After an eight-figure robbery, one of Europe’s leading dealers of pre-owned luxury watches has declared itself insolvent.
Watchmaster is a Berlin-based seller that offers watch collectors a marketplace to buy watches and helps sellers consign their timepieces. As a result, the brand houses a massive stock of timepieces awaiting inspection, valuation or sale. Last week, $10 million worth of that inventory were stolen from one of its high-security storage facilities in Berlin by a group of extremely savvy thieves.
Police arrived on the scene at the Fasanenstrasse storage facility in the heart of Berlin after reports of a break-in. The robbers, who the authorities say were clearly experienced and well-organized, were equipped with the resources to plow through a secure 1.75-meter-thick steel door, bypass multiple alarmed security points and navigate an anti-theft fog system.
The premier pre-owned retailer was not the only business to fall victim to the burglary but perhaps was the most largely affected. According to the company’s CEO Tim-Hendrik Meyer, roughly 1,000 watches were emptied from the safes, including models from brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet and Breitling, leaving them to contact more the 900 affected customers about the loss of their timepieces.
Watchmaster has since brought in an insolvency administrator to restructure the business. However, the company maintains that all its watches are insured and that the insolvency will have no impact on insurance claims for victims of the robbery.
This incident marks the third major robbery of luxury watches this year, following the gang of women thieves dubbed the Rolex Rippers in the UK this past January and the spate of Rolex robberies in the Bay Area in August. While the latest heist targeted a retailer as opposed to individuals, it’s a good reminder to keep your luxury watches safe and secure whether you’re home for the holidays or traveling abroad this season.