel a part of that. The Scholarship Society and Rolex believed in me as a young marine enthusiast who wants to give back to the marine environment. Wearing the watch reconfirms in my mind what I can achieve and the support I have from such renowned names.
If you could own just one watch for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
It would be my Submariner. You can dress it up or dress it down. It’s my diving buddy and travelling buddy. I love what it represents, always in perpetual motion, just like our planet.
Do you still use a dive watch as equipment or do you use a dive computer too?
Diving computers are so sophisticated nowadays, it would be silly not to dive with one. They can keep track of your dive second by second, depth by depth. If you have a computer, a dive watch isn’t a necessity but it is an added bonus. When I’m diving in a dry suit in a cold climate, I don’t really wear the watch as I wouldn’t be able to see it underneath my thick gloves! In an ideal world, I would love to just dive with my watch. Alas, times have changed.
Do you have any experiences or stories that involve your watch, and how it helped (or hindered) you while diving?
I remember once when I was diving in Fiji. I was about to jump into the water and descend to 20 metres, where I’d be surrounded by beautiful bull sharks, when the owner of the operation, Mike Neumann – who incidentally also wears a Submariner, but his is the 3000m model -, pulled me back. He took a look at my shiny Submariner on top of my wetsuit and suggested I wear it under my wetty. We’d be surrounded by maybe thirty big females looking for food, and he didn’t want them to mistake my watch for a fish’s shiny scales!