How to Survive Getting Mugged for Your Watch


I’ve been warning about the dangers of wearing an obviously expensive watch in public since I started this blog. (e.g., Watch Theft Prevention – Three Rules). If you think getting mugged for your watch can’t happen to you, you’re wrong. Here’s the full video . . .

If you accept the possibility of getting mugged for your watch – or generally – here are the three most important considerations for surviving this crime. (As always, no commissions on links.)

1. Don’t Get Mugged

I came to watches from firearms (The Truth About Guns). Gun folk have a simple rule for staying out of trouble: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. If any TWO of those are present – say you’re in a stupid place (a bar at 2am) and there are stupid people around (drunks) – leave.

Better yet, don’t go there in the first place (Nothing Good Happens After Midnight). But if you do, wear a daily driver rather than an expensive watch. And don’t kid yourself: bad things can happen in good places, too.

No matter where you’re wearing your gold Rollie, Patek anything, Richard Mille WTF or any other timepiece screaming I’M WORTH MONEY, situational awareness can save your life.

Play “spot the mugger” before you’re mugged and you can take evasive action. If you can’t escape, adapt, improvise, survive! I ran around my car to delay a mugger while I got out my gun (the knife-wielding perp soon fled).

Again, give ample consideration to NOT wearing an expensive watch in anything but the most secure situations.

2. Have a Weapon, Know How To Use It

If you’re thinking you can simply surrender your watch to a mugger and walk away unscathed, you may be right! You may also be dead.

Yes, you can and should fork over your expensive wrist-wear to a potentially violent mugger (they all answer to that description). No watch is worth your life. But, as Scar advised, be prepared!

If you’re a gun person, you don’t need me to explain your options, tactics or rights regarding armed defense against watch muggers. But since you asked . . .

I pocket carry a .380 caliber Ruger LCP II. It’s ideal for watch wearers who don’t want hot weather hassles and don’t have time to listen to people arguing about caliber and capacity.

If you don’t want to carry a firearm (or knife), fair enough. There are plenty of non-lethal alternatives.

TASER makes a stunning stun gun. For $400 (on Amazon), the TASER Pulse fires a wire and prongs delivering a 30-second jolt, giving you and your timepiece time to escape.

The Pulse is a bit big and law enforcement officials in gun-averse states won’t like (but can’t outlaw) a stun gun that looks like a firearm. On the positive side, the Pulse is extremely light and highly effective – although Fonzi and other leather-jacketed pervs/perps could be problem.

Less bulky and more practical: a tactical flashlight. Shine it in the bad guy’s eyes – day or night – and you’ll blind them long enough to scarper. You can also use it to put some interesting marks on their forehead.

One caveat: get a one-mode flashlight, like the 1000 lumen $20 Ultra-Fire above. You don’t want to be messing about with three of four different modes during an adrenaline dump.

Failing all that – or in addition to it – martial arts training is never a bad idea (Kobra-Kai excepted) If you don’t have the time or inclination to Kung Fu you, you can learn the basics of Krav Maga – Israeli self-defense – in a few sessions. Really.

3. After Action – Call the police

First, make sure you’re safe. You have no legal obligation to stay at the scene of the crime. If you feel unsafe, leave. If you’ve been assaulted, remember that adrenaline can render you insensitive to pain or bleeding. Check yourself for injuries.

Even if the watch mugging ends up being nothing more than an unauthorized watch transfer, always call the police. Insurance companies and justice demand it. If the muggers have your phone, Woody knows the score: GET ONE!

Give the dispatcher your name, location and description. Tell them you’ve been assaulted by how many attackers and what they stole. Describe the perpetrators and their direction. If you – or the perp(s) – need medical attention, ask for an ambulance.

Regardless of whether or not you used force, say “my life was in danger.” Do not stay on the phone. 911 operators try to extract as much information as possible, and anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.

Yeah it’s that kind of world. The question is, what kind of world do you live in? When it comes to getting mugged for your watch, ignoring the possibility is just as effective as being prepared for the worst. Right until it isn’t.


  1. #1 & #2 are the tops, not big on taser/stun guns as you need to be close to the perp, and reloading a taster is not easy. H2H training is a must. Keeping your S/A is super important.

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