Proof of authenticity system threatens massive change for the counterfeit watch industry
March 26, 2009 Piracy is one the world's oldest trades and it has never been healthier - counterfeit goods represent approximately five to seven percent of all world trade. Luxury goods are perhaps the most common non-digital form of piracy we regularly encounter and the watch industry is the hardest hit - 40 million Swiss counterfeit watches enter the market each year compared to 26 million genuine watches. Now the swiss industry intends to use smartcard technology to fight back. The world's largest watch and jewellery trade fare, BASELWORLD, opened today with the announcement of a smartcard certification system that will help reduce counterfeiting in the luxury watch industry. For the first time, a watch company will use the SmartCard technology, which proves the identity and origin of the good. Consumers will be able to instantly check via the internet if their purchase is genuine. The system will be applicable for use with jewellery, beauty products, haute couture all the way through to high-tech automotive and aircraft engine parts.
The idea consists of creating an electronic guarantee certificate, which not only contains the watch identity code, but also enables privileged access to a reserved space on the Hublot web site. Both Hublot sales outlets and clients will be able to use the SmartCard to instantly check via the Internet if the watch is genuine. “There is a patent pending on this method,” explained Carlos Moreira, CEO of WiseKey. “It is based on digital identification protected by a cryptographic SmartCard associated with a Hublot watch. We supply a secured platform which the buyer can access via the watchmaker’s website, and within an area reserved for watch identification. If the information contained in the card is not valid, access to this area is simply denied.” “Hublot is the first company in the world of luxury and watchmaking to attain this level of protection for its products, by combining state-of-the-art electronic technology and traditional watchmaking know-how. I am proud to be the pioneer in this domain, as even though imitation is flattering, manufacture of counterfeit watches is an unacceptable plague for the whole of the watchmaking industry, and we must use every means possible to fight it”, added Jean-Claude Biver, Hublot CEO.
As a WISekey customer, all Hublot watches will be protected by WISeAuthentic©, a certification system of authenticity through a smartcard. By leveraging this technology, online shopping and auction Websites have the ability to provide its users a safe, secure transaction, by controlling counterfeited goods in its product range.
“Counterfeiting represents approximately five to seven percent of all world trade,” said Carlos Moreira, CEO of WISekey. “Therefore, with the luxury brand industries estimated to reach one trillion dollars (US) by 2010, these companies need a solution that will prove authenticity. We are pleased that Hublot saw the value in WISeAuthentic and look forward to helping them, and others, in the fight against counterfeiting.”
As a trusted and secure platform, WISeAuthentic will be used by the purchaser to access an encrypted area of Hublot’s Website where the watch can be definitively identified as part of Hublot’s inventory. Each smartcard that is given at the time of purchase, in addition to its Certificate of Origin, is unique to each watch and contains full details of the product including registration number, barcode, place where it was manufactured, among other details. If the encrypted information on the watch, does not match that of the WISeAuthentic smartcard, access will be denied.
“In the watch industry we are seeing a significant increase in counterfeit goods,” said Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Hublot. “It was imperative for us as a company to find a way to not only protect our watches but also those who were purchasing them. WISekey has a strong track record in security and authentication and when looking for a partner to help us in the fight against counterfeiting we knew WISekey was the right choice for us.”
Currently, Hublot is the first watch making company to reach this level of protection for its products by associating digital anti-counterfeiting technology with traditional watch making. This combination provides a fail-safe solution, impossible to replicate at a cost that is a small fraction of the amount lost in sales due to counterfeits.
“Every year, more than 40 million Swiss counterfeit watches enter the market compared to 26 million genuine watches,” said Jean-Daniel Pasche, President, Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. “This is a significant number that costs the Swiss watch industry, on a global basis, approximately 700 million to 800 million dollars (US). We are pleased to see companies are taking this issue seriously and creating solutions that will get us closer to stop counterfeiting.”
WISeAuthentic is also available for use with jewelry, beauty products, haute couture as well as exotic items including jet aircraft engines or high-tech automobile parts.