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Hublot uses smartcard technology for authenticity assuranceBy Kayla Hutzler
Swiss watchmaker Hublot is actively fighting the battle against counterfeits by using Wisekey technology to protect products.
The brand is using Wisekey smartcards to provide authenticity assurance to owners who can then use their card to log on to a private Web site where they can read the background and specific details about the watch. The smartcard provides access to a community among Hublot customers who can contact each other through the private Web site.
“Today, with all the fakes, it is security that counts,” said Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Hublot, Nyon, Switzerland. “The cardholder will also be able to have the entire history of the watch on his card.
“In 20, 50 or even 100 years, this information can be quite interesting,” he said. “Last but not least, the cardholder will enter in direct contact with Hublot and will have privileged and exclusive offers and opportunities.”
In the cards
All new Hublot models will come with a WiseAuthentic card and reader. The smartcard has a chip embedded in it that holds the encrypted identification code of the watch.
By using the card reader and to read the provided smartcard, Hublot owners will be able to sign on to a private branded Web site at http://vip.hublot.com.
Here, the customer can follow his watch from the date the product was made. Available details on the Web site include where and when the watch was made, who made it and how and where the piece was serviced.
The Wisekey technology is in Hublot products that will be sold more than 400 Hublot boutiques worldwide.
In addition to information on the authenticity and make of a customer’s particular watch, the Web site will also provide exclusive Hublot content and a watch-owners community.
Once signed in, a customer can meet and talk to other registered Hublot owners.
“Through Wisekey technology, we are able to give to the buyer of Hublot watches the passport of the watch,” Mr. Biver said.
The Wisekey technology does more than fight fakes — it also provides Hublot with a solution that can monitor the entire life cycle of the product, as well as providing visibility to help take back control over grey markets.
All of the cards provide valuable details to the watchmaker, allowing it to see in which stores particular models are selling the fastest.
While providing real-time data and creating a community among owners, the biggest benefit of the technology is its effect on the counterfeit market.
Indeed, luxury brands have been battling the counterfeit war in courts and working to raise awareness of the issue in the last year.
For example, luxury conglomerate Compagnie Financiere Richemont is continuing the battle against counterfeit luxury products with a lawsuit against a Pakistani Web site that it claims is an unauthorized retailer (see story).
Additionally, Rebecca Minkoff, Botkier and Tory Burch teamed up with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and eBay to raise awareness through a “Can’t Fake Fashion” campaign and limited-edition sale (see story).
However, some experts believe that despite efforts to reign and stop counterfeit activity, the most successful brands will always be copied due to their popularity (see story).
“We are a very successful brand, and Big Bang is one of the most successful watches of today,” Mr. Biver said. “As a consequence, we have also an important number of fakes.
“One can see the difference, but more and more fakes are increasing their quality, which makes it even more important to have the insurance to have bought an original and a new watch,” he said.
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York
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