Back in 2018, Christie’s first announced its plans to use blockchain technology in its auctions. In October of that year, the renowned auction house entered a pilot partnership with the blockchain-secured digital art registry service Artory. Together, they created a blockchain registry that would securely record all public information regarding the sale of each lot from the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, widely recognized as the most important privately held collection of American Modernist art. The registry included the title, description, final price and date in addition to a digital certificate of the transaction for Christie’s. After the auction, Christie’s would then offer buyers a registration card to access an encrypted record of information about their purchase on the Artory Registry.
Now, Christie’s is extending its work in the realm of blockchain beyond the visual arts and into its sale of luxury watches. At the auction house’s Rare Watches sale in Geneva last week, Christie’s once again piloted the use of an incorruptible digital certificate, dubbed Watch Certificate, recorded forever on the blockchain, to store the details of a particularly valuable lot. Its the kind of technology that is highly valuable when protecting a big sale such as, for example, it’s recent $3.4 million hammer price for Rolex “Paul Newman Lemon” Daytona Ref. 6263 in 18-karat yellow gold. The watch is only one of three examples known to exist and is expected to fetch up to $5 million.
“The use of Watch Certificate for important collector’s watches is an added value, both for the current owner and for the future buyer. It allows total transparency thanks to the expertise of an independent third party. This is exactly what the new generation of collectors wants,” says Rémi Guillemin, Head of Watches and Wristwatches Department at Christie’s Geneva.
With Watch Certificate, the new owner of the watch will be able to request an update on the value of the watch, obtain assistance in the event of theft, take out additional insurance against theft with aggression and transfer the watch in the event of a future sale.