Counterfeit luxury watches have historically been a problem, there’s no getting way from that. If anything is worth a lot of money, somebody somewhere will try to con people out of their hard earned money by producing something that looks like the real deal but is, basically, worthless.
I have written an article about how to reduce your risk of getting scammed here.
However, now technology is after the con artists and is getting smart about it.
No, I’m not talking about smartwatches, I’m talking about counterfeit traditional watches. There is a new kid on the block who is taking the counterfeiters by the scruff of the neck and kicking their ass!
The new kid is a start-up company called Nanoga and the technology I am talking about is a tiny, nanoscopic watermark in the form of a hologram that is invisible to the naked eye and is only visible under an ultraviolet light.
Nanoga claim that each layer of the watermark is 10,000 times thinner than a human hair and deposited onto a watch’s sapphire crystal or glass dome in a highly detailed lithographic printing process.
The watch will look entirely normal at first glance and even if studied in detail. Place it under an ultraviolet light and it’s a different story! Take a look at the video to understand what I mean!
Impressive stuff, huh?!
To give you an idea of just what is involved, a tiny series number that’s no bigger than a grain of sand can, for example, be carefully marked and will be visible only using a very strong magnifying glass. Nanoga’s process uses “expensive machinery and a secret recipe of chemicals that is patent-protected.”
There are various ways of integrating this technique into the production process. The watch manufacturers will be able to provide the glass to be marked, which will be returned, complete with hologram, ready to be fitted to the watch.
That does not mean that it is impossible to forge this new technology. After all, if it can be made, it can be forged. It would mean, however, that it would be prohibitively expensive for all but the most determined and cash-laden forger to duplicate. Even then, they would find it extremely difficult. Nanoga claim that “to reproduce this type of nanometric image would be as complicated as trying to forge the Swiss 50-franc note.”
The bottom line is, if you can afford a luxury watch, you can afford to protect it properly! Having said that, I am not sure how much this technology adds to the cost of a watch and, indeed, how many manufacturers are likely to adopt it.
But it is good to know that the technology is available and the battle to beat the forgers is ramping up!