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$160,000 watch stolen with a handshake

by Michael Weare
25 April, 2012
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Watch-thief

Moneysupermaket.com’s Rachael Miller reports on ways to insure and protect your valuable watch collection.

Luxury Swiss watches; lovely to look at, lovely to hold, but if lost, damaged or stolen, who picks up the bill? Think it can’t happen to you? Last week a man in Mayfair, London was robbed of a £100,000 Breguet Tourbillon,- one of only 60 in existence – in broad daylight when he shook hands with the thief.

That’s why, whether you have one valuable watch you treasure or a magnificent collection it’s vital to get them insured. Those who own or collect expensive watches are likely to rely on their contents insurance to ensure that their most treasured watches can be replaced or repaired without difficulty should they be stolen or damaged. But is contents insurance on its own sufficient?

Home Insurance

Watch collection

When expensive watches are stored at home, a good contents insurance policy ought to indemnify them. Accidental damage is a serious concern for watch collectors, but loss or theft can also cause problems if owners don’t have sufficient cover.

Standard contents cover should be enough for most watches, but the most expensive products can cost many thousands of pounds. Unfortunately, the level of cover provided by contents insurance is subject to various single item limits and adjusting them can cause an increase in premiums. It is possible that some watch collections might exceed the value of a contents policy, so collectors ought to be mindful of the possibility that their watches might not be completely covered at home and should look to purchase specialist insurance.

Specialist Insurance

Watches in the closet

Outside the home is an altogether different matter. Watches can sustain damage at any time – even the most robust and durable of designer watches can scratch, crack or break. Theft is another concern. Expensive watches are a common target of thieves, muggers and opportunist criminals. Obviously, contents insurance does not extend to the high street, so you’ll need to look into specialist insurance.

Specialists watch insurance can be obtained to protect expensive watches both in and outside the home. Policies of this kind are often purchased by people who wear high-quality, limited-edition designer watches on a regular basis. Insurance can cover all relevant costs associated with losing or damaging an expensive watch, so the insured person need not worry about exclusions in the majority of cases.

First and foremost you should get your watches valued. This will make it easier to make a claim should the worst happen. Ideally, keep all receipts for new and old watches together to prove their worth. If you haven’t got receipts, get an independent valuation done by an expert and keep this record safe should you need to show them to your insurer.

8 ways to beat burglars

Break-ins

To get the best deal on your watch insurance, you should prove to your insurer that you’re serious about keeping your collection safe. This includes storing them correctly in a safe part of your home, preferably somewhere which has a lock or a safe.

Update the locks on your doors and windows to insurer-approved locks such as five-lever mortis locks.

Install an alarm system and security lighting which could reduce your premiums by up to 7.5 per cent. Always check with your insurer first.

Check with your insurer what types of locks and alarms will offer the greatest discount before installing them.

Join a neighbourhood watch scheme. Again a possible 5 per cent could be knocked off your premium.

Take high res photographs of every angle of your watch collection and note down the model and serial numbers of the movement.

Use a UV invisible ink pen to protect your watches. The markings only show up under UV light, and can be easily identified if recovered.

In the event of a break in, camouflaging your watch collection in the closet is a great way to ensure its safety.

Reduce the risk of burglary by keeping valuable items including watches, out of site from people looking through your window and lock them away.

Don’t wear expensive watches during sport

Rafael Nadal and his $525,000 Richard Mille watch

Loss or accidental damage might also arise in other ways. Runners ought not to wear expensive watches while out jogging, while swimmers should take care when diving into the deep end – regardless of whether or not their watches are water resistant to a specified depth. Active games such as tennis can affect the expensive mechanical movement unless it’s really designed for the job. Or, you could just be unlucky, like Rafael Nadal a couple of years ago, and have your $525,000 Richard Mille watch stolen from your locker.

Aside from employing a little common sense once in a while, collectors and owners of expensive watches can protect and preserve their property by purchasing specially designed watch cases.

Finally, it’s important to read all terms and conditions before purchasing a home insurance policy so you can evaluate whether your watch collection is fully covered. Don’t leave it till it’s lost or stolen to find out.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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