Who sells the best counterfeit watches

Illegal trade: It's that easy to buy fake watches on Facebook


Although the import and trade of counterfeit products is prohibited in Switzerland, these are openly offered on the Facebook marketplace.

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  • The trade and import of counterfeit products are prohibited in Switzerland.
  • Such products are openly offered in the Facebook marketplace.
  • B. T. * bought such a fake luxury watch.
  • Watch shops then didn't want to help him with the fake watch.

Own a luxury watch worth over 60,000 francs once in a lifetime. What top bankers and superstars can afford at most remains an impossible dream for most ordinary people. Reader reporter B. T. * did not want to do without his dream model despite the lack of change. He will quickly find what he is looking for in the Facebook marketplace.

A seller offers the object of his desire, a model from a well-known Swiss luxury watch brand. The product offered is a copy. T. says: “I wrote a private message to the seller on Facebook. The meeting then took place at noon in a public square. "

They walked a few steps together, and then T. was finally able to examine the watch: “I bought it for 200 francs. You could certainly buy them cheaper abroad, but that way I save the risk of getting caught at customs. "

Watchmaker refuses service

Because he wanted to shorten the watch strap, T. went looking for watch shops in Zurich. In the Hiltmann jewelery shop in Zurich, however, the dizziness was recognized after the watch was touched for the first time. Although the store itself does not carry the affected brand in its range, any service has been categorically rejected.

20 minutes later, Jürg Hiltmann, the owner of the jewelry shop, contacted him. He says: “As a watchmaker, I have a lot of professional pride. I think it's a mess that people are copying in the Far East and that our industry has to suffer as a result. If you steal a design, then you should at least leave out the brand. "

In the past he came across copies even more often, and he always had to justify himself if he refused his service. Since the law has banned the import of counterfeit products, there has also been a certain awareness among consumers.

It is only served in the fourth store

When going to the nearest specialist shop, according to T., the watch was examined with great interest and the counterfeit was described as “well made”, but a service was also refused there for fear of damage to its reputation. For the same reason, they did not want to use it in the next shop either.

It was not until the fourth attempt that T. was finally served in a watch store, despite the counterfeit. Although the owner's expression darkened when he held the fake watch in his hands, he shortened the watch strap for 20 francs.

The legal situation in Switzerland

If the customs authorities discover large consignments that are suspected of being trying to import counterfeits into Switzerland on a commercial basis, the state must take action ex officio. Wholesalers face five years in prison or a fine of up to 1.08 million francs.

The situation is different with Internet auction houses, where private sellers and small dealers also try to sell counterfeit watches. The right holder of the trademark concerned must take action here.

The watch industry is looking for online retailers

Yves Brouze, Head of Online Enforcement at the Association of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, is searching specifically for providers of fake watches on the Internet. He explains why it is so difficult to put an end to the illegal activity: "If we discover such an advertisement, it is up to us to report it to the Internet auction house concerned."

The dealers use all sorts of tricks to prevent image software from recognizing the fakes. “This includes, for example, making the brand name unrecognizable in the photo of the product. In addition, the providers do not advertise with the brand, but use code words. "

"We take legal action"

“If we discover that someone repeatedly and on a large scale offers counterfeit watches, we try to track down this person and take legal action against them. We also work closely with the Stop Piracy association, which uses campaigns and the public destruction of counterfeit products to bring the problem into the public eye, ”says Yves Brouze. He also emphasizes that the association is in close contact with Facebook and that the cooperation is working well.
* Name known to the editor

Watch industry in Switzerland

Swiss luxury watches are not only a status symbol, the local watch industry is above all an important branch of the economy. In 2019, Swiss watchmakers exported watches worth more than CHF 21 billion. The industry employs around 60,000 people in Switzerland and invests millions in research, advertising and sponsoring. It is estimated that for every Swiss watch produced, one counterfeit is produced at the same time somewhere in the world. The watch industry loses billions of euros in revenue every year. Although the major Swiss Internet auction houses point out in their terms and conditions that advertisements in which fake items are offered are prohibited and will be deleted, according to the Association of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, offers of fake watches continue to slip through Safety nets.