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Almost 80,000 luxury watches worth total of £1bn stolen or missing, data shows
21 August 2023

Luxury watches worth more than £1 billion are registered as stolen or missing after a sharp increase, new data shows.

Almost 80,000 watches have been reported as stolen or missing, according to global crime prevention database The Watch Register.

The platform said there has been a “concerning surge” in potential thefts in recent years.

It comes after a number of high-profile jewellery thefts affecting celebrities including former boxer Amir Khan, cyclist Mark Cavendish and racing driver Lando Norris.

Victims can register stolen products with The Watch Register, and the platform is then used by dealers, jewellers, pawnbrokers and auction houses to identify stolen watches.

The platform said it has 78,165 stolen watches on its database.

A total of 6,815 were recorded as being missing or stolen last year, representing a 60% increase in the number of new watches on the global database.

This included a 33% increase for the year in the UK.

The total value of all watches recorded as stolen or lost amounts to over £1 billion and includes a number of high-value luxury watches that individually retail between £50,000 to £100,000 or more, it said.

Rolex watches are the most common recorded on the system, accounting for 44% of the total.

Katya Hills, managing director at The Watch Register said: “Recent records show a concerning surge in the registration of luxury watches that have been stolen or lost.

“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.

“The increasing number of stolen luxury watches also serves as a stark reminder of the risks faced in safeguarding such high-value possessions and we advise owners to make sure that they have adequate insurance for their watch, to keep photographs of their watch and to make a note of their watch’s unique serial number, which will aid its recovery in the event of it being lost or stolen.”

Image: PA

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