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Security card provides protection against fakes ft

  1. 1. 06/02/13 Security card provides protection against fakes - FT.comJanuary 21, 2013 2:29 pmSecurity card providesprotection against fakesBy Simon de BurtonGeneva-based WISekey is best known for providing apparently impenetrable, ultra high-tech information security and identification management systems to protect data in a diverserange of sectors including health, education and defence. Now, the company is beginning tomake its mark in the luxury goods world through the use of a system designed to preventthe sale of counterfeit and “grey market” wristwatches.Fledgling brand, HYT (the Hydro-Mechanical Horologists) is the latest to adopt theWISeAuthentic system, which will be supplied with each of its revolutionary, liquid-displaywatches.WISeAuthentic takes the form of a digital reader and a warranty card containing a uniqueand non-forgeable digital certificate. The card enables a prospective purchaser or retailer tocarry out a cast-iron, high level security check, either online or by using the device inconjunction with the Near Field Communication (NFC) system on a Smart phone.But, as well as proving that a watch is genuine, WISeAuthentic also contains full details of itssale, ownership and service history.Ion Schiau, HYT’s vice-president of sales and marketing, admits that the likelihood of one ofthe brand’s award winning, €40,000 watches being faked is slim (the company uses abellows system to pump brightly-coloured liquid around the edge of the dial to indicate thehour), but says WISeAuthentic has additional uses.“HYT’s horology is hybrid and high tech, so to be able to deliver our first watches inDecember along with another, totally 21st-century system seemed appropriate,” says MrSchiau.“Although WISeAuthentic was primarily developed as a tool against fake watches, it is farmore wide-ranging than that – as well as containing information about warranty andservicing, it should also prevent any parallel trading as the details of anyone who retails thewatch will be stored. Our system will provide access to a private club and tailor madeconcierge, rental car and hotel booking services,” says Mr Schiau, who first introduced theidea to the watch world back in 2009 while working for Hublot.At first, the famously conservative watch trade was reluctant to accept the idea. But the so-called Hublotista system is supplied with every Hublot watch sold around the world and 1/2
  2. 2. 06/02/13 Security card provides protection against fakes - FT.comalso linked to a private, online owners’ club offering protected discussions, exclusiveinformation, invitations, information exchanges and privileged access to some of the brand’sactivities.Hublotista’s function as an anti-counterfeiting system is also of considerable benefit, as thestellar success of the brand’s Big Bang models has made them popular watches to fake.Printed from: a single copy of this article for personal use. Contact us if you wish to print more to distribute to others.© THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD 2013 FT and ‘Financial Times’ are trademarks of The Financial Times 2/2