Industry / Watches

Secondhand Site Watchmaster Goes Bankrupt Following Burglary


On Nov. 29, Watchmaster, an online pre-owned watch e-tailer based in Germany, filed for insolvency in the District Court of Charlottenburg, according to court records.

The filing came shortly after a reported Nov. 19 robbery of the company’s vault.

According to Berlin police, two men, who were disguised as workers for a security company, gained access to the vault company that housed Watchmaster’s inventory, spray-painting its video camera lens and setting a fire to cover their tracks.

Local media reported that some 1,000 watches were stolen, worth around 10 million euros.

“Investigations suggest that the men had prior knowledge of the location and the security precautions there,” said the Berlin police statement. “It can also be assumed that other unknown suspects were involved in the crime. It is obviously not a spontaneous crime.”

While Watchmaster’s website appeared to be up and functioning at publication time, a message on its Instagram account said, “Due to the security issue we had to face in Berlin, we had to suspend all actions to give us time to review our security protocol. We plan to come back online with new security protocol in the coming days.”

All of this has caused considerable anxiety among its customers, some of whom gave the company watches to sell on consignment.

A Watchmaster executive wrote, in response to a negative review on TrustPilot, “We do not anticipate the insolvency process to affect any insurance payouts.” He added, in response to a different review, “I cannot confirm at this stage any timescales or further details than the above as we are now working with the insurance company to get the matter to a resolution as swiftly as possible.”

Founded in 2015, the company has three physical boutiques: London, Paris, and Berlin. According to Crunchbase, it raised a total of $54.6 million in funding over nine rounds.

The company’s bankruptcy attorneys did not return requests for comment by publication time, and a message to its customer service email was not returned.

Top: One of the robbers caught in action during the Nov. 19 heist (photo courtesy of the Berlin police)

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By: Rob Bates

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