Vincent Perriard is among those watchmaking CEOs who regularly hit the headlines. As a former radio entertainer, hence his storytelling talent, he’s becoming the prophet of an unfalsifiable watchmaking industry.
By Albert J. de Buttes-LaCôte, TàG Press +41 (News Agency)
Read this article on JSH Magazine (Since 1876)
Technologic approach to track down counterfeiters? It’s obvious, it’ s happening. And what if this inexorable conquest of luxury and watchmaking could be naturally achieved using a simple smartphone, with its increasingly powerful cameras, an updatable application and a 5G wifi network that is exploding in fluidity and bandwidth?
On the other end of the line, big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Face to face in Neuchâtel with Vincent Perriard, a watchmaking insider turned missionary for the Origyn Foundation. The pitch is clear: “I like disruptive, game-changing adventures. So I like risks and I like to go against the grain on many issues.”
What are the Origyn Foundation’s ambitions?
Become an authentication standard for luxury items or art. Provide a digital certification technology that authenticates luxury goods in an instant. Thanks to a photo, a smartphone application, the item concerned through biometrics gives for the first time its own identity, its uniqueness. Origyn, a Swiss non-profit foundation, combines decentralized technologies with the artificial intelligence (IA) and machine learning (ML). It is a revolution in the fight against counterfeiting.
A like Shazam, but for watches?
Exactly. Just take a picture of the watch with your smartphone to see immediately if it is an original or a fake! Our solution is not intrusive for the luxury sector, watches, leather goods, art… It is based on image recognition. We use a multitude of technologies, imagery, sound…. both for the software and the hardware. The timing is perfect because these technologies exist and in the past few months, they have increased in efficiency. For example, 5G for smartphones that have cameras with more and more pixels.
At the end of April 2020, Cartier, LVMH and Prada announced the launch of Aura, their blockchain. Is everyone now getting involved?
Aura and Arianee are blockchains that use a code that is on a paper or credit card type certificate, which is a separate object from the watch. Our system recognizes the watch itself. Because it can handle images, videos, we opted for the DFINITY ICP which has just been launched and which consumes 100,000 times less electricity than an Ethereum transaction, the five-year-old protocol used by Aura.
All brands should play the game, including the biggest ones?
Indeed, we need the players who “make” watchmaking. And these are not only the Manufactures, since for the first time in the history of watchmaking, the secondary market, the CPO (Certified Pre Owned) has exceeded the business volume of the primary market: 17 billion Swiss francs in exports in 2020! We are therefore involved in both tests with the major players in the primary market, but also in the secondary market, which sells thousands of watches every day. Our vision is to build the largest database in the watch industry, to become the reference and authoritative source for tracking down a product and its history.
Who is funding you, why a Foundation? How much will it cost the brands?
We are funded by the founders of Origyn which, as a non-profit foundation, can outlive individuals and is not intended to make a profit, but to reinvest in R&D and the improvement of our technologies. We look for cost effective software and hardware solutions. For the brands we are building with, there is no front-end investment but a unit cost for each watch for which we create a digital passport. We are talking about a few francs, in some cases, for luxury brands, about a ten franc unit.