There are few other brands on the planet that carry the same sort of cultural capital as Rolex.
It’s the world’s best-known luxury brand, and the biggest watch brand on the planet. They’re not the rarest or most expensive watches out there (although they’re hardly cheap), but no other kind of watch screams ‘status symbol’ quite like a Rolex. Even people who know nothing about watches will recognise – and be impressed by – a Rolex.
The price you pay for this ubquity and prestige, however, is that Rolexes are frequently the target of thieves. Where other watches might fly under the radar of opportunistic thieves, Rolexes are so well-known and so easily identifiable that wearing one out in public can often come with a huge risk. But that’s hardly a revelation.
What is more of a revelation is how the last twelve months have seen a dramatic increase in watch thefts, particularly of Rolexes and particularly in the Los Angeles area. Perhaps it’s because of COVID, perhaps it’s because of the dramatic way Rolex prices have risen on the grey market over the last few years… It’s hard to say. But it’s got so bad that it’s lead some watch journalists to dub Rolexes “the world’s most dangerous watch”.
Watch some shocking footage of Rolex thieves in action below.
The trend has become so pronounced that it’s even got some of LA’s wealthiest watch collectors shelling out huge bucks for ‘superfakes’: fake Rolexes that are so hard to tell from the real thing that they’ll fool even seasoned watch collectors, let alone criminals.
“[They’ll] take a $200,000 Rolex and copy it, using stainless steel and other metals, so it looks like the original but costs maybe $2,000 to $3,000 per watch… In the event that it’s stolen, the client is out a lot less money,” LA-based luxury property manager Bryan Peele tells The Times.
Some of these superfakes can set you back hundreds if not thousands of dollars, sometimes getting close to the price of some (albiet lower-tier) real Rolexes. Isn’t that perverse…
Of course, there are easier ways to make sure your watch doesn’t get stolen. A good tip is to be cautious about sharing too many photos of any high-end watches you own on social media. Watch thieves can easily track you down and use knowledge of your location and daily routine to target you.
Stay safe out there.