Short of a major pre-owned watch market crash — brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, will continue to maintain above-average resale values and are therefore prime robbery targets.
Being top targets of watch theft stems from the highly commoditized value of the most coveted brand names and models. These “hype watches” typically trade way above the manufacturer’s retail price which means that if a thief acquires one — they’ll be able to convert your loved watch into serious cash.
Highly identifiable watches that hold liquid value are nothing new but as the pandemic rages on, the level of crime across the country has risen to record levels. Police are understaffed and more crimes are taking place so response times are slower, and the general state of lawlessness does not appear to be waning, especially in bigger cities.
The best solution, as always, is to be very careful with your prized timepieces. Perhaps first and foremost, this means carrying insurance on your timepieces. Whether that means adding a rider to your existing renter’s or homeowner’s policy where your highest value timepieces are scheduled at true replacement cost or buying a watch-specific policy from the likes of Hodinkee/Chubb or Jewelers Mutual. By doing this, you limit your risk significantly and so when someone does pull a gun on you, you know you’re protected.
One of the best prevention methods is to buy a TL30 rated safe, anchored to a wall stud or the floor, and preferably the heaviest safe you can accommodate. A safe guarantees nothing but it makes the act of robbery many magnitudes harder for criminals.
Another option to secure your valuables is to use safe deposit boxes, which can often be had for a small fee at a bank where you have active deposits at. However, beware of certain exceptions that could put even these highly protected safe deposits at risk.
Lastly, be careful when traveling, when going out, when having guests that you don’t know over to your house. These are the areas where the thieves tend to strike. Always watch your drink, be careful inviting strangers back to your place, watch your wrist in public, don’t wear expensive watches in areas known for this type of theft or high crime, don’t wear nice watches out late at night in general, carry mace, carry a gun, always be aware of your surroundings.
We don’t have data the definitively proves watch theft is on the rise but considering murders and violent crimes have risen significantly during the pandemic, and also knowing that the watch theft stories keep being reported at a high rate, it’s safe to say that watch theft has in fact increased noticeably during the pandemic.
We’ve prepared a list of articles and stories related to the theft of watches that provide anecdotal evidence that may help prevent you from becoming a victim of watch theft.
My Seven Stolen Watches and the Worst Night of My Life
The Case of the Stolen Watch Detective
One crazy night at the strip club cost this guy his $600K watch
Two Men Charged With 11 Watch-Focused Robberies Around New York
Thieves Steal a $500,000 Richard Mille From an LA Jeweler in Broad Daylight
Safe Deposit Boxes Aren’t Safe
A gripping story about a Patek Philippe and a teenage conman
Photo of Richard Mille and John Simonian at LA boutique opening in 2011 by Professional Watches.