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Luxury Watch Theft – How Common Is It, And What Sort of Insurance Do I Need?

Feb 24, 2023

A few stories of luxury watch theft have recently made the headlines.

The boxer Amir Khan had a £70k watch stolen at gunpoint. And footballer Raheem Sterling experienced an armed robbery in which burglars stole £300,000 in jewellery and watches.

Is Luxury Watch Theft On The Rise?

Unfortunately, it seems that luxury watch thefts are becoming more prevalent. According to a London Metropolitan Police report, there were 621 watch robberies in the first seven months of 2022 alone. That’s apparently a rise of 60% in recorded thefts.

And the problem isn’t limited to London, or even to the UK. There are reports that luxury watch theft is on the rise in big cities across the continent.

Why Are Thieves Targeting Luxury Watches?

Luxury watches are comparatively straightforward to steal. Once lifted, thieves can pocket them and run. After this, they’re very hard to trace, very easy to sell, and they’re only becoming more valuable.

There’s a “grey market” for second hand luxury watches. It largely exists online, outside of the usual retail channels. Few, if any, customers may realise that they’re buying stolen goods at highly inflated prices. For them, it’s simply an opportunity to avoid the long waiting lists that usually exist when buying luxury watches through official boutiques.

How Can I Protect My Luxury Watches?

There’s a few things you can do to make it less likely that thieves will target you for luxury watch theft.

Avoid wearing watching in public:
The most obvious course of action is to avoid wearing your watch in public – particularly in areas that are notorious for watch crime. For example, the recent spike in luxury watch theft mainly affected the high end boroughs of London, including Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith, and Fulham.
Consider buying a replica to wear in public. Also, try not to draw attention to yourself. Don’t post photos of your watch on social media, and try not to broadcast your movements. Not all thieves are opportunistic.

Sign up to the watch register:
Sign up to the Watch Register, an online database of lost and stolen watches. And keep hold of all the watch’s receipts, warranties and service documents. That way, you’ll find it easier to claim the watch for your own, if the need arises.

Keep them safe:
You should be thinking about where you keep your watches and whether they’re safe at home. For ideas on what you can do should the worst happen, be sure to check out our guide for preventing armed robberies at home, too.

Can I Get Insurance For My Luxury Watches?

Your standard home or contents insurance might cover theft or damage to the watch within your home. But the cover might not extend to when you leave the house. Also, not all home or contents insurance policies cover high value items. You can list your watch as a specified item, but this won’t be much help if the value of your watch increases during the policy period.

So instead, look for high value home insurance. Specialist insurance for your luxury watches can be tailored to cover the total replacement value of the watch based on current market trends, and they usually offer worldwide cover.

Specialist insurance also means you’ll receive expert support if you should need to make a claim. When it comes to covering luxury watches, you need an insurer who understands the intricacies of the watch market, and who appreciates that a watch’s value can fluctuate significantly.

If you work with Anthony Jones to arrange your insurance, we provide tailored risk management advice along with bespoke support for any claims you need to make.

This short video explains how we can help arrange High Net Worth insurance for your valued home and possessions including your luxury watches.

If you want to discuss your needs further, get in touch on 0208 290 9086 or email us at personal@anthonyjones.com.

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