“E.U. scientists propose two different patented technologies to ensure that watches are genuine:
1) The use of passive transponders, with information stored on a microchip included in a passive radio frequency transponder. The transponder, capable of transmitting the signal through metal up to 0.5 mm thick, is embedded inside the back cover of the watch.
This transponder’s signal can be picked up from the outside thanks to a specific antenna, connected to a database (available on-line) that matches the transponder identity to the watch number. The date of sale and owner’s name can also be stored in the transponder if required.”
This was included initially because of the “wow that’s cool” factor. With further examination, however, the tagging of Rolexes would be congrous with several threats outlined in CASPIAN’s RFID position statement, namely,
- Hidden placement of tags
- Lack of labeling
- Unique identifiers
However one would argue that few luxury watch customers would object to authenticity measures built into watches despite the obvious privacy threats. Projects like this one which will lead the way to ubiquitous item level tags. You notice a jewler testing authenticity with a handheld reader years before we check shampoo stock levels from across the country.