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Thread: Found a Breitling on the street, how can I get it back to its owner?

  1. #1
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Found a Breitling on the street, how can I get it back to its owner?

    When we were leaving a restaurant in central London tonight my girlfriend spotted a watch on the pavement. It was a Breitling (a current model with a 4k rrp). One of the springbars had popped out but the strap was still attached on the deployant clasp. I asked around at the restaurant and nearby bar to see if anyone was looking for it. I'll be taking it to a police station in the morning but I am wondering if there is anything else I can do to attempt to find the owner, apart from posting here? I think I would be pretty gutted if I'd lost my watch like that!

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    Last edited by Rocket Man; 9th September 2022 at 05:41.

  2. #2
    If they've registered the warranty, maybe reporting it to Breitling could alert the owner?

  3. #3
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsan View Post
    If they've registered the warranty, maybe reporting it to Breitling could alert the owner?
    Good idea, I've emailed Breitling to ask if they can do this.

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  4. #4
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    The owner is lucky it was found by an honest watch lover like you!

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    The owner is lucky it was found by an honest watch lover like you!

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    Not many of that ilk now. Well done.

  6. #6
    Grand Master TaketheCannoli's Avatar
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    Indeed. The owner will be astonished Iím sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    The owner is lucky it was found by an honest watch lover like you!

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  7. #7
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    Wow! How lucky is that! It's mine.

    I have so many - remind me of which model it is please.

  8. #8
    Grand Master TaketheCannoli's Avatar
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    Any update Rocket Man?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    The owner is lucky it was found by an honest watch lover like you!
    Absolutely. Bravo. (Any update?)

  10. #10
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Breitling said they couldn't help but they thanked me for my honesty and my attempts to return the watch to its original owner.
    Last edited by Rocket Man; 2nd October 2022 at 11:25.

  11. #11
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    It may be a bit old fashioned of me, but I wonder if the local/nearest Police station still have a lost and found register?
    If I'd lost an identifiable (s/no) expensive item I would try and report it, not least to obtain a reference number to report to support my insurance claim. In the old days, someone would report its loss, someone would, hopefully, report finding it and it could be returned to the lawful owner. The added bonus is that as the watch always belongs to the looser, you would establish that you took all reasonable steps to return it to the owner rather than just keeping it. Obviously that's not applicable here as the OP has to his credit tried his best to reunite the watch with it's owner.
    Of course, you may not get past the first, probably phone call, with the local station, but it may be worth a try.

  12. #12
    Master pacifichrono's Avatar
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    I think it's yours, Rocket Man...you've earned it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
    It may be a bit old fashioned of me, but I wonder if the local/nearest Police station still have a lost and found register?
    If I'd lost an identifiable (s/no) expensive item I would try and report it, not least to obtain a reference number to report to support my insurance claim. In the old days, someone would report its loss, someone would, hopefully, report finding it and it could be returned to the lawful owner. The added bonus is that as the watch always belongs to the looser, you would establish that you took all reasonable steps to return it to the owner rather than just keeping it. Obviously that's not applicable here as the OP has to his credit tried his best to reunite the watch with it's owner.
    Of course, you may not get past the first, probably phone call, with the local station, but it may be worth a try.
    He does say he was going to the local station the next day

  14. #14
    Master
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    You are absolutely right, should have re-read the first post, must keep up at the back.

  15. #15
    What happens to the watch of no one claims it?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.chef View Post
    What happens to the watch of no one claims it?
    Interesting question.
    It looks like that since 2019, other than certain items (such as firearms etc), the Police are no longer responsible for lost/found items (cost saving exercise I guess).
    The OP has taken reasonable steps to trace the owner so can keep it.
    That being said, whilst he can have the use of it, I'm not sure that he can destroy it or sell it as I was always of the opinion that, following the principle of stolen property, it will always be the property of the owner (looser). The reason I say that is he could bump into the looser who recognises it and says "Hey, that's my watch, give it back". I've no doubt that, providing the OP was satisfied that person was actually the owner, he would return it. However not everyone would and there must be some law to protect the owner.

  17. #17
    Found this online. Not sure if true or not

    If you find something, hereís what you should do:
    1) Firstly, you should hand it in to the venue or transport provider where you found it.
    2) Or, if you find something in a public place (and itís not an item accepted by the police) then you must make a reasonable attempt to return it. This might involve: posting details on social media pages or putting up a notice in a local shop or business.
    If you have followed all of the above steps, the police have stated that you can then keep the property.

  18. #18
    OP,

    Kudos to you for your honesty.

    I've no idea of your knowledge or experience of the Breitling model but if it were me who'd found it I'd be putting photos of it on here to gauge whether it's a genuine or fake item.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  19. #19
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Update: My local police station weren't interested in taking the watch, they said that as I had made reasonable attempts to return it to the original owner then I could keep it.

    I've tried posting on Facebook lost and found groups but to no avail.

    I've paid for searches on The Watch register and CheckMEND and it's not been registered as lost or stolen.

    Having examined the watch more closely, it needs a lot of work - the glass is scratched, the case needs a refinish, it has sustained some damage to one of the lugs from being dropped and it is most likely in need of a movement service. It looks like the original owner wore it pretty hard and the drop didn't help.

    Breitling have confirmed that it is genuine and that a service would cost upwards of £500, probably more depending on the extent of refinishing work required.

    Breitling's aren't normally my thing but I do like this one.

    My understanding is that I am now legally entitled to keep it, however I think that I would feel uneasy about selling it and I'm not sure where I would stand legally if I did so.

    This found watch is turning out to be a bit of a headache TBH!
    Last edited by Rocket Man; 30th October 2022 at 13:26.

  20. #20
    Good on you for trying so hard to reunite it with its owner.

    It might be worth seeing if there's an indie that can service it and replace parts like the crystal? Breitling charge quite a premium for their services, but yours may be one that is easily sorted by an indie.

  21. #21
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Breitling do indeed charge a premium and the watch needs a lot of work!

    I've been quoted £1,227 for a complete movement service, new crystal, new case middle (due to a dink/dent on one of the lugs) and a new strap.

    Replacement of the marked middle case is £220, alternatively they could refinish it as part of the service but the case would remain marked:
    "Marked = the identity of the product is affected, and traces will remain clearly visible, even after refurbishment."

    Independents won't touch it because they can't get the parts from Breitling. I guess it would be as good as new when it comes back though.
    Last edited by Rocket Man; 19th November 2022 at 23:04.

  22. #22
    What model is it?

  23. #23
    Craftsman
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    Why donít you sell it on here and give the proceeds to the fundraiser?

    Itís clear that youíre a very honest person (as I hope most on here are) and that just keeping the watch is troubling your conscience.

  24. #24
    Grand Master TaketheCannoli's Avatar
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    Is that what you'd have done?

    Quote Originally Posted by FazerBoy View Post
    Why donít you sell it on here and give the proceeds to the fundraiser?

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
    Breitling do indeed charge a premium and the watch needs a lot of work!

    I've been quoted £1,227 for a complete movement service, new crystal, new case middle (due to a dink/dent on one of the lugs) and a new strap.

    Replacement of the marked middle case is £220, alternatively they could refinish it as part of the service but the case would remain marked:
    "Marked = the identity of the product is affected, and traces will remain clearly visible, even after refurbishment."

    Independents won't touch it because they can't get the parts from Breitling. I guess it would be as good as new when it comes back though.
    Sounds like a very expensive 'find' therefore! Unless you're really into the watch, I can totally understand the hesitation, especially given the dilemma if the person ever appears.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Is that what you'd have done?
    Yes, since you ask.

  27. #27
    Master murkeywaters's Avatar
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    Well done for trying to find the new owner, in my eyes that effort should clear your conscience of anything you want to do with it.

    My missus once found a very chunky gold curb bracelet at a petrol pump, after talking with the station and making arrangements the owner was found and my missus personally handed it over, they thanked her.

    Another occasion her relatives found a little black velvet bag in a posh hotel safe and it was filled with jewels, again owner was found and they got a thank you, neither times did the owners offer anything for returning their expensive goods, I say that from a standing that I would have made sure the honest individual was rewarded for making the effort and returning my goods.

  28. #28
    Well done for trying to find the owner. I am surprised Breitling wouldn't keep it until the owner emerges via insurance claim or similar ?

  29. #29
    About 20 years ago I found a wallet in a phone box which contained £1000 cash. There was some paperwork in the wallet that gave me the ladies address, which was only around the corner. I dropped it back to her and she gave me a tenner. I believe in karma with things like that. What goes around comes around.


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  30. #30
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stonewood View Post
    About 20 years ago I found a wallet in a phone box which contained £1000 cash. There was some paperwork in the wallet that gave me the ladies address, which was only around the corner. I dropped it back to her and she gave me a tenner. I believe in karma with things like that. What goes around comes around.

    Similar happened to me one Christmas in the supermarket carpark.On return to the car with all the Christmas shopping and quite thick snow,I noticed something a few inches into the snow as I opened the boot.
    A purse with a few hundred £s inside,only form of id was a local tanning studio.I called them giving the name and member No and asked them to pass my tel number to that person......all sorted within the hour and a very happy young lady.
    There are still some honest people that have the mind that if it happened to them all would end well.

    Some unfortunately aren't..

    Well done Rocket Man.




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  31. #31
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
    When we were leaving a restaurant in central London tonight my girlfriend spotted a watch on the pavement. It was a Breitling (a current model with a 4k rrp). One of the springbars had popped out but the strap was still attached on the deployant clasp. I asked around at the restaurant and nearby bar to see if anyone was looking for it. I'll be taking it to a police station in the morning but I am wondering if there is anything else I can do to attempt to find the owner, apart from posting here? I think I would be pretty gutted if I'd lost my watch like that!
    I’ve just discovered this forum and it’s great to know the effort you’ve taken to return this. I hope it ended well for you. Nice one.

  32. #32
    Master gregory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
    Update: My local police station weren't interested in taking the watch, they said that as I had made reasonable attempts to return it to the original owner then I could keep it.

    I've tried posting on Facebook lost and found groups but to no avail.

    I've paid for searches on The Watch register and CheckMEND and it's not been registered as lost or stolen.

    Having examined the watch more closely, it needs a lot of work - the glass is scratched, the case needs a refinish, it has sustained some damage to one of the lugs from being dropped and it is most likely in need of a movement service. It looks like the original owner wore it pretty hard and the drop didn't help.

    Breitling have confirmed that it is genuine and that a service would cost upwards of £500, probably more depending on the extent of refinishing work required.

    Breitling's aren't normally my thing but I do like this one.

    My understanding is that I am now legally entitled to keep it, however I think that I would feel uneasy about selling it and I'm not sure where I would stand legally if I did so.

    This found watch is turning out to be a bit of a headache TBH!

    As far as I concerned... you are a honest, upstanding member of society with absolute integrity.

    The police have told you to keep the watch.
    It IS yours now and I wouldn't object to that new ownership.

    I would pay £500 for it getting up to spec... and keep it. It is actually a nice memento of what you did here. A Breitling £4k watch for £500? Yeah... restore it and keep it. Don't worry about moving it on. It is what it is.


    Your story has upped my faith in human nature day. Thank you for sharing.

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