Rolex Thefts Surge: $1.3 Billion Worth of Luxury Watches Stolen


The saga of stolen luxury watches continues, as timepieces valued at an astonishing $1.3 billion (£1 billion) have vanished in the past year. According to The Watch Register, an organization that assists in identifying stolen watches, there has been a 60% surge in such incidents during 2022 compared to the previous year.

Image courtesy: Vogue Scandinavia

With 80,000 luxury timepieces now registered as stolen or missing, The Watch Register continues to strive to help watch owners, dealers, and auction houses seeking to identify and recover their prized possessions, albeit for a fee. 

The company reported that in 2022, a staggering 6,815 watches were added to the list last year – a 60% increase compared to the previous 12-month period. 

During the pandemic, the secondary-market prices for elite models from brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet soared. However, mirroring this surge in value, watch they and criminal activity experienced an equally remarkable uptick. 

Image courtesy: Vogue

As a result, the watchful eyes of law enforcement were thankfully spurred into action as well. London’s Metropolitan Police Service launched a specialized operation to address the number of knife-point robberies, which had jumped to 60% between May and June. Meanwhile, in Paris, a dedicated police unit took decisive steps to stop the ever-growing wave of luxury watch theft, Bloomberg News reported in 2022. 

According to The Watch Register’s database, Rolex is the most frequently targeted brand, with 44% of timepieces being Rolex. Omega and Breitling follow closely behind. Katya Hills, The Watch Register’s managing director, said in a statement: 

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

Unfortunately, it appears as though luxury watch theft is continuing to rise. However, some brands are choosing to take innovative steps to address the issue. In April, Audemars Piguet announced a new service program that would last for two years. As part of this program, the company offered to replace any stolen watches belonging to its clients. This certainly offers some relief to those investing in luxury timepieces. 

Find out more at The Watch Register 

What are your thoughts on these luxury watch thefts? Do you feel safe wearing your Rolex? Let us know your thoughts.