Industry / Legal / Watches

Customs Seizes 460 Counterfeit Rolexes


In late April, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized two shipments filled with Rolex watches, all deemed to be counterfeit.

The shipments originated from Hong Kong and were headed to a residence in Brooklyn, N.Y., the CBP said.

The CBP officers discovered 300 counterfeit Rolex watches in the first shipment, and 160 counterfeit Rolex watches in the second. If the items had been genuine, the cumulative manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) would have been $10.1 million, according to a statement.

In its 2021 fiscal year, CBP seized 27,107 shipments of products that violated intellectual property rights. As has been the case historically, watches and jewelry were among the top products seized in terms of total MSRP value, with seizures valued at over $1.18 billion, representing 36% of the total, CPB said.

The handbags and wallets category—also traditionally a leading target of counterfeiters—came in second.

This is at least the second major jewelry-related seizure this year. In March, CBP officers in Louisville, Ky., seized $4.55 million in fake jewelry and watches, including items that were copies of such brands as Rolex, Bulgari, and Cartier. It also intercepted one package coming from the United Arab Emirates containing one Richard Mille watch, with an MSRP of $2 million, that was headed to a residence in California.

“No one buys a luxury brand watch expecting it to fail or fall apart,” said the CBP’s Chicago director of field operations, LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, in a statement. “As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the front line to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”

(Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

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By: Rob Bates

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