New research from global crime prevention database The Watch Register reveals that many luxury watch owners are failing to address the need to insure their expensive items, which are at an increasing risk of being stolen.
The Watch Register, which has more than 80,000 stolen or lost watches registered and traced 620 last year, has seen a major escalation in violence used to steal watches on its database during the past two years. Metropolitan Police data shows more than 6,000 watches were stolen in London last year and around 11,035 across England and Wales with thefts increasingly turning violent.
Even celebs are not immune to the watch theft problem. F1 drivers, footballers, TV stars like Michael McIntyre and boxer Amir Khan have all victim to watch thieves. In the Khan incident a gun was used to make sure that the ex-boxer handed over his 70K Franck Muller wristwatch. There is a danger that weapons will be used more often as criminals feel confident that there is less chance of an armed response from the Police.
Although the boom in prices for pre-owned Rolex, Patek, Vacheron Constantin, Mille and other brands seems to have peaked, and values on the secondhand market are falling, these are still valuable items. Rolex in particular accounts for a large segment of the UK pre-owned watch market and it’s a brand loved by criminals too, as a badge of wealth and success rather than a timepiece. Other brands popular with criminals include Cartier and Hublot.
The Watch Register says that 32% of UK luxury watch owners have no specific insurance for their watch or watches. Just 35% have increased cover of their home insurance to include cover watches, since the average home policy doesn’t cover watches or items above £1500 in value.
Only 30% have taken out specific insurance policies for their luxury watches. When asked where insurance policies cover their watches, a quarter of owners (25%) said it was only at home, and almost a fifth (18%) said only when travelling. Just over half (53%) said their insurance policy would cover theft or loss both at home and when travelling.
Men are more likely than women to take out a separate insurance policy for their luxury watches, potentially because of the comparatively higher value of larger watches worn by men. More than a third (35%) of men had taken out a separate policy for their watches compared to 20% of women. Younger owners are also more likely to take out separate policies for their watches, with 60% of 18-24 year olds doing so, compared to 8% of those aged 65 plus.