When news of almost 2,000 fake Rolex watches getting seized by customs officials surface, a business school teaching students how to detect counterfeit luxury products starts to make complete sense. Last year, CBP officers in Louisville, Ky., caught four shipments of imitation Rolex watches shipped from Hong Kong worth a total of $25.2 million at retail prices. This year, the numbers and amounts have literally doubled, and that too in one night! U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers of Port of Louisville snagged 32 shipments packed with counterfeit designer watches, mainly crowd-favorite Rolexes. Had these watches been genuine, they would easily be worth nearly $58 million.
One shipment included four counterfeit Richard Mille watches that are known for their luxury and detail. These watches alone would have been worth $766,000, and another shipment contained various fake designer watches worth $3 million. CBP officers seize counterfeit watches and jewelry every few months, and most of these shipments come from Hong Kong. According to usa.watchpro.com, LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, CBP Field Operations, Chicago stated, “Consumers should be aware that if a known high-value brand is being offered for a meager price, it could very well be fake. CBP encourages the use of reputable vendors for your valuable purchases. Our officers are dedicated to preventing counterfeiters from defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.”
While Rolex fakes rule the roost in the counterfeit market, genuine watches are quite the rage in Korea. Consumers are lining up to buy expensive, authentic Rolex watches that can make than a few months’ salaries on reselling in a single trade.