Ingenious or ignorant? To tackle the watch theft menace, the Italian tourism chief wants rich tourists to ditch their Rolexes and wear cheap and ugly $11 plastic watches instead.

Naples tourism chief Cesare Foa, suggesting visitors resort to wearing cheap plastic alternatives to avoid theft, reeks of defeat. Would he ask billionaires to shift to a paddle boat if their superyachts are pillaged? The president of the tour operators’ association, Aidit, expressed hotels could provide guests who come sauntering in with lovely luxury timepieces on their wrists with some cheap plastic alternative. In this manner, the guests can stay carefree, knowing their actual watches (that they have spent thousands or even millions on and enjoy wearing) can remain secured in some safe. At the same time, they parade an ugly $11 plastic piece all over town and, in all likelihood, on social media. As per CNN, Italian news agency ANSA reported last week that the French actor Daniel Auteuil recently had his luxury watch stolen in the area.

Via Instagram / @danielauteuiloff

Auteuil’s $41,250 Patek Philippe watch was stolen from his wrist by two people riding scooters while traveling in a taxi with the window open. Foa told CNN, “It’s important that tourists in Naples can enjoy tranquility and peace in the city, so hotels and the council could help to ensure that these guests feel safe and relaxed by giving them a plastic watch.” He should’ve stopped there, but the man continued, “The watches could be decorated; they could carry a symbol of Campania (the region in Italy of which Naples is the capital) on them and could be given as a gift to family members and friends.”

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Image used for representation only.

The ridiculous plastic watch suggestion was joined by another ignorant comment wherein Foa mentioned Naples had no theft problem and is no different from any other city in Italy. It is certainly no different and shares the same theft problem as a fan who robbed Formula 1 championship leader Charles Leclerc’s bespoke $320,000 Richard Mille watch while giving autographs in the Tuscan city of Viareggio a few weeks ago. A super-rich tourist from Azerbaijan suffered a similar fate in Ibiza when a pickpocket managed to steal a Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 worth $1.3 million. The list goes on, a Japanese businessman lost his $800,000 Richard Mille Tourbillon Diamond Twister when it was nicked from his wrist outside a five-star hotel in Paris.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.