August has been a busy month in the fight against watch counterfeiters, as police in the United States and Mexico confiscated fake watches valued at millions of dollars.
In Los Angeles, more than 1,300 counterfeit watches were seized Aug. 8 by the Hollywood vice unit and members of a security-consulting firm at a building on Melrose Avenue. Fakes included counterfeits of Rolex, Tag Heuer, Breitling, and other brands, said police. A large amount of cash also was seized. At least one person was arrested for alleged felony possession of counterfeit goods.
In North Carolina, a policeman making a routine traffic stop arrested a driver heading from New York to Florida with counterfeit watches, handbags, sunglasses, and other items.
In Mexico City, some 20,000 fake Swiss watches were seized in an Aug. 8 raid that was a joint operation between local police and the regional office of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.
Jean-Daniel Pasche, FH president, told Swiss media the raid was part of a global strategy against counterfeiters, who annually cost the Swiss watch industry $634 million. The raid, he said, sends “a strong message to counterfeiters around the world that we are active and protecting our rights.” The Federation has also begun working with authorities in China, considered a leading country in the manufacture of fake goods.
In August in Shanghai, China, 3,000 English-language signs were put up by the city in street markets where cheap products, including watches and jewelry, are sold to people from around the globe seeking bargains. The signs warn that, “The rights of 40 world-famous brands are protected. Anyone who sees counterfeits of this on sale should report it to the police.”