As watch thefts rise in London, brazen thief pulls off $2 million watch heist in MelbourneJamie Weiss
Watch theft is a prickly subject. On the one hand, I don’t want to be in the business of scaremongering, sensationalism or offending people or businesses that are the unfortunate victims of crime. At the same time, as an authority in the watch space, we have a responsibility to inform consumers about what’s going on in the watch world. for better or for worse – especially when something’s happened in our backyard.
Zach wrote a brilliant recap of a recent BBC investigative story and subsequent mini-documentary about watch theft in London for our ‘Recommended Reading’ column, which I highly recommend you do indeed read. London is increasingly developing an unfortunate reputation as a hotbed of watch theft, and the BBC’s investigation has gone further in exposing just how dire the problem is, interviewing members of the highly coordinated street gangs that target high-end watch owners.
In Australia, however, we don’t really have to worry about watch theft. We’re extremely coddled here in the Land Down Under: we have some of the lowest petty theft rates in the world, and most watch owners can navigate our biggest cities without fear of getting their Rollies staunched. However, Australia is not completely immune from watch theft – with one of Melbourne’s best-known watch shopping destinations becoming the target of a particularly brazen burglary earlier this week.
Chadstone Shopping Centre, the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere and a luxury shopping mecca, was recently the victim of a high-profile watch heist, with a single masked thief making off with watches worth an estimated total of A$2 million. The thief allegedly stole at least 30 timepieces in just 4 minutes from the Kennedy boutique, with a Victoria Police spokeswoman confirming that the offender smashed display cases and managed to escape with pieces from Franck Muller and Rolex.
CCTV footage allegedly captured the thief gaining access to Chadstone via the centre’s loading dock at 3 am on Sunday morning, with the solitary offender wearing an orange hi-vis vest and a mask. It’s been suggested that it might have been an inside job (which I doubt very much), or at the very least, the thief was someone who knew the layout of the centre intimately. However, with cameras covering just about every corner of Chadstone, we suspect it won’t be long until the thief is apprehended. My thoughts and sympathies are with the employees of the boutique.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Watch meme of the week: it’s all about the wrist game
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It’s just about time for me to go home for Christmas, where no doubt I’ll be catching up with friends and family whose lives are far more put together than mine and aren’t currently living in crisis mode… But you best damn believe I’ll have the coolest watch at the party.
Wrist shot of the week: an overlooked Omega
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Hairspring Watches’ Erik Gustafson has a knack for finding rare watches (and taking even rarer wrist shots) – I’m a fan of this snap of an Omega Cosmic ref. 2606 because it both shines a light on a little-known reference from one of the world’s most iconic watch brands and because it’s just a lovely shot. This example is fascinating: it’s got patina to die for, yes, but it’s also got day and month indications in Farsi. What a find.
Time+Tide Shop pick of the week: Doxa SUB 300β Caribbean
Doxa’s business model has become quite similar to that of Seiko, where they will sneakily announce a new series of watches through a higher-end limited edition. Usually, they differ only in materials or colours, keeping the overall layout and vibe the same – however, the new range of Doxa SUB 300β watches are very different to the SUB 300β Sharkhunter Limited Edition released back in August. With high-contrast accents replacing their iconic dial colours, the new Doxa SUB 300β introduces its first go at a wave dial. This Caribbean model is similar to the SUB 300β Seddiqi Limited Edition from Dubai Watch Week – but rather than a mother-of-pearl dial, it features a handsome, classic blue wave dial.
Our favourite Time+Tide coverage of the week
VIDEO: Czapek CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel tells the story of the Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue
Czapek is a brand with an incredible feel-good story and a manufacturer that finally seems to be getting the appreciation they deserve. While they’re far from a one-trick pony, one model is largely responsible for this – the Antarctique integrated-bracelet sports watch. Its intricate dials and excellent movement have granted it the waitlist status so many brands aspire towards, though Czapek aren’t ones to rest on their laurels. To celebrate their success, Czapek outfitted their sportiest model with a rattrapante chronograph, its third iteration the topic of the day. The Czapek Antarctique Chronograph Rattrapante Ice Blue was presented in 2022 as a subscription limited edition of 99 pieces, and though it has since sold out, we couldn’t miss bringing you this insight into one of the brand’s most complicated pieces, courtesy of Czapek’s charming CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel.
The biggest lies about watch collecting, according to you
If I had a penny for every opinion shared on watch social media over 24 hours, I could probably afford to buy the entire US$300M OAK collection off of Patrick Getreide’s hands. I love that there are so many people now ‘talking watches’, but this also means that there are a ton of armchair experts stating opinion as fact. There also seems to be a cultural rhetoric as to what it means to properly collect and wear watches, resulting in groupthink that is at times fair, and other times superstitious. So, we turned to you all and asked what you think are some of the biggest lies about watch collecting. Here is what you had to say, and Zach’s thoughts about each.
How does a watch dial turn tropical?
Throughout history, it’s generally been assumed that something is worth more when it’s in better condition. But just as pre-ripped jeans found their popularity in the 1970s, it’s becoming more and more common to prefer things aged. Well-weathered objects tell a story, and whether or not you think it’s cheating to replicate that look artificially, the human spirit latches on. In the realm of vintage watch collecting, ‘tropical’ watch dials only started gaining real traction in the 2000s, but now it’s something that manufacturers will imitate for a vintage aesthetic. But what exactly makes a watch dial turn tropical? Fergus explains this often misunderstood process here.