Luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin combines blockchain with QR codes to counter fraud

Smartphone with image of watch on screen
TIMELY ACTION: Blockchain technology is being used to guarantee watch authenticity

Swiss luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is to use blockchain technology and QR codes to create forgery-proof digital certificates of authenticity for its watches which can be easily transferred to new owners.

It is piloting the technology with vintage watches in its Les Collectionneurs range, which will be sold with a traditional paper certificate of authenticity as well as a digital one.

The use of blockchain allows a unique number to be assigned to a unique object and enables Vacheron Constantin to include extra details on the digital certificate such as a watch’s history and information about the collection.

Each of the vintage watches in the range has been tracked down and purchased from collectors and auctions after the company sought to take better control of its products on the secondary market.

The timepieces have been restored to perfect working order and will be sold at special events in the watchmaker’s stores.

When one of these watches changes ownership, its unique digital certificate will be transmitted via an app. This automatically generates a QR code which the new owner scans with their phone.

Once the transfer is complete, the company will be informed of the change of ownership, although the owner remains anonymous.

Vacheron Constantin, which is part of the Richemont Group of luxury brands, said the pilot opened up opportunities for further service and warranty improvements.

“The ultra-secure digital certification places the customer at the heart of the process by offering a guarantee of quality control, authenticity, traceability and data protection, while ensuring his anonymity,” the company explained.

The pilot may be extended to other brands in the Richemont Group, such as Jaeger-LeCoultre or Panerai, and possibly to new watches, according to reports.