RFID takes on the counterfeit watch

Another blow to spam? RFID technology may hurt sales of the fake Rolexes you heard about in your latest e-mail.

Winwatch has teamed up with Toshiba to put RFID tracking tags into wristwatches, with a view to stopping the trade in counterfeit timepieces that sees thousands of dollars ripped off big-name watch sellers such as Rolex.

Radio frequency identification tags represent the much-hyped technology that's turned up on luggage, dogs, and even Japanese schoolchildren.

Winwatch has patented a method of putting the tiny chips into the glass crystal of watches or fixing one to the glass front so it doesn't interfere with the mechanical workings. Attaching it to the watch-front also means that the metal parts of the watch--or wearer's wrist--won't interfere with the tag being read and that tags can be added to ready-manufactured watches.

The RFID chips will be manufactured by Toshiba and will be readable from a distance of 1mm.