Why did the thieves of Barcelona fall in love with watches?

There is five watch brands more coveted senior than others, explains alabart with her son, nachosfrom the watchmaking workshop they both run in the center of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. It’s the machines that make the houses. Ricard Mille, rolex, Audemars Piguet, patek philippe Y Hublot. It is possible that such names mean little to the ordinary citizen, with the exception of Rolex. But they say a lot to the dozens of violent thieves operating in Barcelona. They look for these watches and when they find out, they snatch it from someone else’s wrist without hesitation. Sometimes, serious injuries result, as at Les Corts this Sunday: The victim had to undergo emergency surgery at the hospital. Bellvitge University Hospital.

For Mossos d’Esquadra has become one security issue, and they formed a unit specialized in the control of these watch thieves, taking the advice of experts like Alabart to combat these watch thieves. Although it is not a phenomenon that affects only Barcelona, ​​which is used to whipping itself more than necessary, such crimes have increased in recent weeks in parallel with the tourist explosion, as it is also seen in many touristic cities of Europe.

To understand why criminals are crazy about the most expensive watches on the market, you need to pay attention to the ocean currents of the global market, the Alabart details. “These houses limited series To keep them from getting rough on the clock.” This means that criminal networks, always looking for new business windows, have taken responsibility in recent years. to meet this demand with stolen watches.

Fixed value

prices moving in black market stolen watches are not necessarily less than their true value. “Sometimes you can pay more for an old watch than a new one because the waiting list is long,” the father and son insist. Unlike a house or a car, the watches of these brands are investment. A Rolex Daytonit could cost between 15 years ago 7,000 or 8,000 Albart argues that if it is in good condition and has the original box and serial number accreditation, it could easily double or even triple its price now on resale.

And there are parts that are much more expensive than a Rolex Daytona. The most expensive watch extorted in Barcelona in this newspaper, 360.000 €She was found stolen by the police on 13 May. But on a daily basis, it’s the agents who persecute them, both from Mossos and in plainclothes or uniform. Barcelona City GuardTake care of victims who are violently assaulted while walking in central Barcelona. Sometimes thieves take hours worth 200 euros but others find devices that are close to the device. 200.000 €.


As there is demand for high-end watches, value remains unchanged despite his criminal history. But this is something that goes far beyond the minds of the multiple repeat thieves roaming Barcelona. The only thing these young people, some of them minors, lack the skills of the Algerian-born specialists who operated in Paris a few years ago, know only that there are people willing to pay for these hours.

That’s the real problem, police sources from both Mossos and Urbana highlight: buyers who buys watches made by these robbers at a proportionally ridiculous price youthoften uprootedthose who tend to act as a group and ignore the harm they can do to the sometimes vulnerable victims. Explaining that no matter what the value of the watch is, the strap always breaking or the pin jumping is a safety precaution, Alabart thinks that if this were not the case, the damage to the victim would have been greater. case of being attacked by thieves or the clock getting stuck in the “elevator” or “subway door”.

traveling abroad

According to sources cited by El Periódico, a newspaper belonging to the Prensa Ibérica group, and this newspaper, ‘watchmakers’ can recognize the precious parts of dolls. richer visitors, thieves also make mistakes and attack citizens who wear regular watches. This is not normal. Their supervisors, sometimes the buyers themselves, confirm to them through a photograph whether the lens was a valuable watch before and how much they would pay for it. And if so, and the price is encouraging, they’ll risk approaching the owner, even in broad daylight if necessary, and eventually rip the watch off his wrist, police sources said.

There is another reason that explains the crime boom. Cell phones, which until recently were the main target of thieves in Barcelona, geolocation can be determined By the owners because they have GPS. Hours are not like that. “A man can go to the airport and board a plane without turning off the alarm at any check-in with 2 or 3 high-quality watches that can cost tens of thousands of euros,” explains Alabart.

Every watch has a serial number. Alabart recommends that this number be written down in a safe place in order to be able to prove its existence when making a complaint. However, the most expensive stolen watches travel abroad, to distant countries. dubaino ‘mosso’ can save them.

special unit

Aware that crime normality is returning at the same rate as tourism, moss They have formed a special unit to combat the alarming practice of watch theft. The group coordinates investigators’ joint work with police officers in the field. In essence, the unit works as follows: Pla Tremall against multiple recidivism In general: collecting information to obtain more detailed police reports, which means that arrests made by the police, which make arrests 24 hours a day, mean tougher action when the offenders are brought to trial.

Sources from the Barcelona police station, which placed uniformed and plain-clothed agents in the most troublesome spots, emphasized that “We have overcome this problem”. sample and old town. By focusing on watch thieves and above all who buys the watches they stole.

Source: Informacion


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