Rolex Danger! How To Stop the Epidemic

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Rolex danger

Rolex danger? You bet your life . . . “Three men pulled out guns and robbed [LA Lakers’ Guard] Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a terrifying incident in Los Angeles earlier this month,” tmz.com reports . . .

“The Lakers guard was in his driveway at around 4 a.m. talking with friends. Our sources say a car pulled up and three men then exited the vehicle with guns drawn. We’re told the men demanded KCP and his friends hand over their stuff which included a fancy Rolex watch, jewelry and an iPhone.”

As the founder and editor of The Truth About Guns, I was completely immersed in the world of self-defense. One of the most common shibboleths: nothing good happens past two a.m. True! Hanging out in your driveway at four a.m. is not a recipe for personal safety – especially if you’re a celebrity. Which, I assume, you’re not.

Kim Kardashian's Rolex danger

But don’t be blasé about Rolex danger. You know: “interesting story but it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not an NBA player or a Kardashian.”Wrong. This could be you.

If, that is, you wear an expensive watch. Specifically, a Rolex. A watch that attracts thugs like a porch light attracts moths. But not just a Rolex. nydailynews.com:

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

A pair of armed robbers took a man’s $41,000 wristwatch as he walked out of a Washington Heights salon, then shot at the victim after he tried to chase the thieves. “Just let it go,” one of the thieves told the 28-year-old victim after they ambushed him on W. 162nd St. near Broadway about 5:25 p.m. Monday.

They pistol-whipped him and took his $41,000 Audemars Piguet watch and a $5,000 Cuban gold-link chain necklace, cops said.The duo then got into a gray sedan and headed east on W. 162nd St., cops said. When the victim gave chase, one of the robbers fired off several rounds from the car window to scare him off, cops said. No one was hit.

Danny Pearce and Rolex danger

As a gun guy, let me assure you that bad guys shoot bullets at victims for the same reason good guys shoot bullets at bad guys: to stop them. Not warn. Stop. With extreme prejudice. But again, don’t get to thinking it wazzunt me. “I wouldn’t have chased the robbers. I would have emerged unscathed.”

You might want to read our previous posts about Rolex danger. If you’re pressed for time, check out Murdered for A Rolex – A Cautionary Tale.

The advice there is the same as the advice here: if you don’t want to put a target on your back (wrist), don’t wear a Rolex, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille or any other watch that screams MONEY. If you do, avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. Like the plague. And put your head on a swivel, as they say.

Rolex crown pendant (courtesy shopicydrip.com)

Now let’s talk about the manufacturers’ responsibility to combat this deadly – yes deadly – threat to their customers . . .

On one hand, they don’t have any. Caveat emptor. Buyer beware. It’s not Geneva’s job to protect against Rolex danger. It’s your job not to be a target and/or have some way to fight back against a robber (My take: a firearm where it’s allowed, Krav Maga where it’s not.)

On the other hand . . .

In the video above, watch dealer Paul Thorpe points out that Rolex used to have a public stolen and lost Rolex registry. Now they don’t. It’s restricted to authorized Rolex watch dealers. “Right now it’s impossible for independent watch dealers or members of the public to check any potential purchase against the official lost and stolen register.”

Mr. Thorpe ain’t just whistling Dixie (not a PC expression anymore, but you get my point). As long as there’s an easy market for stolen Rolex – and other high end timepieces – the “industry” of stealing them will continue. Actually, it’s getting worse; the pandemic pretty much eliminated the practice of carrying cash. A Rolex is now the mugger’s best friend.

Needless to say, all luxury watchmakers should have a publicly available register of lost and stolen watches. The reason they don’t? They don’t want to bring this epidemic to the public’s attention. They reckon a list of tens of thousands of stolen watches would ding sales. Profit before people. Like that.

Watch register - Rolex danger

Manufacturers might defend their inaction by pointing out that there is a U.K.-based stolen watch registry that “offers a database search service to retailers, pawnbrokers, jewellers, auction houses and collectors.” You can round down to zero the percentage of private buyers who use the service before purchasing a watch.

And no wonder. They have to stump-up $15 per search. In any case, The Watch Register – notice the lack of the word “stolen” in their name – reveals the astounding scope of the problem.

THE WATCH REGISTER database currently lists over 70,000 lost and stolen watches, and is growing rapidly. Watches by over 850 different brands, manufacturers and watchmakers are registered on the database, including Rolex (25,000), Omega, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Breitling, TAG Heuer, IWC, Franck Muller, Panerai, Breguet, Bremont, Hublot, Girard Perregaux, Piaget, Jaeger LeCoultre, Zenith, Richard Mille, A. Lange & Sohne, Baume & Mercier, etc. 

Stolen Rolex recovered!

The Watch Register claims to have located – not returned – 312 stolen watches in 2020. That’s less than half of one percent of the watches in the database. An infinitesimal percentage of the stolen watches not in the database.

Clearly, a free, searchable, manufacturer-run lost and stolen watch registry would be the most effective way to combat the market for purloined timepieces.

Unless and until watch blogs, buyers, dealers, insurance companies and law enforcement authorities demand such a database, it won’t happen. Leaving you with two options: don’t wear a Rolex or similar or be prepared for the possibility that your watch may cost you a lot more than money.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t even keep track of the watch muggings going on in NYC nowadays. I have to consult addresses to see if it’s a new story or not.
    https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2021/06/22/milton-grant-shot-dead-in-inwood/
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/see-it-man-shot-wounded-on-manhattan-street-by-muggers-going-for-his-watch/ar-AALvhm8
    https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2021/06/27/inwood-shooting-robbery-nypd/

    Doesn’t this all run counter to the argument that society no longer cares about traditional watches? Obviously there are people that would kill to get their hands on them!
    I’m more than a little skeptical about Bremont being on the stolen list. I feel they just wanted to be part of the club. They don’t really seem to fit in with the rest.

  2. I’m not even sure the luxury watchmakers don’t mind, or may possibly even appreciate that their goods get stolen and used as currency… it’s another sink/customer base for their wares. Once you make it harder to resell, by making robust databases of reported lost or stolen watches, then watches immediately become less attractive to a certain clientele who otherwise was taking them off the market, reducing supply, and increasing demand.

  3. The takeaway: Don’t drive an expensive car. Don’t live in a nice house. Don’t own the latest iPhone, or Apple headphones, and ideally, don’t have a wallet.

    Because you could get mugged. Not because “Rolex bruh, Rolex, danger Rolex danger clickbait Rolex death danger Rolex.”

    But because some people want your stuff and are willing to take it from you.

    Drive a rusty old Honda. Live in a dinky apartment. Don’t have a decent job so you won’t be tempted to have any assets that would immediately place you in ortal danger. Maybe imagine a gun is somehow going to protect you (love the self defense crowd, typically overweight wheezing American men in their 40s and up who love to imagine themselves being Jason Statham).

    And Rolex is bad, mmmkay? Can I get a job writing on this blog, guys?

    • So, really… who’s the one with such a stiffy for a Hollywood “hero” that he refers to him by the actor’s name? Project much? 😉

      Also… the argument to “drive a crappy car and live in a crappy house and get a crappy job” is Reductio Ad Absurdum. Look it up.

      I’ve had a Rolex for 17 years and honestly have never even thought about it attracting criminals. Fortunately, it hasn’t, yet. Until recently (when my collection multiplied like rabbits), I wore the Rolex daily for about 15 years.

      I’ve been licensed to carry for 27 years. I’ve never been in a situation where I thought I would have to draw. Ever. I’ve also never seen a single Jason Statham movie.

      As RF said… don’t go to stupid places with stupid people (doing stupid things at stupid times). I don’t. So, while I’ve never been in a situation where I was concerned about being targeted for my Rolex, I do realize that bad things can happen, even in “good places at good times” like dinner in the restaurant in the story in the embedded video.

      Every year, without being a Hollywood “hero,” hundreds of thousands to millions (depending on the source) of Americans successfully defend themselves against criminals with a firearm – in most cases never firing a shot. Sometimes firing shots… and historically far more accurately than the police in similar situations.

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