I am sure you have heard of the term “smart” watch; but the creators of the Gvchiani Masterblock have gone to the next level of smart, with this ingenious tribute to Bitcoin.
The watch itself isn’t traditionally “smart”, but the history of each individual timepiece can be categorically tracked and identified using blockchain technology. (I’ll TRY to explain how it works later in the review!!)
The Gvchiani Masterblock combines the creativeness of a Luxury Swiss watchmaking artisan, with that of blockchain technology.
The Gvchiani Masterblock is the brainchild of what could be considered an odd mix of specialisms (a watchmaker, a lawyer and a technical guru), however the leaders of the partnership between the 2 companies, have a clear goal in mind when explaining the concept behind the project:
We, GVCHIANI and Cryptolex, decided to create a joint venture and launch the first luxury watch ever to be fully created into the Blockchain. We decided to combine ancestral SWISS watch-making knowledge with the latest revolutionary technology.
Face & case
This watch is big – there is no other way to describe it.
At 50mm square, it looks like the face has been carved out of a solid black mass; which is actually lightweight DLC treated titanium. It is supposed to symbolise the Block of the Blockchain.
The dial peers out through a sapphire window in the centre of the case which is in the shape of an “X”; the basis of the Masterblock project and dedicated to Bitcoin (abbreviation XBT – BT being Bitcoin and X tells us that this currency is not linked to any nation or country.)
Looking closely at the dial, it is possible to make out four identical QR codes at different angles that represent the portfolio address in the BlockChain, along with multiple other unfinished squares which also resemble QR codes. There are 3 chronograph sub dials visible through the haze, as well as the day and date displays at 3 o’clock with the Gvchiani Geneve brand below.
There are hour, minute and second hands on the main dial, which also appear to be big, but on closer inspection, they are formed from multiple pieces of thinner white metal, rather than larger single pieces.
Whatever the time displayed, at least one of the four QR codes will be readable on the dial.
Large, contrasting white hour indicators are stamped on the case in a bold modern font at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
The crown and chronograph push buttons are also oversized, with various details to look at, such as the “X” stamped on the end of the crown and the words “MASTER” and “BLOCK”, can be clearly seen in bold white, master on the top one and block on the bottom.e.
The caseback appears a bit more traditional looking, with a circular sapphire window revealing the caliber. The self winding rotor has been customised to be partially skeletonised and finished with a black surface treatment created by electroplating. This, we are told aides the cooling of the movement.
The base movement of the Gvchiani Masterblock is a Sellita SW500 mechanical self-winding caliber.
With 28,800 vibrations per hour and 25 jewels expect precision in all seasons with +/- 5 seconds per day and fully wound, a power reserve of around 48 hours.
The black leather strap is fairly unique in a geometric type design, with what looks like almost a fractal image on it.
The idea of the bracelet design is to represent the decentralized / distributed network of the blockchain and similar to how blockchains are interconnected.
The buckle is also big and angular; treated in black, it is stamped with “Gvchiani” in bold.
Bitcoins, Blockchain and Gvchiani
Now for the technology… A Bitcoin is basically a computer file which is stored in a ‘digital wallet’ app on a smartphone or computer. These bitcoins can be transferred and used as normal currency in some circumstances. Every single transaction is recorded in a public list called the blockchain.
Blockchain is the technology the underpins this (and other) digital currencies. The technology allows digital information to be distributed, but not copied. This network is designed to regularly update itself, but always keep the digital trail and this is the simplified explanation of the blockchain.
There are multiple QR codes displayed on the dial, which can be read by the Masterblock App. It’s basically a QR/barcode reader which once activated with a genuine Gvchiani Masterblock timepiece, allows allow access to the tamperproof certificate of the production of the Masterblock piece.
The certificate displays the name and number of the timepiece, as well as various other information. It then displays a certification data table, which lists the entire manufacturing process from start to finish.
This certificate is also linked to a Bitcoin wallet, the balance shown at the very bottom.
Each timepiece conceals a secret that is a cryptographic enigma. Apparently there is also a “Great secret of the Masterblock”, which, if at least 51% of the Masterblock owners get together and collect a number of clues, the “Secret” will be revealed. What could this be?
I saw images of the Gvchiani Masterblock a while ago and was intrigued. When I saw it in person, I was genuinely amazed by how big and bold it really is. Surprisingly, once on the wrist, it feels light and fits well and does look pretty good on my wrist.
There will be only 2010 watches made from the number 0000 to 2009 (2010 pieces), with a starting price of 16,500 CHF (you could of course purchase one using bitcoin or other crypto currency equivalents).
2008 pieces will be sold online and 2 pieces which can be specified individually will be auctioned off – number 0000 is called «Genesis» and represents the root in all blockchains, upon which subsequent entries are based; number 2009 is called «Satoshi» in tribute to the creator of Bitcoin, created in the year 2009.
When I met with Gvchiani and Cryptolex, there was talk of the watch having already been produced in red, so I’m sure they could be open to other suggestions and I have to be honest, as looking at Gvchiani’s own creations (it appears the options could be endless), I would probably choose a different finish/colour than black if given the opportunity.
I do expect it will be an acquired taste mainly due to its imposing size; and with the addition of crossing over to the technical side, it could potentially have a select buyer group – overall I do like both the eccentric design and the concept of being able to trace the history of each watch.
Please can someone let me know once the “Great Masterblock Secret” is out!!??