Geneva start-up hopes holograms in watch faces will foil counterfeiters

An anti-counterfeiting technique that injects holographic markings into the crystals of luxury watches will make checking for fakes as easy as scanning a bank note.

The ‘hologram’-like DNA Watch offers a highly secure method of marking watches, which can be scanned simply under UV light – and is produced by a Swiss start-up which is currently refining the process.

Nasser Hefyene, CEO of Nanoga, which is developing the solution, was formerly a researcher the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. He told QP magazine’s Rob Waugh, that there is already interest from several Swiss watch brands.

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Hefyene says: “The DNA watch is a solution which allows authentication of luxury watches, any place, any time. It consists of integrating information into the glass of the watch, which can only be visible under UV light.

“The process consists of integrating into the glass watch a very thin layer of photonic crystal which can convert UV light into colours. By defining the geometry of the crystal and their orientation, we are able to select the colours. The process is highly complex to reproduce.”

Creating the ‘nanometric image’ requires expensive machinery normally used to manufacture LEDs, and also relies on a patent-protected and secret mixture of chemicals. It will be very difficult to reproduce, even for the criminal gangs behind so-called ‘superfake’ watches.

Click here to read more on QP magazine’s investigation into anti-counterfeiting in the watch industry.

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