Developing a cross-industry, tech-powered solution to reduce incidence of loss and theft of high-end watches

Service & Experience Design

Client : Richemont

The context

The Context

Watch counterfeiting and theft are global problems costing millions. They cause emotional distress and violent muggings on the street by gangs such as the Rolex Rippers in the UK and armed burglaries in boutiques. Registrations for lost or stolen watches in the U.S.A spiked 106% in 2023 compared to 2022. Celebrities and other watch owners are increasingly become targets, as luxury watch waiting lists grow, stoking demand. New purchases can often immediately command a higher value in the secondary market, making their theft more appealing.

The challenge

Combatting theft & loss with new technology

Richemont wanted to understand how they could pro-actively respond to rising levels of theft and loss of high-end watches, to create an industry-standard for registering and protect these goods and their owners and sellers. They knew technology was creating new opportunities to track the provenance of consumer goods and wished to harness this power to offer better protection.

The approach

Discovering, prototyping, testing & implementing solutions

The process of discovery took a whole system approach, engaging stakeholder groups to help Richemont understand the current situation, and which feasibility, viability and desirability requirements would be necessary to achieve a “critical mass” of users. A complex web of stakeholders was consulted, ranging from academics to new and pre-owned retailers, national law enforcers, international agencies such as Interpol, customers and insurers.  Through iterative prototyping and testing, we were able to visualise a solution, and strategically roadmap routes towards innovating in this space.

Discovery research

The project began with scoping the challenge and opportunity. We ran a series of stakeholder interviews and carried out ethnographic fieldwork with owners of high-end watches to understand their relationships with these goods, and personal experiences of loss and theft.

Benchmarking and desk research enabled us to understand what solutions were already out there, and where the pain points were in ownership journeys.

Concept development & testing

Working closely with internal technology teams, our designers developed storyboards, prototypes and user flows. We focussed on the desirable functionality of a portal for an ownership tracking database would need to have for individual and industry owners, such as pre-owned retailers. We also looked at the back-end systems that could facilitate this functionality, and how use of a database could demonstrably reduce loss and theft.

Through testing prototypes with these groups and incorporating feedback, we were able to arrive at an MVP prototype.

The impact

  • Team aligned

    Alignment on approach and the best areas of focus for innovation.

  • Workable prototypes

    Collaborative prototype development.

  • New product launched

    In 2023, Richemont launched Enquirus, a unique ecosystem initiated by the industry, for the industry, to provide intelligence on lost and stolen watches and jewellery.

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