On March 31, 2021, history was made when Jean-Claude Biver and WISeKey, a Swiss cybersecurity company, launched the first NFT auction of a luxury watch – the Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillon Chrono “Special piece.” The auction is taking place on the Open.Sea NFT MarketPlace – which is already a leader in the sale of artworks. The auction will close on April 5, 2021, at 9:30pm IST.
This is the second time the two stalwarts of their respective industries have joined hands to break new technological ground in the luxury watch market. Twelve years ago, at BaselWorld, Biver and Carlos Moreira – the Founder, Chairman and CEO of WISeKey – launched the first digital certification of a luxury watch.
This time they are spearheading the use of Digital identification combined with Non-Fungible Token (NFT). Biver’s Hublot “Special piece” watch – which exists in the physical world with a unique physical identification – now has for the first time a twin digital certificate of authenticity that is also secured by a corresponding NFT.
Following the announcement, Moreira said: “I am delighted to join JC Biver again in demonstrating how latest technologies can disrupt an entire industry such as the luxury watch industry. WISeKey is launching this first-ever luxury watch NFT auction to demonstrate its technology and encourage luxury watch brands to start using it to auction their high-end watches through ‘WIS.Watch’ NFTs.
“We launched two weeks ago a WISe.Art, a digital certificate of authenticity, an NFT for art pieces that will live forever on the blockchain, unchanged and unchallengeable, as proof of the buyer’s ownership. This announcement generated strong interest from the luxury and art community.”
WISeKey is the first company in the world to use dual-factor authentication combined with blockchain technology to secure luxury watches. A technology that currently protects over 2.5 million luxury watches. Since 2010, WISeKey has collaborated with luxury watches manufacturers to employ this breakthrough technology that integrates semiconductors tags powered with its VaultIC154 NFC secure element.
These tags, when placed on any product and tapped by an NFC phone, securely authenticate and track the product much like an embedded ePassport and confirm the identity of the product on the blockchain ledger. This technology has received a US patent.
For the first NFT backed sale of a luxury watch, Jean-Claude Biver chose a watch that is not only his favourite but one that possesses deep symbolism. When Biver attaches a sentimental value to a watch, it carries a lot of weight, for he is the very embodiment of passion and the spirit of daring entrepreneurship in the world of haute horlogerie.
His contribution to the industry is incalculable – the early years at Audemars Piguet, relaunch of Blancpain, collaboration with Nicolas Hayek of Swatch Group, rejuvenation of Omega, genesis of Hublot, presidency of the watchmaking division of the French group LVMH, refreshing TAG Heuer and Zenith, and the creation of the first Swiss luxury connected watch with Google and Intel, to name a few.
Biver’s favourite timepiece, the Hublot Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillon Chrono “Special Piece,” is a true icon that introduced a new aesthetic then, and has become the standard since. It symbolically represents the starting point of a whole new generation of contemporary watchmaking – imagined and successfully initiated by Jean-Claude Biver.
At the time, its ‘All Black’ colour was never-seen-before on a luxury watch. Its open dial revealed the movement’s beautiful mechanics – another defence against counterfeiting at the time – and its tourbillon in an ultra-contemporary design.
Jean-Claude Biver said: “This watch has brought me so much success and happiness. It is one of the most important watches in my private collection. It has not only inspired me professionally, but has also brought me so much personally.”