Rolex watches are being targeted by casual and organised criminals because of the ease with which they can be sold for cash, leading to a dramatic rise in thefts from homes and people on the streets.
Almost 80,000 luxury watches valued at over £1 billion ($1.25bn) are currently recorded as lost or stolen by the Watch Register.
The value is likely to be a considerable under-estimate because some thefts or losses are not reported.
Rolex watches make up 44% of the total database at the Watch Register, with an estimated value of £440 million ($550 million).
Rolex’s Daytona, GMT and Oyster Perpetual models are the most frequently stolen because demand exceeds supply, waiting lists are so long at authorised dealers, and prices are high on the secondary market.
Omega and Breitling are ranked second and third on the Watch Register database in terms of the value and volume of watches lost or stolen.
Owners of luxury watches are encouraged to take out specialist insurance, which recognises the current value, not just the replacement price at retail.
They should also take high-resolution photographs with any dents and scratches are visible, record serial numbers and keep boxes and paperwork that prove ownership.
Authorities say that a third of stolen watches are found within six months and half within a year, and it makes it far easier to reunite timepieces with their owners if all details are recorded.
Dealers are also encouraged to check the Watch Register if they have any suspicious ahead of purchasing a luxury timepiece.