The watermark is a very well-known and reliable security feature for protecting banknotes against counterfeiting. The public can instantly recognise it and verify the authenticity of a note. Formed within the paper, the watermark image is created through variations in paper thickness. Arjowiggins Security is a pioneer in the development of watermark technology. Besides the traditional multi-tonal watermark based on the cylinder mould process, we provide our clients with watermarks using innovative technologies. Thanks to the craftsmanship of our engravers, we offer upper quality and attractive watermarks.

Multi-tone watermark

Watermarks in banknotes represent very often portraits of famous characters from the issuing country. To reach such a high level of detail and precision in watermarks, cylinder mould technology is used.

The multi-tone watermark is formed at the heart of the paper, during the paper making process. Embedded in the paper, counterfeiters cannot reproduce the watermark, making it a highly secure feature.

Cylinder-mould technology

The watermark is created through the use of a cylinder mould situated at the beginning of the paper machine.  A cylinder mould is a cylinder covered by a wire mesh embossed with the watermark design. During paper production, the cylinder mould rotates in a vat containing cotton pulp. The suspension of cotton fibres is agitated in the vat and the wire mesh acts as a sieve and retains the fibrous material in the hollow areas.  The variations of fibre density form the image of the watermark.

Three-dimensional images

The mulit-tone watermark is the result of continuous thickness variations in the paper. The image is created by different levels of grey tones that give areas of lightness/darkness in the watermark. The multi-tonal effect gives depth and contrast to the pattern and allows watermarks with a high level of detail such as portraits or animals to be produced.


Interpol recommends the use of “a mould-made, three-dimensional, multi-tone watermark” to secure banknotes. It can be authenticated in reflective and transmitted light. It is practically impossible to counterfeit it by printing and to obtain a positive/negative effect. The multi-tone watermarks benefit from excellent ease of recognition by the public, who has become very familiar with this security feature over the years.

Pixel watermark™

The Pixel watermark is made up of a pattern or array of dark dots on a light background that creates a three-dimensional effect and provides a high level contrast with the background.

It can be added to multi-tone and electrotype watermarks. More than 30 billion notes with Pixel watermark representing 44 denominations have been issued since 2008.

Eye-catching effect

The Pixel watermark is formed by dots of various sizes and shapes on a light background that create a unique design. This particular design makes it easily recognisable by the man in the street. The high-contrast background provided by the Pixel watermark enhances the visibility of the multi-tone watermark.


The Pixel watermark brings perspective to the watermark. The contrast obtained by the dark elements on a clear background gives extraordinary luminosity to the watermark.

Improved security

The remarkable brightness of the Pixel watermark and the high level of detail and contrast are very difficult to reproduce. We recommend combining the Pixel watermark with multi-tone and electrotype watermarks to increase the level of complexity and enhance the security.

Vision™ watermark

The Vision watermark, our latest development in watermark technology, offers higher definition and better image recognition. In accordance with the trend in banknote design for more realism, the Vision watermark

carries more detail than the traditional multi-tone watermark, getting closer to the original image. It can be combined with the multi-tone, Pixel and electrotype watermarks for enhanced banknote protection.

Higher definition

The Vision watermark offers greater definition and more detail than traditional multi-tone watermarks. The outlines of the images are finer and sharper. It offers higher contrast thanks to the enhanced intensity of the black and white areas. It is remarkably luminous and bright.

Easy authentication

The Vision watermark brings more realism and allows better image recognition. The watermark image can look more like the printing. Authenticating a banknote becomes easier.

A designer-friendly feature

The aesthetic effects provided by the Vision watermark are stunning. With its endless design possibilities, it will inspire banknote designers. It can be integrated smoothly and easily in an existing or brand new note, enhancing the overall banknote design.