Public safety campaign launched by prominent online auction house in response to surging watch thefts in the capital
Expensive luxury watches should be left at home or they could be stolen, owners have been warned by a digital billboard driven around west London mugging hotspots. Maya Blender
The public safety campaign was launched by Watch Collecting, a prominent online auction house, in response to the surging number of watch thefts in the capital this year.
Scotland Yard revealed over the summer that there had been 621 watches snatched between January and July, almost double the number reported in the same period in 2021.
The digital billboard has spent the past fortnight driving around some of the areas most regularly targeted by thieves, including Chelsea and Mayfair.
It flashed up several graphics including a map highlighting “watch theft hotspots” and an acronym for the word "watch", which says: “Wear it with care, avoid unnecessary risk, travel with a friend, cover it up, hand it over if threatened.”
Another graphic, over footage of a man taking a watch off his wrist, said: “Go bare if you don’t need it.”
Adrian Hailwood, the head of watches at Watch Collecting, told The Telegraph the company felt compelled to act after an increasing number of friends and colleagues were robbed.
He said: “What we felt was missing was information. It is all very well saying you’re raising awareness, but if you’re just posting videos of attacks happening, there is a danger of being alarmist in a way we didn’t think was particularly helpful.
“What we wanted to do was raise awareness - as a lot of people were blindly walking into this - and also lead people through the common sense steps you can take.
“We would like the police to catch everybody, but it’s not going to happen - it is the real world.
“We are not saying don’t own a watch, we are just saying be sensible.”
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