‘Rolex rippers’ placing rich house owners off flaunting luxurious watches

A spate of luxurious watch muggings in London is placing rich house owners off flaunting their wrist sweet – and could also be contributing to collapsing demand for high-end timepieces.  

The worth of secondhand watches, as tracked by the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index, is down greater than 40 per cent since its peak in April 2022. 

Major UK retailer Watches of Switzerland has seen its share worth drop by 53 per cent this 12 months after asserting it expects income to be 10 per cent decrease than forecast, whereas Richemont, proprietor of Cartier has mentioned half 12 months gross sales are down by 17 per cent. 

While the malaise comes amid a broader slowdown within the luxurious market, sellers and luxurious specialists admit ‘Rolex Rippers’ are an issue. 

Paul Thorpe, a former watch seller who now runs a YouTube channel devoted to luxurious watches, informed The Times: ‘People are simply fearful proper now. They see their luxurious watches as a possible mugging ready to occur. Why would you place your life on the road within the huge cities? Theft is just not the most important issue to falling demand however it’s a contributing issue.’

Roshan Clark, 18, poses with two stolen Rolex watches. He was part of a gang of London watch robbers

Roshan Clark, 18, poses with two stolen Rolex watches. He was a part of a gang of London watch robbers 

Footage of a watch robbery sting was revealed last month with street crime in the capital rising

Footage of a watch theft sting was revealed final month with road crime within the capital rising

Danny Pizzigoni, proprietor of The Watch Club within the West End, mentioned crime was prompting house owners to promote up. 

‘People are available in and so they say, ‘I wish to promote this gold Day-Date [Rolex] or this yellow gold [Philippe Patek] Nautilus as a result of I’m too scared to put on it,’ he mentioned. 

More than 6,000 luxurious watches have been stolen in London in 2022, though the Met declare say incidents have halved since officers started conducting undercover sting operations within the West End final 12 months.

Plain-clothed officers volunteered to exit sporting worthwhile timepieces after evaluation confirmed thieves have a tendency to focus on well-heeled victims leaving pubs and golf equipment between 11pm and 4am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in Soho, additionally a part of the Westminster district.

Over two operations, which ran from October 2022 to December 2022 and March 2023 to October 2023, 27 individuals have been arrested and subsequently charged. 

Of these, 21 have been convicted – with 14 sentenced to a complete of 26 years in jail. 

Last 12 months a gang accountable for a sequence of terrifying robberies at knifepoint in South West London have been convicted after police recovered a cellphone displaying them posing with stolen Rolexes. 

The group used a stolen BMW with false plates to hold out their crimes, threatening their victims with giant knives and machetes earlier than stealing gadgets together with watches and luggage. None of the stolen property has been recovered.

Roshan Clark, 19, was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months for his position within the gang. Michael Malik Ahmed, 29, Kaijuan Henry, 19, Jessy Ouma, 18, Zakariah Yusuf, 19, and Joseph Opoku, 19, have been sentenced to greater than 20 years in whole. 

Muggings of all sorts have tripled within the West End over the past two years, threatening to place off rich vacationers.  

New figures present the variety of thefts from an individual within the space round Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square elevated to 2,806 final 12 months, in comparison with 796 in 2021.

Theft, which incorporates pick-pocketing and shoplifting, presently makes up round 60 per cent of crime within the West End. The figures have been compiled by the Heart of London Business Alliance, which represents 600 native retailers, eating places and property house owners. 

Ros Morgan, chief government of the group, informed the Telegraph: ‘Retail crime within the West End isn’t just a risk to companies however to all the group and luxurious items aren’t any exception.

‘There was a major spike in shoplifting and a rising variety of thefts throughout the West End in 2023. We have lengthy referred to as for a higher police presence to discourage legal actions and instill a way of safety.’

Plain-clothed Metropolitan Police officers posed as victims to catch watch thieves in London

Plain-clothed Metropolitan Police officers posed as victims to catch watch thieves in London

Footage of a watch robbery sting was revealed last month with street crime in the capital rising

Footage of a watch theft sting was revealed final month with road crime within the capital rising

Nickie Aiken, the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, referred to as for extra police on the streets – as she warned the state of affairs had worsened for the reason that pandemic. 

High-profile businessman Devin Narang just lately used a summit with Labour’s shadow international secretary David Lammy to warn that Indian executives are pushing aside visiting London on account of their fears about falling sufferer to crime

Mr Narang mentioned: ‘People are being mugged within the coronary heart of London, in Mayfair – all CEOs in India have had an expertise of bodily mugging and the police not responding.’

The warning got here as British and Indian officers proceed to deliberate over a long-delayed new commerce deal following the UK’s 2016 determination to give up the European Union.

London’s road crime epidemic final 12 months noticed theft from an individual offences soar by 27 per cent in comparison with the earlier 12 months.

Metropolitan Police figures present there have been 72,756 of these crimes reported within the 12 months to 2023, up from 57,468 in 2022.

Moped and e-bike gangs have been recognized as prolific culprits.

Mr Narang informed the Financial Times: ‘Indians do carry costly issues, however the police not responding is a matter of concern.

‘London is a strolling metropolis – you do not wish to look over your shoulder on a regular basis. You do not wish to go to a metropolis the place you are prone to be mugged within the streets.

‘It would not make you are feeling comfy. You can stroll anyplace in Delhi and you will not be mugged.’

He claimed the police have been typically bored with such crimes or have been sluggish to reply.

Business leader Devin Narang has warned of Indian CEOs' fears about crime levels in the UK

Business chief Devin Narang has warned of Indian CEOs’ fears about crime ranges within the UK

In April 2022 former British boxing champion Amir Khan was accosted by a gunman who made off together with his custom-made £72,000 watch as he left a restaurant in east London.

And final July a machete-wielding teenager additionally focused broadcaster and former chorister Aled Jones, taking his £17,000 Rolex.

Scotland Yard revealed final month how a squad of undercover officers posing as victims carried out an unprecedented sting to seize the so-called Rolex Rippers accountable for a spate of violent watch muggings throughout the capital. 

The Mayor of London’s workplace mentioned: ‘The Met have stepped up their response to robberies – that are rising nationally – and have specialist groups out proactively concentrating on probably the most prolific offenders and theft hotspots.’