One million counterfeit Swiss watches were confiscated around the globe in 2016, according to statistics released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The message to bargain hunters is that they should think twice before plunking down their hard-earned dollars on offers that seem too good to be true. The best protection against buying a fake is to work with an authorized dealer.
The majority of fake watches were seized in China, reports Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), adding that it does not mean other counterfeiting hubs don't exist. For example, 130,000 fakes were seized in Turkey, 70,000 in Dubai and 9,000 in Russia.
The FH has been working diligently to monitor the internet and social media networks for advertisements for fake watches. As a result, more than a million internet ads for fakes were removed last year. Since July 2008, Swiss customs has the right to seize counterfeit goods found on travelers entering the country, and it has been vigilant about doing so.
In 2015, Hong Kong and China accounted for 80% of all intercepted fake goods that had been shipped to Switzerland by mail, and Turkey was the leading destination from which travelers brought fake goods into Switzerland. The FH has also trained authorities to spot fakes in vulnerable spots around the world, including San Francisco, Dubai, London and other cities.
Buying from an authorized retail jeweler has never been more important.