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STISS integrates a digital passport into a glass watch crystal

Wednesday 14 December 2022

The feat accomplished by STISS is equivalent to the creation of an anti-counterfeiting digital passport, and defies all physical, technical and aesthetic constraints. | © STISS

Valais-based company STISS has succeeded in embedding a blockchain security chip directly into the crystal of a watch.

Based in Sion, STISS was founded in 2012 by Alex and Jean-Pierre Kalbermatten under the name Winwatch Trade. For eight years, the two co-founders worked to realize their vision of improving the capabilities of a watch by embedding a miniaturized chip into it.

In 2020, STISS launched its first concrete product, AUGMENTED GLASS, a payment chip embedded in the glass of an already manufactured watch. To demonstrate the feasibility of this idea, STISS installed its chips in 500 Festina and Chrono watches with the brands' consent. "We are now marketing these watches with the payment function thanks to our partners," said Joé Courtine, Director of STISS. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to pay without contact wherever Mastercards are accepted, without altering the appearance of the watches.

14 patents for a unique technology

STISS goes one step further with its new product ID GLASS. It is a sapphire watch glass integrating a chip and an antenna invisible to the naked eye for a less intrusive design. The chip works without a battery and 14 patents have been filed for this technology. It can store information accessible via an NFC chip, such as a certificate of authenticity of the watch secured through the blockchain. It is a sort of digital passport for watches, replacing the impractical and insecure warranty card.

This technology is useful for monitoring the aftermarket by storing the history and maintenance information of the watch. It also offers the possibility to inform about the origin of the materials used in the design of the product, as transparency and durability are now important criteria for customers.

Innovation continues to grow in the canton of Valais

The canton of Valais is known for its beautiful landscapes and renowned tourist destinations, but it is also recognized as a world-class center for innovation and technology. Thanks to its research institutes (such as Idiap), its Universities of Applied Sciences (such as the HES-SO) and its innovation foundation The Ark, the canton of Valais offers a favorable ecosystem for the development of new ideas and the launch of start-ups, as was the case with STISS. This strong network of partners attracts many students, researchers and entrepreneurs from Switzerland and abroad.

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