Recent reports have highlighted the Met police’s success in catching criminals attempting to steal luxury watches in central London. But luxury watch theft remains high. Here’s our five steps for staying safe and reducing your risk of becoming a victim of watch crime.
1 Be vigilant when you’re out
The spike in luxury watch theft is mainly in high-end London boroughs such as Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham. But you should remain careful wherever you are. Remember, criminals often use spotters to identify people wearing valuable watches. They will follow a target, then call in the rest of the team to commit the crime. If you sense you are at risk, quickly move to a heavily populated area and seek assistance from police or security. There have also been instances of criminals following a victim to their home. If you believe you are being followed, call your estate security to meet you or contact the police.
2 Wear a less valuable watch in public
Criminals are knowledgeable about high-end watches and often target specific brands and models. When you’re out, you can help reduce the risk of theft by wearing a cheaper or lesser-known luxury watch brand that is not as desirable to them.
3 Wear on arrival
If you plan to wear your watch for the evening or a special function, consider taking a taxi or have a secured driver who can drop you directly at the door. This reduces the chance of a spotter or criminals committing the crime. If you’re walking to the venue, use a protective pouch and place the watch in your pocket or bag. Wearing long sleeves also helps keep the watch out of sight.
4 Be discreet on social media
There have been cases of targeted watch thefts from restaurants and homes. So, avoid tagging your whereabouts on social media, especially with your watch in view. Instead, wait until you have left the area before posting. Some timepiece brands use social media to grow their business by encouraging followers to tag their location with their watches. Doing this could increase the risk of being targeted by criminals.
5 Shop safely
If you’ve just bought a luxury watch, don’t advertise the fact. Use a non-branded bag when taking your purchase home. If you are planning a high-value shopping trip, consider taking a secured driver or close protection officer with you.
Ultimately, a watch is not worth getting injured for. If you are unfortunate enough to be a victim, we always recommend handing over the watch without a struggle. Make sure your watches are adequately insured, that you are covered for wear outside the home, and it is secured in a professionally installed and graded safe approved by your insurers.
Finally, we recommend registering your watch on The Watch Register; https://www.thewatchregister.com/, especially if it has sentimental value. The Watch Register database is the global leader for due diligence and crime prevention in the luxury watch market. They hold the world’s largest, most established, international database of lost, stolen and fake watches, containing data compiled over 30 years. They provide expert-audited theft checks for watch traders and buyers, as well as specialist watch recovery services to victims and insurer.
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