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The Hublot Big Bang watch. Source: Hublot (link below)
The Hublot Big Bang watch. Source: Hublot (link below)

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Swiss watch maker rips off bitcoin startup's idea

Swiss luxury watch maker Hublot has unveiled a watch that can only be bought with Bitcoin, and it is claiming it is "the first watch that can only be purchased using Bitcoin".

Hublot is selling the limited edition ‘Big Bang’ model for US$25,000 to celebrate the upcoming 10th anniversary of Bitcoin. It says it will only produce 210 pieces of the model.

But the claim by Hublot to be the first watch to be purchased by Bitcoin appears to be not entirely accurate.

It was done by Hong Kong watch company Cryptomatic back in 2014. Cryptomatic, which was set up by Luis Rosende, launched its first collection in 2014 with a limited edition of a few hundred pieces for around US$900 each.

Cryptomatic used the service of an OTC broker called Octagon Financial to release some of their bitcoin holdings, and Rosende even got acquainted with some of the trading agents in Octagon Financial.

Octagon Financial changed their name to OSL a few months later and announced their partnership with Hublot in the launch of their first Bitcoin-themed watch.

Although Rosende saw this is a validation of the idea he had, and that "it’s great to have more industry players at different price levels", he was less enthused with Hublot's claim that the Big Bang was the world’s first watch brand to be sold only by Bitcoin. Rosende contacted his trading agent OSL and they said they would make changes to the statement.

But no changes have been made so far. Having released three Bitcoin timepieces that only accept cryptocurrency as payment when Hublot released their first collection, Rosende felt displeased, which was probably not helped by the fact that it involves OSL.

While Cryptomatic and Hublot are in different price segments of the watch industry, Rosende still feels that it is not right to claim the idea as theirs.

"Was it Picasso who said 'good artists copy, great artists steal'? I guess Hublot are great artists after all," he told Bitsonline.

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