Now Reading: I Love My New Watch: Horology in the Cryptoverse

I Love My New Watch: Horology in the Cryptoverse

Horological Sovereignty in a Digital World

Watch Week logo.jpg

By Dubai Watch Week

20 Jun, 2021

Facebook logo Twitter logo

In 2004, the world witnessed the sale of an ‘authenticated’ air guitar on e-bay for $5.50, marketed as “a prized possession from the 80s”. We all laughed at the asinine transaction; however, the gentleman had his finger on the pulse about the future of commerce. For the well-versed technophiles, cryptocurrency and NFTs are old news; still, for those of us late adopters trying to comprehend our inevitable ascent into the metaverse, the concept can seem indecipherable.

Now that cryptocurrencies have become somewhat mainstream, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have been heralded as the new investment on the crypto-block since 2020. Often likened to skins in video games where players can individualize their online personas, NFT art is meant to decorate your proverbial walls in a simulated world, a future where luxuries live on blockchains with no physical exchange of hands.

The benefit of NFTs, unlike other cryptocurrencies, is that it is non-fungible making them unique and verifying its authenticity. It cannot be exchanged or substituted for other crypto-assets, just like one cannot substitute the original Mona Lisa. Instrumental for digital creators, NFTs exist as a string of letters and numbers saved in a blockchain ledger containing information such as the original creator, the buyer, and the time of sale. Consequently, terms can be set for NFTS where the digital artist receives a percentage upon each resale.

While only the surface has been scratched, NFTs have been fetching figures in the millions at auction houses, drawing the attention of the watch industry. In a world where the internet connection is the limit, here are ways horology is forging its niche in the crypto-sphere


NFT_Christies_Beeple_Dubai Watch Week.jpg

Beeple’s NFT 'Everydays: the first 5000 days' sold at Christie’s for $69 million via Verge

Virtual Watch Prints

Enraptured by the endless possibilities of NFT marketplaces, Jean Claude Biver sold a digital photograph of the prototype Hublot Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillon Chronograph from his private collection on March 30 of this year. A pioneer in both physical and virtual realms, the former CEO of TAG Heuer called this ‘a start of something great’ prophesizing the industry’s venture into the metaverse.

Soon after, Jacob & Co followed suit with a 3D animation inspired by the Epic SF24 Travel Watch, which sold for approximately $100,000, allowing serious collectors to expand their horizons digitally.


Hublot Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillion Chronograph digital photograph via Hublot (left) and Still of Jacob & Co’s Epic SF24 Travel watch animated NFT via Jacob & Co.

Hublot Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillion Chronograph digital photograph via Hublot (left) and Still of Jacob & Co’s Epic SF24 Travel watch animated NFT via Jacob & Co.

A Safe Haven

For an industry where provenance and traceability are the bedrock of the resale value, ‘digital passports’ prove a very fruitful tool for registering a unique token for every SKU. Many brands have jumped on the bandwagon, issuing a digital double with all sales of physical watches to track throughout its lifecycle.

Arianee, an independent organization whose mandate is to establish cryptographic governance and design a global standard for digital certification, has attracted Breitling, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet in the consortium.


Breilting_Arianee_Dubai Watch Week.jpeg

Breitling x Arianee via Arianee

Crypto-mechanical timepieces

While there are many crusaders against a virtual simulation, digital watches are well within reach freeing watchmakers from Newtonian constraints and pushing the boundaries of creativity. People can diversify their investments and build a virtual collection of rare digital watches, where maybe someday, their Fortnite character can rock a 1/1 Rolex Daytona that shoots laser beams in battle.

If you enjoyed this article, crypto will be discussed at length during this year’s Horology Forum at Dubai Watch Week 2021. Follow us on Instagram for updates.



We see you’re interested in technology!

Check out our piece about what technology has done for watchmaking by clicking here.

Article end

The End

Read these next


Keep Watchmaking Real

Authenticity is key to the future of the mechanical wat…


Notes from Baselworld

A round up of new and interesting horological releases …


March Into Spring

The world of horology takes inspiration from some of na…


Watch Jockey

In honor of the prestigious Dubai World Cup we are goin…


Saluting Jean-Claude Biver

The former head of LVMH’s watchmaking division has neve…


Let’s Get Watchucated

As we are starting a little segment on Dubai Watch Week…


National Treasures

The spirit of the nation embodies us as we have celebra…


Flights of Fancy

Legendary Geneva maison Vacheron Constantin’s Les Aéros…


Best of British

After a long period in the doldrums, British watchmakin…

Connect with Us