When luxury timepieces meet blockchain technology
By: Stephenie Gee
June 22, 2022
Fancy pixelated renditions of physical timepieces may seem lacklustre, but high-end watchmakers are proving otherwise with their exclusive collections and innovative blockchain technology. See here the brands that have entered the metaverse race
The first luxury watch brand to extend blockchain technology across all its collections, Swiss watchmaker Breitling is taking a different approach to the metaverse. Rather than creating digital duplicates of real-world timepieces, Breitling is instead offering a blockchain-based passport, secured by Arianee technology, to ensure authenticity and seamless accessibility.
This innovative new feature means that owners no longer need to present a physical certificate to prove the authenticity of their watches, but instead can do so by accessing Breitling’s new digital sphere with just one scan and click. Beyond ensuring authenticity, it allows owners to transfer ownership, track watch repairs and, soon, extend the warranty period and subscribe to a theft or loss insurance.
Inspired by the Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami watches – the A ll Black and Sapphire Rainbow – the Swiss watchmaker and legendary Japanese artist have come together to present two NFTs. Just as exclusive as the real-life collaboration, limited to 216 and 108 pieces respectively, the NFT digital timepieces feature a pixelated smiling Murakami flower – one of his iconic motifs – in a black and rainbow version.
Following their presentation at Watches & Wonders 2022, the two NFTs will be supported by an arty promotional campaign in which posters will be put up secretively around London and New York along with light projections on iconic buildings.
Collaborated with renowned architect Hani Rashid, IWC Schaffhausen has also taken its first steps into the metaverse with the IWC Diamond Hand Club, a tokenised community where members can unlock unique and exclusive experiences as they venture between the physical and virtual worlds.
Paying homage to the term “Diamond Hands,” which refers to someone who has high-risk tolerance for stocks or assets that they own, IWC hopes to inspire this same quality of commitment and fidelity within its exclusive community.
Jacob & Co
With not one, but two ventures into the metaverse is Jacob & Co. In 2021, it became the first luxury watch brand to release an NFT timepiece – the SF24 Tourbillon – which was sold for US$100,000.
Its latest collection, personally designed by founder Jacob Arabo, bridges the physical and metaphysical with both physical and digital pieces. Named Astronomia Metaverso, the collection of eight one-of-a-kind watches builds upon the Astronomia line, inspired by and named after the planets of the solar system.
Aimed at “Allowing watch enthusiasts to access an entirely new way of experiencing Haute Horlogerie,” Louis Moinet’s first limited-edition NFT collection of 1,000 timepieces is inspired by the iconic Space Revolution 2021 Edition Super Watch.
Sold out in just seven minutes, each NFT timepiece – designed in collaboration with 3D digital creator Tafi – features spectacular 3D artwork and maintains full working functionality, transcending the essence of a physical timepiece into the virtual world.
Luxury watchmaker Panerai has also jumped on the metaverse bandwagon with its Radiomir Eilean Experience Edition. Limited to only 50 pieces, the watch takes its name from the 1936 sailing yacht Eilean designed by William Fife and features bronze accents salvaged from its wreckage.
For the first time, created alongside the timepieces is a collection of 50 NFT artworks that unlock exclusive content such as services and events. Each one-of-a-kind NFT is also uniquely time-stamped, “to reflect the specificities and uniqueness of each buyer’s experience and become a perfectly unique NFT blending art and experience.”