The latest crypto craze is flooding the watches.
Following a record price hike for digital assets from artwork to sneakers, the first NFT watch – or “inedible token”, verified using blockchain technology – was offered earlier this month. It didn’t sell, and the auction was extended.
But other NFT prices, implemented on online platforms and traditional auction houses, seem to signal that the NFT is attracting investors as well as creating new ways to own or just enjoy copper. lake as a non-materializing property. And more NTF watch auctions are scheduled.
The first NFT watch to be sold was the Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillon Chronograph Special Piece, supplied by Jean-Claude Biver, a retired industry veteran to seize the opportunity to make history.
“What we’re doing today is a world first with wings,” Mr. Biver said in a presentation to Zoom on March 30, at the start of the initial six-day auction. “We’re at the beginning of something great.”
[“Still Don’t Get What an NTF Is?” Here’s a quick explanation.]
Mr. Biver’s NFT is a digital photograph – called the “digital twins” – that he took from the Hublot Bigger Bang All Black Tourbillon Chronograph prototype in his own collection. (“I’ll never sell watches,” he said. “It’s the real reference and the source of every model created since 2005 by Hublot.”)
It is accompanied by a cryptographic signature stamped with a code that provides a record of the authenticity and origin of the image. Such tokens live on a blockchain, a digital ledger used in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Mr. Biver has achieved many “firsts” in his 43-year career, especially in 2015 when, as the chief executive officer of TAG Heuer, he has secured an unprecedented collaboration. with Google and Intel to bring Silicon Valley technology into Swiss watchmaking with the watch brand’s first liaison.
Perhaps the “first” is just as important in the emerging NFT market, which will explain the last-minute movement for the watch world difference.
On March 25, watch brand Jacob & Company announced that it will be offering the first NFT watch on the new ArtGrails platform. (The SF24 Tourbillon Piece Unique piece is digital only, went on sale April 4, but it was interrupted and started again as a new auction ended on Thursday.)
But on March 30, Biver started auctioning on the OpenSea platform, with the support of Carlos Moreira, founder and CEO of WISeKey International Holding, a Geneva-based cybersecurity firm. A giant image of Mr. Biver and Mr. Moreira appeared on the Nasdaq MarketS Website in Times Square to let everyone know that the auction had begun.
But five days later, only three bids can be seen – 1 ether equals about $ 2,078 on April 5; 1.05 ether, or about $ 2,182; and 25 ether, or about $ 51,961 – none of that met an undisclosed reserve price. Now, the auction has been extended until April 30.
Jacob & Company NFT is a 3-D animated film produced by the brand and inspired by the Epic SF24 travel watch, but with two additional features added to transform it into a separate digital work: The tourbillon and split cap system show the names of the 10 cryptocurrencies.
“Our NFT watches are a digital, encrypted asset that exists only in the digital space,” said Benjamin Arabov, CEO of Jacob & Company, in a video interview. March 30 from New York.
On April 5, the day of the auction, “it had so many bidders that the platform could not handle it and crashed,” Mr. Arabov said. “It went up to $ 3.1 million and then it all collapsed.”
The sale was resumed on April 7, in a 24-hour period, to reduce the risk of “hackers”, Mr. Arabov said. The final price is 50.74 ether, or about $ 100,000.
“A lot of my collector’s clients are attracted to NFT, because they’re new and different,” said Avery Andon, an art trader and founder of the NFT platform ArtGrails, in a statement. Video interview from Miami. “But the NFTs will take some getting used to.”
Will watch collectors tend to buy digital watches tied to blockchain tokens without ever owning an actual watch?
“NFTs get value from their scarcity,” Mr. Andon said. “This Jacob & Company NFT watch is the only one in the world and serious watch collectors and NFT see its inherent value.”
And, Mr. Arabov said, “Anyway, most watch collectors keep their watches 99% of the time safe.”
Besides guarantees of origin and scarcity, Jacob & Company NFT is also sold with a bit of a tradition of buying watches: certificates and storage boxes equipped with hard drives for NFT storage.
“As a watch collector myself, I love to experience boxes and papers,” Mr. Andon said. “That’s why we’re recreating that physical experience here, except that you don’t get the clock, only this very rare token.”
With more and more investors eyeing digital wealth, global NFT trading volume surpassed $ 500 million in March, with $ 240 million in that month alone. See who auctioneers are joining the game.
On April 23, Sotheby’s is expected to become the first major auction house to sell an NFT watch when Ressence Spymaster goes up for sale in Hong Kong alongside NFT, a computer-generated video of the watch. this.
“The NFT digital video that comes with the watch seems just the right way to underline its true value,” Sam Hines, Sotheby’s watch division head, said in a press release. .
And on the same day, Phillips plans to sell a digital artwork titled “Replicator” by artist Mad Dog Jones, whose real name is Michah Dowbak. The piece, listed in an online auction, is described as reproducing itself every 28 days, creating seven generations of artwork.
Arthur Touchot, head of digital strategy at Phillips, based in Geneva, said: “The auction house had access to selling encrypted watches, a request that we are taking very seriously. sufficiency.
Whether the NFT will become a turning point in the watch market or a bubble hyped by abstract financial schemes, only time will tell.
But Mr. Arabov of Jacob & Company says that the watch NFT will help push the limits of creativity by freeing watchmakers from physical constraints. And, he said, his company had plans to introduce the entire NFT collection that would be “far more innovative than any real life watch” but “would only exist in the NFT world. . “
If NFT watches become “wearable” using augmented reality, like Gucci’s Virtual 25 sneakers, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine fans competing for a digital version of the watch. an unattainable watch – like Paul Newman’s Patek Philippe Nautilus or Rolex Daytona – that can be “worn” and boasted, even if only on social media.
“This sale is to get people interested in the NFT,” said Mr. Arabov. “The problem is not” if “the NFT has a place in the clock, but” when “and” when “is now.”