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The London-based company maintains a database of approximately 80,000 luxury watches and, in a statement, said that more than $US1.3 billion ($AU1.55 billion) worth of thefts have now been reported. | Source:Shutterstock
The London-based company maintains a database of approximately 80,000 luxury watches and, in a statement, said that more than $US1.3 billion ($AU1.55 billion) worth of thefts have now been reported. | Source:Shutterstock

Rolex rippers: Concerning surge in luxury watch theft

According to The Watch Register, a global database for lost and stolen watches, thefts have increased by 60 per cent in the past year.

The London-based company maintains a database of approximately 80,000 luxury watches and, in a statement, said that more than $US1.3 billion ($AU1.55 billion) worth of thefts have now been reported.

More than 40 per cent of this database are Rolex pieces, while Omega is the second most common brand to be reported stolen or missing at seven per cent.

headshot-Christopher Marinello-Art Recovery International
headshot-Christopher Marinello-Art Recovery International
“Thieves know that these watches have become extremely high value, are in demand and achieving incredibly high prices at auction.”
Christopher Marinello, Art Recovery International

"Recent records show a concerning surge in the registration of luxury watches that have been stolen or lost," managing director Katya Hills told The Independent.

"The considerable value and prestige of these high-end timepieces continues to attract the attention of sophisticated and international criminal networks, making them a prime target for theft."

Christopher Marinello is the CEO of Art Recovery International, a specialist law practice that focuses on the recovery of stolen artwork.

In recent years, the theft of luxury watches have become something of a priority for his company.

“Thieves know that these watches have become extremely high value, are in demand and achieving incredibly high prices at auction,” he told The National.

“So they know what to steal, and they’re stealing them from collectors and dealers all over the world. They steal from London, Cannes, Los Angeles, and New York. Wherever wealthy people congregate and vacation, the watch thieves are there.”

Rolex's Daytona, GMT and Oyster Perpetual models are reportedly high-profile targets for criminals, as demand exceeds supply and prices are high on the second-hand market.

More reading
Watch industry shocked: Rolex acquires Bucherer
Concern over the increasing sophistication of fake watches
Rolex launches second-hand certification program, records shattered in Geneva
Luxury watch market approaching $100 billion milestone
New Rolex factory expected to be completed in 2029

 











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