In a world enamoured with luxury, high-end watches serve as both a mark of prestige and an enticing target for thieves. As these sophisticated timepieces rise in demand, the importance of expensive watch insurance becomes increasingly paramount. This article sheds light on the alarming numbers from The Watch Register and the evolving dynamics of luxury watch theft.
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- Over 80,000 watches, valued at £1 billion, are registered as stolen or missing on The Watch Register.
- 2022 recorded a 60% increase in missing or stolen watches compared to 2021.
- Rolex is the top stolen brand, trailed by Omega, Breitling, and Tag Heuer.
- Luxury watch thefts have occurred in over 90 countries, with England leading at 47%.
- Standalone expensive watch insurance offers comprehensive, worldwide coverage, but may come with higher premiums.
- Home insurance may offer a cost-effective option, but coverage specifics need careful review.
- Adequate insurance is paramount to protect the financial and sentimental value of luxury watches.
The Rise in Stolen Watches
The Watch Register’s alarming statistics paint a concerning picture.
A staggering 80,000 watches, cumulatively valued over £1 billion, have been registered as stolen or missing. The previous year (2022) saw 6,815 watches marked as lost or stolen, a significant leap of 60% compared to 2021.
These figures not only underline the growing allure of luxury watches but also emphasise the sophistication of thieves.
Many of the watches, particularly men’s models, have retail values ranging between £50,000 and £100,000.
The undeniable charm of these high-status timepieces makes them irresistible to criminals, reflecting their enhanced knowledge about reselling for maximum profit.
The Most Stolen Luxury Watch Brands
The database reveals intriguing insights when broken down by brand:
Rolex emerges as the most coveted brand among thieves, followed by Omega, Breitling, and Tag Heuer.
Global Expanse of Luxury Watch Thefts
The illicit trade in stolen watches isn’t limited to one continent or country.
Owners from across the globe register their missing timepieces, with over 90 countries featuring in the records:
This global trend highlights the necessity of keeping a record of the watch’s serial number, crucial for potential recovery.
Regions like the USA often overlook this crucial step, limiting the watch’s chance of retrieval.
A Word from the Experts
Katya Hills, Managing Director at The Watch Register, comments on the surge, stating, “The increasing number of stolen luxury watches serves as a stark reminder of the risks faced in safeguarding such high-value possessions.”
She further emphasises the importance of expensive watch insurance and advises owners to maintain records and photographs of their treasured timepieces.
Registering and Expensive Watch Insurance
Victims are encouraged to register their lost or stolen watches on The Watch Register.
This database aids various entities, from jewellers to auction houses, in identifying stolen items.
The company remains persistent in its search on the global pre-owned market until recovery. Remarkably, 35% of watches are found within six months of theft, and 50% within a year.
However, the registration process isn’t free. There’s a non-refundable fee of £15 +VAT per watch. If recovered, a 5% location fee is charged.
Ultimately it’s important to buy expensive watch insurance to safeguard against potential losses. With this insurance, should you be in the unfortunate position of having your watch stolen or if you lose it, then you will be able to make a claim directly with your insurance company or via your insurance broker.
Options to Buy Expensive Watch Insurance
Owning a luxury watch is not just about making a statement; it’s also about making a significant investment. As the incidence of theft rises, it’s essential to consider the best expensive watch insurance options available to you to ensure you can protect your precious timepiece. Here’s a breakdown considering a standalone policy or a policy via your home insurance:
- Standalone Watch Policy:
- Specialised Coverage: Tailored specifically, an expensive watch insurance policy usually offers broader coverage, catering to specific nuances like accidental damage or mechanical failures.
- Worldwide Coverage: Many standalone policies protect your watch internationally, ensuring peace of mind even when travelling. (Of course if you are travelling, don’t forget your travel insurance needs.)
- Immediate Valuation: These policies often facilitate prompt, expert valuations, ensuring you’re covered for the true value of your timepiece.
- Implication: While offering comprehensive coverage, standalone expensive watch insurance might come with a higher premium than generic policies.
- Included in Home Insurance:
- Convenient: If you already have a home insurance policy, adding your watch can be straightforward.
- Cost-Effective: It might be less expensive than a separate watch policy.
- Limitations: The coverage might not be as extensive. There could be sub-limits on jewellery or watches, which might not cover the full value of a high-end timepiece.
- Implication: It’s crucial to check the specifics of the home insurance policy and ensure the coverage is adequate. If the value of the watch exceeds the sub-limit, it might be underinsured.
Which type of expensive watch insurance policy though should you choose? Your choice between the two largely depends on the value of your watch, your budget for premiums, and where and how often you wear it.
If your luxury watch is a rare piece or holds significant sentimental value, a standalone policy might be best.
On the other hand, if you’re seeking a cost-effective solution and your home insurance offers satisfactory coverage, adding it to your existing policy could suffice.
As you consider home insurance, you may want to look at buying high value home insurance, depending on what your wider insurance needs are.
For example, if you have a high value house, coupled with maybe some antiques or artwork, as well as your expensive watch, you may be able to bring this under high value cover.
Always read the fine print, understand the claim process, and be aware of any exclusions. It’s not just about insuring your watch; it’s about ensuring peace of mind.
Due to the value of your expensive watch, and maybe other aspects of your home and belongings, you may find it of value to speak to an insurance broker to get more information and help for your specific needs.