Fake Watches

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  1. Losses to the Watch Industry Due to Fakes:$1 Billion

Fake Watches

News and information about fake watches for sale. Statisitcs about fake Rolex watches and other counterfeit Swiss watches are collected from security agencies, watch industry representatives and other public information sources.

Websites such as eBay offer empty Tiffany blue boxes for sale on their sites that are often counterfeit knockoffs.

The famous blue boxes of Tiffany & Co. are in high demand in the auction market. According to press reports, the boxes can cost between $10 to $30 on auction websites. Quartz interviewed one seller of empty boxes who stated that his empty Tiffany box had 13 bids on it. The final price of the box was sold for $15.50.

Another purchase on eBay found a set of six empty blue boxes, two gift bags and four white satin ribbons from Tiffany sold for $95.

According to eBay, selling a box from a retailer without an acutal product is not allowed.

Tiffany & Co. stated that the blue box is a registered trademark, and that many of the boxes offered for sale are fakes.

Source:  Antonia Massa, “Tiffany’s blue boxes are red hot on the black market,” Quartz, February 6, 2014.

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported that over 120,000 counterfeit Swiss watches were seized during anti-counterfeiting campaigns in 2013. In a single raid on a warehouse in Dubai, authorities seized about 90,000 fake Swiss watches.

In addition to the counterfeit watches, nearly 700,000 components used to make counterfeit Swiss watches were also seized during 2013.

The counterfeit watch industry is estimated to generate up to $1 Billion in sales each year.

The legitimate Swiss Watch Industry had exports worth $23.9 Billion in 2012.

Source:  “Fake watches crackdown deemed a success,” swissinfo.ch, December 27, 2013.

Romania’s Custom Service stated in a report that about 50 percent of all “brand name” products that are available for sale in retail shops in Romania are actually counterfeit.

Counterfeit goods from China enter the Romania market through smuggling routes that pass through Moldova and Ukraine.

Some of the items seized by security services in 2013 included thousands of counterfeit Bulgari, Patek Philippe and Rolex watches, as well as counterfeit cosmetics destined for the Britain market. Romania also has the highest number of counterfeit toys seized within its border each year.

The country has also become the starting point for smugglers moving contraband across European Union members. Fake luxury goods, smuggled tobacco and illicit drugs are smuggled from Turkey through Bulgaria and into Turkey on its way to various EU markets.

Source:  Jon Coates, “Britain to be hit with a flood of fake goods as migrants swarm in,” Sunday Express, November 24, 2013.


The regional manager for Virgin Megastore in Dubai stated that their industry believes that it losses between 20 to 30 percent of revenue due to counterfeiting and pirating activities in the Gulf Region.

Other companies in the region state that the loss to revenue could be as high as 60 percent due to counterfeiting.

In a single raid, investigators with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry found nearly 17,000 counterfeit Swiss watches in a private apartment in Dubai.

Source:  Shane McGinley, “10,000 fake watches seized in Dubai raid,” Arabian Business, January 10, 2013.

Between 2003 and 2011, authorities in the United Arab Emirates have seized over 200,000 counterfeit Casio watches within the country.

(Types of counterfeit goods sold worldwide.)

Source: “10,444 counterfeit watches seized,” Gulf Today, August 6, 2011.

A report found that almost half of foreign travelers from the United Kingdom purchased counterfeit goods while traveling abroad.

The most popular countries where counterfeit purchases took place were Greece, Turkey, Spain, Thailand and China.

The most popular counterfeit goods purchased by UK travelers was replica purses, followed by replica clothing, sunglasses, replica watches and jewelry.

Source: “Tourist traps: Over half of UK holidaymakers buy counterfeit goods abroad thinking they’re saving money,” Daily Mail, July 21, 2011.

A civil court case in New York demonstrated the supply chain and profits involved in the counterfeit watch industry.

A group imported fake watch parts from China for the price of 27 cents per watch. After assembling the counterfeit, the group then sold the watches to wholesalers at the price of $12 to $20 per watch. The wholesalers then sold the fake watches to street vendors for $20 to $35 per watch. The vendors then sold the watches to customers for various prices based on street bargaining, with some watches being sold for as much as $250.

Source: “Counterfeit Watches —the Mushroom War!,” Jewelry Insurance Issues, December 2006 Newsletter.

Counterfeit watches made up 4 percent of all counterfeit goods seizures made by the United States Customs and Border Patrol in Fiscal Year 2010. The domestic value (actual cost of the fake goods and NOT the retail price of the legitimate product) of the fake watches seized by authorities was $7,847,865.

The amount of counterfeit watches seized in FY 2010 was down from the previous year. In FY 2009, U.S. Customs seized $15,533,922 worth of fake watches, making up 6 percent of the total amount seized that fiscal year.

(More US security news.)

Source: “IPR Seizure Statistics: FY 2010,” United States Customs and Border Patrol, March 16, 2011.

According to KPMG’s Counterfeit Christmas Index Basket, a basket filled with counterfeit goods purchased in 11 major cities around the world was only 24 percent cheaper then a basket filled with the legitimate product.

The basket was filled with the following products, according to the Daily Finance:

  • DVD – movie in current Top 10 chart
  • CD – album in current top 10 chart
  • Counterfeit software
  • High end trainers
  • High end polo-shirt
  • Leading designer handbag
  • High end branded watch
  • High end sunglasses
  • Branded jeans
  • Good quality branded whiskey
  • Branded cigarettes

Source: Chris Wheal, “Counterfeit goods are more expensive,” Daily Finance, December 20, 2010.

The net profit of the estimated 40 million counterfeit watches sold each year is valued at roughly $1 billion.  The trade is equal to 6 percent of the Swiss Watch Industry’s exports.