“During an inspection of an arriving shipment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville uncovered 10,500 counterfeit Casio watches worth more than $680,000.” That’s from the official press release. A little back-of-the-envelope math reveals that’s roughly $64.76 per watch. That estimate is a bit high for a watch that sells on Amazon for . . .
$20.49 (Casio A168W-1 Casio Illuminator). Granted, I couldn’t find a Casio quite as crappy as the fake.
But even if we value the faux Japanese digital timekeepers at a more realistic $10 a pop, the haul’s still worth over a hundred grand on the street. Here’s how the bust went down:
On September 29 a CBP officer in Louisville held a shipment, manifested as Abs watch, watch material, metal for timing. The parcel was inspected to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations.
When the shipment was opened Casio watches were found inside. The items were inspected by an import specialist who determined the items were counterfeit.
In all, 10,500 watches were seized. If these items were real, the total MSRP for these would have been $682,500. The packages were coming from Hong Kong and were going to one recipient in Laredo, Texas.
Just so you know, the CPB confiscated some 27,599 shipments last year. “Watches and jewelry represent 15 percent of all [Intellectual property rights] seizures, and continue to top the list of all seized IPR materials.”
It’s important to realize that not all fake watches are as easy to spot as the horrific Casios. In fact, ALL watches have fakes out there, including the highest of high end pieces.
Fake watches are a big problem, and not just for you. Their sale funds the worst of the worst criminal gangs (including terrorists) and it’s getting worse.
Hence eBay’s new Authenticity Guarantee. Which is limited: no smart watches, vintage watches, timepieces under $2k or watches that aren’t bought and sold in the United States. The seller sends the watch to eBay, who then authenticate it and send it on (if it’s the real McCoy).
The bad news: this process delays the sale. Ebay Authentication does NOT make any kind of determination on the watch’s condition. Just whether it’s real or fake.
As someone who bought a fake $2500 Ball Brotherhood pocket watch (the logo was a sticker) from a dealer who refused take responsibility, I can tell you that eBay is excellent at putting things right. This new plan is a major step forward.
If you do, Chrono24.com will “help you find the best possible solution together with the dealer. In the unlikely case that one can’t be found, you’ll receive a refund.”
If you’re not buying from a completely trustworthy source (e.g., an authorized dealer or well-known gray marketeer), it behooves you to have your purchase inspected immediately upon receipt.
Time is money. Even if you are able to recover your money after buying a fake, it won’t be a quick or easy process. You have been warned.