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Thread: Rolex Scarcity – A Criminal Conspiracy?

  1. #1
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Rolex Scarcity – A Criminal Conspiracy?



    Luxury watches keep gangsters ticking over as emergency cash, says Criminal Assets Bureau
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/l...reau-56mvsgrbv

    Criminal Assets Bureau says luxury watches are used as currency by drug dealers
    https://www.watchpro.com/criminal-as...-drug-dealers/

    And from one of my favourite sites, where I got it from:

    Rolex Scarcity – A Criminal Conspiracy?
    https://thetruthaboutwatches.com/202...al-conspiracy/

  2. #2
    Always thought it was an easy way to take a large amount of currency from one country to another so doesn’t surprise me in the slightest criminals would be doing it.

    Maybe crypto will be more widely used going forward though.

  3. #3
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    I'ver always suspected that this kind of thing is what drives the prices so far above retail. Simple lack of supply is too simplistic.

  4. #4
    Master
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    Could easily be stopped by chipping them, like we do with pets. Could be scanned crossing borders etc. They could build them into the movement so they can't be removed without destroying it.

  5. #5
    I thought you meant the crims.


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  6. #6
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    Legitimate sellers won't accept piles of cash in payment.

    However, the thousand intangible and untraceable "businesses" on Instagram, Facebook etc may not even be aware of AML / HVD laws.

    It seems that all one needs to be able to deal in millions of pounds' worth of watches are a social media account and a "multiple-mobile-phone" friend's AMG Mercedes to enable cheesy wrist-pics in front of the steering wheel ("get me trainers in, lad"), where observers cannot detect that one is outside "Pound Planet" and the vehicle stinks of weed.

    Couple of good investigations going on around the country ;-)

    To be clear, there are and have been some "respectable" names / bricks and mortar businesses which also fail criminally with regard to accepting too much cash.
    Last edited by Haywood_Milton; 10th June 2021 at 10:58.

  7. #7
    Master
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    Surely the point here isn't laundering as such, though it may go on. If you buy a watch with "clean" money it's highly transportable out of sight of relevant criminal and tax authorities.

  8. #8
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Rolex have been used as currency amongst the criminal elite for as long as I can remember. I remember seeing and reading about it decades ago so it’s definitely not responsible for the current shortage of supply.

    Also, drugs lords would surely be more likely to be buying PM watches rather than the cheaper SS models.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scepticalist View Post
    Surely the point here isn't laundering as such, though it may go on. If you buy a watch with "clean" money it's highly transportable out of sight of relevant criminal and tax authorities.
    It may be, but I have been involved (instructed by police, prosecutors, asset recovery teams etc) in dozens of these cases, identifying and valuing seized watches. Very often it starts with a watch dealer who has accepted more cash than he should, rather than a legitimate purchase made with funds that are apparently "clean". Proper enforcement against those who flagrantly ignore the rules would make it much harder for the baddies to obtain watches in the first place. As it is, "Kosher_Kettles" (est'd on Instagram 2020) (a fictional composite with no likeness to any specific person or business intended) facilitates the whole phenomenon when he accepts £25k in rolls of notes from a chap who can't explain whence it came.
    Last edited by Haywood_Milton; 10th June 2021 at 11:33.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHooky View Post
    I thought you meant the crims.


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    I was thinking of the watches, but why not the known crims as well. As for human rights, crims are not on the level of humans.
    Last edited by Tiny; 10th June 2021 at 14:35.

  11. #11
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Is what it is. Folk will always find alternatives to cash for criminal enterprise. Could be watches, diamonds, gold jewellery, art etc...

    The suggestion above about building an electronic chip into the Rolex movement I will assume is a joke..!

  12. #12
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    I can see the creation of Cryptowatches to really put these transactions under the radar ;)

  13. #13
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    I can see the creation of Cryptowatches to really put these transactions under the radar ;)
    Or we can create watch non-fungible tokens... apparently that's worth money now too. Odd world we live in!

  14. #14
    Is there any other small transportable trinket apart from a Rolex watch that has the same falsely inflated RRP and BS waiting lists (you can’t tell me they couldn’t produce lots more Submariners by producing less datejusts for example) - Hermes Birkin bags are all I can think off


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  15. #15
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Is there any other small transportable trinket apart from a Rolex watch that has the same falsely inflated RRP and BS waiting lists (you can’t tell me they couldn’t produce lots more Submariners by producing less datejusts for example) - Hermes Birkin bags are all I can think off


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    Can't think of anything as popular tbh.
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

  16. #16
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Is there any other small transportable trinket apart from a Rolex watch that has the same falsely inflated RRP and BS waiting lists (you can’t tell me they couldn’t produce lots more Submariners by producing less datejusts for example) - Hermes Birkin bags are all I can think off


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    Richard Mille

  17. #17
    Master spuds's Avatar
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    I know with absolute certainty that this goes on and exactly as HM said, the ‘culprit’ that I have specific knowledge of is indeed Instagram based.

  18. #18
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haywood_Milton View Post
    Legitimate sellers won't accept piles of cash in payment.

    However, the thousand intangible and untraceable "businesses" on Instagram, Facebook etc may not even be aware of AML / HVD laws.

    It seems that all one needs to be able to deal in millions of pounds' worth of watches are a social media account and a "multiple-mobile-phone" friend's AMG Mercedes to enable cheesy wrist-pics in front of the steering wheel ("get me trainers in, lad"), where observers cannot detect that one is outside "Pound Planet" and the vehicle stinks of weed.

    Couple of good investigations going on around the country ;-)

    To be clear, there are and have been some "respectable" names / bricks and mortar businesses which also fail criminally with regard to accepting too much cash.
    Nothing wrong in accepting cash ... I’ve bought a house with it in the past ... rocked up to a solicitor with 15 k to meet a Friday completion date ... wouldn’t buy a good Rolex now ....


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  19. #19
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    Well known for decades so why would it change anything now.

    Criminals have always dumped cash into luxury items.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitz View Post
    Nothing wrong in accepting cash ... I’ve bought a house with it in the past ... rocked up to a solicitor with 15 k to meet a Friday completion date ... wouldn’t buy a good Rolex now ....

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    Things have changed and if you try to pay big sums in cash now, or even if related parties turn up to pay cash in a series of smaller transactions that together exceed a certain threshold, you should be triggering various AML / HVD protocols. Any watch dealer who accepts £20,000 in cash without it triggering any sort of process is not meeting his legal responsibilities.

    We refuse cash payments above a certain (lower) limit and keep a "cash register" of significant cash payments in order to detect related transactions.

    Penalties for AML breaches can be severe and individual. I wonder if some fail to apply controls out of ignorance, greed or optimism.

  21. #21
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    As the Times article says... The watches are for "storing value" and as "running-away money". This is totally different to conducting business using the watches, as it allows time to legitimately acquire them.

  22. #22
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    These stories aren’t new though as I’ve read about this I’m the past - easy way to get money over borders etc.

    Also I recall about 20 years ago being out drinking one night and a local businessman who had owned various businesses over the years, wearing a sub which was the 1st time I’d seen a Rolex. He was quite hammered and boasted to everyone how he’d gone bankrupt a couple of times but always bought a Rolex as he’d have easy access to a couple of grand if he went bust.

    A couple of years later about 30 of us went to Vegas and he was on the trip. He bought a two tone blue sub in Tourneau on his credit card and joked that night that his latest business was in the sh1t!

    So I guess watches have been used for doing dodgy things for years!

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