Swiss blockchain startup Adresta signed a partnership with communication provider Swisscom to implement its solution on the Swiss Trust Chain. Adresta developed a digital identity for watches and is backed by one of Switzerland’s largest insurers Helvetia and ETH Foundation, from the ETH Zurich university.
In 2019 Swiss watch industry exports totaled CHF 20.5 billion ($22.3 bn), of which almost 70% were luxury watches priced at more than CHF 3,000 ($3,268). At an individual level, some of these watches can be exceptionally valuable. One 1968 Rolex Daytona auctioned for $15.5 million in 2017, and a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 model sold for $11 million in 2016.
But the statistic that’s relevant here is that for every genuine Swiss watch, it is claimed there are two counterfeits.
Any item that relies on the product’s brand for its value can benefit from authenticity solutions. Adresta’s digital identity can be issued to newly produced, secondhand, or serviced watches. The identity relies on information from the supply chain and enables brands to communicate directly with watch owners and benefit from secondary sales. The partnership with Swisscom’s Swiss Trust Chain will enhance the product by issuing highly secure certificates on blockchain.
Adresta was founded by an ETH Zurich alumni and a Helvetia alumni. The startup received funding from Helvetia when it was founded with further investments from the insurer and the University back in March. In 2019, Helvetia was the second-largest life insurer in Switzerland and the fifth largest overall insurer.
For a solution like Adresta’s, having an insurer as a leading investor is significant because watch owners often insure the product, a service that Adresta also offers. Insurance is a natural product addon. In a future where most luxury watches have an associated blockchain identity, it will be far harder to sell stolen watches or create knock-offs.
However, the primary initial target is to help brands protect their product. Brands struggle to track the lifecycle of watches, from ownership to performance. Adresta’s services help address brands’ lack of data in these areas.
The startup initially used non fungible (NFT) tokens on the public Ethereum blockchain to track watches. It partnered with Swisscom to use a more scalable enterprise blockchain network with a trusted Swiss provider.
“With Adresta relying on Swisscom’s Electronic Seal to verify the authenticity of luxury watches, we see a game-changing solution which can be easily adopted for many other industries too,” said Lukas Hohl, CEO of Swisscom Blockchain.
Another solution operating with digital identities for watches is Arianee, a blockchain alliance for luxury authenticity and traceability. Arianee developed digital passports on blockchain for Bretiling and Richemont’s Vacheron Constantin. LVMH, Prada and Cartier also have a luxury blockchain consortium AURA, and Hublot’s watch warranties are available on its blockchain network.