Significant increase in counterfeit watches

Counterfeit products are also becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. Watchfinder used to be able to identify about 80% of fake watches by sight alone, but now only 20%, he said. Employees at the company, part of Swiss luxury goods group Richemont, must now conduct more detailed inspections, including opening watch covers and inspecting movements to identify high-end replicas.

Counterfeit or replica luxury watches have become a growing problem in the €25 billion ($27.3 billion) annual second-hand watch market, with some counterfeit versions fooling even the most knowledgeable experts.

Swatch Group AG's Omega said last month that three former employees were involved in a criminal conspiracy to sell Omega Speedmaster "Frankenstein" watches, which were mostly sourced from other vintage brands. A combination of genuine replica watches parts.

The watch was sold at auction in 2021 for more than $3 million, the highest price ever paid for an Omega watch. The company itself was the buyer and said it was the victim of a criminal conspiracy.

Second-hand watch fraud is a growing phenomenon, with prices of previously the most sought-after models soaring to unprecedented levels during the pandemic before plummeting again.

Secondary market prices fell about 18% last year, according to the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index, which tracks the prices of 50 of the most traded luxury watch models, including Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Audemars Piguet).