Let’s start with the moral of the story. If you own a watch valued at $800,000, it might be a good idea to not wear it in public—at least not in Paris. A Japanese business man wore just such a watch during a visit to Paris, where it was stolen from his wrist.
It happened during a stay at the Hotel Napoleon, which is near the famous Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees. The businessman had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette around 9:00 pm. On his wrist aws a Richard Mille Tourbillon Diamond Twister. The Swiss luxury timepiece is decorated with a diamond-covered spiral, contributing to its $800,000 value. Seeing an opportunity, the thief snatched the timepiece and made his getaway.
This isn’t the first such robbery to happen. CNN Travel reports that more than 70 luxury watches have been stolen in Paris of late. Thieves target luxury hotels and jewelry shops, often approaching victims to ask for a cigarette (reportedly this is how the thief absconded with the $800,000 watch) or to take a photo. Thieves will also bump the side mirror of a car to get the driver to stick his or her arm out the window to adjust the mirror. Others have resorted to violence, either punching the victim or knocking them off of a scooter. The thieves then sell the watches on the black market for 30 to 50 percent of the value. On a single day in July, thieves stole four watches, totaling €190,000 in value. Given the most recent theft’s value, the Paris police turned the case over to an organized crime task force. Le Parisien newspaper notes that experienced gangs are starting to get in on the action. “It’s a delinquency that is democratizing.”
So back to the moral. You can either not visit Paris—and who would want to take up that option?—or you can keep that nearly $1 million dollar watch safe and only wear it around the house.