Bulgari, in a partnership with digital security firm WISeKey, unveiled a luxury smartwatch concept design right out of Mission: Impossible at the Baselworld 2015 trade fair in Switzerland.
Called the Diagono Magnesium Concept, this "intelligent" concept watch from the luxury jeweler is designed to secure the user's sensitive personal information and files right on their wrist using the "Bulgari Vault" app, something that the Italian company calls "a military-level virtual security vault." The app keeps the user's encrypted credit card numbers, passports, medical documents and birth certificates safe, while the watch acts as an electronic key to unlock them. However, Bulgari did not mention anything about NOC lists.
The encrypted information is supposedly stored by WISeKey on a server in a bunker in the Swiss Alps, where it will be accessible only to those who locked it away with the watch. A concept video, which you can watch below, shows the NFC-enabled watch unlocking a big vault door as well as a car door.
Bulgari and WISeKey also predict you will be able to unlock doors at home or work with the concept watch and make digital payments, start your car engine and "get exclusive access to a VIP lounge." Well, thank goodness we never have to worry about getting locked out of our VIP lounges again.
It’s a good thing Bulgari calls this an "intelligent watch" or "watch-vault" because the only "smart" thing about is it the NFC chip inside it. Otherwise, it's another luxury mechanical watch with nothing that smart about it; no touchscreen, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi. It tells time and unlocks things, which can be interesting if that’s all you require. The rest of the Bulgari Diagono Magnesium "watch-vault" sounds typical of the Bulgari luxury Italian brand, as it’s made of high-end magnesium coating and ceramic components.
Of course, why you would want all that information stored on a server and unlockable through an easy target of thieves around the world is another question — and nothing in this world stays unhackable. Keeping sensitive data hidden away in a Swiss army base is as a good a challenge for a hacker as a Japanese multimedia corporation or a national government.
Otherwise, it’s been a big couple of weeks for "smart" watches. Besides the Apple Watch’s coming-out party, Tag Heuer also announced an Android Wear-powered smartwatch, while Swiss watch-maker Swatch revealed its first NFC-enabled watch that would also allow wearers to make payments. The Apple Watch and its inevitable popularity is sure to open the floodgates to even more competitors in the coming years.
Meanwhile, the Bulgari Diagono Magnesium will sell for 5,000 to 6,000 euros, or $5,477 to $6,576 U.S. dollars, when it comes out next year.