Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fighting Replica Watches With Hidden Laser Images & Nanostructuring

Fighting Replica Watches With Hidden Laser Images & Nanostructuring
The fashion-marketing environment is comprised of micro and macro environments. This article is a great example of how companies are affected by one of the aspects of the microenvironment - competition. Competition is something fashion marketers have no control over, especially if the competition is not in its healthiest form. By that I mean the illegal sales of the replica merchandise that affects a lot of industries. One of the greatly affected areas is the watch industry. Counterfeit products are sold in enormous quantities around the globe, which take away the profits from the companies. Therefore, there are laws and regulations that help fight against production and resale of such goods. Counterfeit products could also damage the overall image of the company because most people would think if a product could be produced cheaper and still look the same, what is the point of buying something of the same quality but more expensive?
So companies try to come up with various ways to help consumers feel more secure by buying their products. They emphasize the importance of the benefits their products have over the fake ones, and also stress the importance of the corporate social responsibity. For example, most of the fake products are being made in factories with poor working conditions and other activities, which are not favorable in the US (like child labor, or long hours with poor compensation). In this case a well-known Swiss Watch company Carl F. Bucherer decided it was high time to implement new technology that would help identify real watches from fakes. Technology is a part of macroenvironment and organizations have to go along with the development of new processes in order to stay competitive. This is why this company decided to utilize Mimotec SA’s CLR-LIGA process – a combination of two recent technologies that helps the companies to fight against replica watches by inscribing a certain image on the movement of the watch that could only be visible if a laser is pointed at it. The image cannot be replicated so it becomes the identification point for the watch. It could be the serial number or a logo of a company.
This is a true breakthrough in the watchmaking business. I have been working in this industry for the last 6 years. This is not really a long time but my only concern is why Carl F. Bucherer but not Rolex, which decided to utilize this method? How many times have we heard about fake Carl F. Bucherer watch sold or bought on Canal Street in New York? We see at least 20 different replica watches that are brought to us to be checked for authenticity. Brands like Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Panerai, Breitling and of course Rolex are the most replicated. I can only imagine how much profit those companies lost because of this sort of competition.
All things considered, utilizing this technology will not only benefit Carl F. Bucherer but also its customers who could feel more secure about the purchase. Most likely if the technology proves to be effective other brands would also start working with Mimotec SA. I think Mimotec just needed a company to introduce the technology into the market. Let us see if other luxury brands will see benefits from this process.