BREAKING NEWS: Breitling Boutique In Basel Gets Ram Raided!

by Matt Clymo

Just ahead of Watches & Wonders 2024, the Breitling Boutique in Basel was robbed via a brazen ram raid at 4:30am with witnesses capturing it whilst waiting for the MoonSwatch

It seems that nowhere is off limits for criminals looking to make some cash, even near the watch capital of the world! In an Instagram post from Breitling CEO, Georges Kern, he showed the damage to the Breitling Boutique in Basel, Switzerland which occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning after thieves brazenly ram raided the boutique and stole a large sum of watches.

As you can see from the above post and images Georges has posted, it seems the boutique sustained substantial damage to the shop front as according to eye-witnesses, a silver BMW crashed into the boutique at approximately 4:30am (Basel time). Two men then proceeded to get out of the car and within several minutes, jumped back into the car with 2 bags appearing to be full of (assuming) a large sum of Breitling watches.

The aftermath of the robbery in Basel. Image courtesy of 20 minutes/news scout

The event was captured on video and witnesses took pictures as this occurred just a short distance away from the Swatch Boutique, which had eager MoonSwatch enthusiasts lining up in anticipation for the new Misson To Moonphase that dropped yesterday. One such witness reported this on Swiss news site with a video of the perpetrators jumping back into what appears to be a BMW station wagon after smashing their way through the storefront.

The damaged front door of the Breitling Boutique

Whilst Switzerland is a relatively safe place when it comes to theft, it’s still not immune to this type of crime, like anywhere in the world. Over the past few years, we’ve seen numerous reports of boutique smash and grabs, and of course, most people are familiar with the rise of personal watch theft post COVID in places like London and certain areas of Europe. However, much of this escalated over 2021 and 2022. According to London Metropolitan Police Data, person-to-person theft across the wider city is up 27% (as of December 2023), specifically in the Westminster district which rose 40% over the same time.

Thanks to Georges Kern for sharing on Instagram

London Police have since cracked down on this, with specific task forces being set up to combat watch thefts and orgainsed crime, which has resulted in watch thefts dropping across three boroughs in central London – down from 429 incidents over the March – October 2022 period, down to 361 in the same period in 2023, a decrease of 16%.* Whilst this could be attributed to fewer people wearing watches, we hope that this is more so due to the task force and crackdowns.

This is all ahead of the largest watch trade show in the world, Watches & Wonders 2024 happening in Geneva from the 9th to the 15th April, and it has caused the online watch community to question the safety of people with luxury timepieces on their wrists over the fair. We hope that this is an isolated incident, and people will be able to enjoy Watches & Wonders without any concern, we do hope that Breitling and the boutique staff can get back up and running as soon as possible. As at the time of writing this, Basel Police are still to apprehend the suspects or recover the stolen goods.

Watch Advice will be in Geneva covering all the action of Watches & Wonders 2024, so stay tuned and look out for all our coverage and dedicated section soon on the site and socials.

*London Metropolitan Police Data as reported in the Financial Times (India)

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