Luxury watch theft has become so rampant that Audemars Piguet whose timepieces start at $55,000 is offering a first of its kind warranty against theft

A Kuwaiti millionaire's Bugatti Chiron was smashed in broad daylight in London by theives for his expensive Rolex. Via Facebook / @Audemars Piguet

Over the last few years, there has been an alarming rise in thefts related to ultra-expensive and rare watches. The menace has become big that even well-known celebrities have been hit by such robberies. Last year, a $2 million Richard Mille was stolen from F1 superstar Charles Leclerc in Italy while he was walking on the streets of Viareggio with his friends. As this steep surge in watch-related crimes is adversely affecting the watchmaking industry, companies have been forced to find ways to tackle the situation. Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet has just announced a first-of-its-kind service program that guarantees to replace clients’ stolen watches.

Via Facebook / @Audemars Piguet

In an interview with Bloomberg, Chief executive officer François-Henry Bennahmias explained that the industry-first program by AP offers to replace, refund, or repair any stolen or damaged watch bought in 2022 or 2023 for two years. It’s a brave move by the company considering the fact that AP watches have an average price of CHF50,000 (about $55,000). “We listen to our clients and we have to look also at what’s going on in the world right now. We have important cities in Europe and in the US that are not as safe anymore,” said Bennahmias. “We have important cities in Europe and in the US that are not as safe anymore.”

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The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has been a hot favorite with collectors and sells for a hefty premium on reseller websites.Via Facebook / @Audemars Piguet

The CEO said any AP customer who bought a watch in 2022 or 2023 will be eligible to register with the program. All that’s needed is proof of purchase and the watch is still in possession of the buyer. Watches that have been resold won’t be eligible. If a watch guaranteed under the program is reported as stolen and verified by a police report, Audemars Piguet will offer the client a choice between a refund or a replacement of the watch. In case the watch is no longer in production, the company will offer a similar model in the current collection.

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Via Facebook / @Audemars Piguet

According to Bennahmias’ expectations, about 75% of eligible AP customers are likely to sign up for the program. Furthermore, he claims there could be as many as 100 claims from customers over two years along with a handful of attempts to defraud the company. “You cannot develop and offer these types of things thinking that everybody’s gonna abuse the system,” Bennahmias said.

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Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.