Watchmaster, one of the largest pre-owned traders in Europe, has had around 1,000 watches stolen from a secure facility in its home city of Berlin.
The company’s CEO Tim-Hendrick Meyer told local media that the watches from the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Breitling and others were worth in the region of €10 million.
Police were alerted last week after the facility on Fasanenstrasse, owned by Vallog GmbH, was broken into the prior weekend and safes leased by a number of customers were emptied by the thieves.
Vallog’s website currently has a single static page saying: “Due to the high volume of calls and emails, we are currently unable to respond to all inquiries promptly. As soon as we get new information, you will be informed immediately. Irrespective of this, all customers will be informed by us in the next few days to initiate further steps. The insurance company has already taken action to assess the damage. Again, there is no further information at this time. In the next few days, all damaged customers will receive a request from the police to provide the investigating LKA 443 with a detailed list of the damage”.
Watchmaster was storing both watches that it had bought in order to resell, and also watches placed on consignment by owners.
All watches are said to have been insured, but Mr Meyer told Berlin’s T-Online news site that Watchmaster was not yet in a position to tell customers when they would compensated as investigations continue.
More than 900 affected people were informed by Watchmaster last Wednesday, Mr Meyer says, adding: “Since then, many calls have come in. Our customers would like to receive payment security from Watchmaster. Unfortunately, we can’t give any details on this yet”.
Watchmaster was not the only business to suffer losses during the raid, which may turn out to be a bigger raid than in London’s Hatton Garden in 2015 when a similar safety deposit facility was broken into and goods worth in the region of £14 million were stolen.
As in the Hatton Garden raid, the robbers must have been well-organised and resourced because they managed to break through a secure 1.75 meter thick steel door, bypassed several other securely alarmed points of entry and an anti-theft fog system.