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How Blockchain technology could make it impossible to re-sell luxury items that have been stolen



Blockchain technology
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Blockchain technology has helped to revolutionise a multitude of processes and industries, changing the way we now work. Born out of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has very versatile traits that enable it to be seamlessly adapted and integrated into many antiquated ways of working. 

This includes banks and even insurance. However, now blockchain technology has the power to speedily bring archaic watch authentication into modern-day. Typically, today, watches are still authenticated by warranty cards and paper certificates, usually used by manufacturers. Although this process is still a valid way of working, blockchain technology could lend a helping hand, making it more streamlined and secure.

The secondary or pre-owned market is worth an astonishing amount, especially when considering the number of valuable goods and stock antique shops hold. For this reason, watch authentication has to be made much more secure, especially now that counterfeit goods are so sophisticated even the trained eye can’t tell the difference between a real and a clone. For this reason, trusting a piece of paper to prove that a watch is genuine poses a lot of questions. 

How blockchain technology can help

Blockchain technology may well just offer a solution. Using the blockchain distributed ledger system, it will help to ensure failsafe accountability and authentication. This solution is already in place and is being trialled in an array of other industries such as the art industry. Adopting it into the watch market will help to create an immutable and fixed record for any watch offering safeguarding of transitions and purchase of real watches and immediately devaluing counterfeit watches. 

A solid track record for watches would transform the entire nature of watch ownership. Using blockchain technology will give the luxury products a digital identity, something it has never had before, in doing so, it means it can always be traced back to the brand itself no matter how many hands it has changed over time. This is very different from the current SmartPhone Checker smartwatch market, in which every smartwatch ‘device’ comes with its own serial number, which can be traced back via a digital footprint.

Introducing blockchain technology will also affect the sale of stolen goods as they will be able to trace them back to the brand once reported stolen. Luxury objects are seen as huge investment opportunities, and watches are one of the most popular collectable items of the luxury market. Only recently are brands and luxury brands seeing the potential blockchain technology can offer them. It can help to legitimate and secure the industry, where pre-owned and new products merge. 

Other benefits of blockchain technology

Another advantage of coming out of the use of blockchain in the watch market is the transparency it will bring with it. For too long now, the famous Swiss watchmaking process has been an inaccessible avenue of research and in most cases, a closed show away from everyone. This makes it questionable when considering the types of material they are using and if they are ethically sourced, raising several questions. 

Introducing blockchain will open up ethical questions, much like the fashion industry. The technology has been used in fashion to help to source ethical and sustainable supply-chain practices. This allows materials to be easily traceable and encourages openness from brands. 

How the pandemic has changed the watch market

Throughout the pandemic, most shops have been forced to close, heavily affecting sales of products and brands that do not have an e-commerce setup. Many luxury brands, such as Rolex do not have options to purchase their watches online, which indicates another issue with the watch market. Although many luxury brands are more focused on offering their customers an experience when purchasing their products, something that cannot be provided over the computer, the current climate means they may have to consider trading online. 

The pandemic, however, has shifted this for some brands who have opened up the opportunity of trading online through their partnered distributors websites where their products are sold in-store, Although this is a great move and an important move in the current climate, with the threat of another lockdown looming, its does show how far the watch market has come in terms of years, remaining fully paper-based and antiquated in a connected world. 

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