Watchfinder & Co., reaffirms its leadership position in the industry, as it implements new actions, on top of their already robust authentication practices, to stamp out stolen watches from being resold. Additionally, the pre-owned specialist is calling upon competitors and collectors of all sizes to follow suit in order to ensure the resale of stolen watches becomes more difficult and in turn makes luxury watches less of a target for theft.
Luxury watch theft in the United States is reaching all-time highs, particularly in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, where, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, watch robberies more than doubled in the first six months of 2022 and in San Francisco, where the San Francisco Police Department issued a press release in July 2022 warning constituents about the up-tick in watch robberies, noting that they were actively investigating over 24 thefts since January 2022. Across the country, Americans are becoming more wary about purchasing and wearing their luxury timepieces. This has been further confirmed by a new Watchfinder & Co. research report in which 2,000 US consumers were interviewed and 53% noted an awareness of the increase in watch theft and that they have admittedly become more vigilant while wearing a luxury timepiece. 45% of those interviewed indicated they were looking for additional resources that would allow them to do more to protect their watches from theft. Overall, the concern is that many Americans are opting to leave their watches at home in the safe – the antithesis of what Watchfinder & Co. believes owning a watch should be about.
Watchfinder & Co. CEO, Arjen van de Vall states, “At Watchfinder, we believe watches are meant to be enjoyed, which is why after twenty years of operation, we are continually looking for ways to set industry standards and lead the pre-owned sector to new levels when it comes to the authentication and protection of our existing and future clients’ timepieces.”
After over twenty years of utilizing multiple resources to authenticate and verify incoming inventory for its lost or stolen status, Watchfinder & Co. is thrilled to add another step to their process as an inaugural partner of Enquirus, a global watch and jewelry registry database that is backed by Richemont. Launching with Watchfinder & Co. as their only pre-owned partner, Enquirus is designed in partnership with watch and jewelry manufacturers, as well as police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world and allows watch owners to register their timepiece free of charge on its database, making watches not only easier to track down and be returned to their rightful owner, but also harder to be resold on the secondary market. This will be good news to American consumers, as 80% of those surveyed by Watchfinder & Co. acknowledged that their stolen watch was never recovered and 63% believe it was likely resold after being stolen.
In effort to break the cycle, Watchfinder & Co. is calling upon the entire watch community to follow suit to ensure the industry-wide global theft epidemic is detoured. In a simple two-step call to action, Watchfinder & Co. is asking watch owners to always register their watch on a lost or stolen registry like Enquirus, which is free of charge and backed by manufacturers, law enforcement agencies and insurance companies around the world. In addition to this individual responsibility, Watchfinder & Co. is calling upon all competitors in the retailer space to always verify all incoming timepieces on the lost and stolen database prior to reselling. The leading pre-owned resource is also urging all consumers to only purchase through trusted retailers who are taking these steps to authenticate 100% of their inventory like Watchfinder & Co. has been doing since their launch in 2002.
“It is disturbing to see the rate at which watch thefts have been rising in the United States. At Watchfinder & Co., we’re hoping to break the cycle between theft and re-sale by encouraging all customers to register their timepieces, as well as inspire all other pre-owned retailers to implement thorough checking processes for their stock. With these steps in place, we can help ensure the pre-owned sector is a safe and trustworthy place to shop,” added van de Vall. He continued, “At Watchfinder & Co., we believe in the value of purchasing pre-owned, and pride ourselves on the procedures we’ve developed to provide customers with authentic timepieces they can treasure. With crime on the rise, it’s more important now than ever to purchase from trusted retailers. If considering a pre-owned purchase, do your research and check the retailer has thorough processes in place to trace and authenticate stock to give you peace of mind.”
This call to action by Watchfinder & Co. is being echoed by police officials throughout the United States. Donald De Lucca who has held multiple senior law enforcements posts throughout his career including serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Miami Beach for 26 years stated, “The lack of traceability around luxury watches has made them a prime and lucrative target for these career criminals.” He continues, “With companies like Watchfinder & Co. at the front lines of the stolen watch surge, their participation in Enquirus and leadership role will be vital in ensuring the unregulated cycle between watch theft and re-sale is broken.”