Big haul of counterfeit watches seized in Louisville

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville, Kentucky, have seized 2,168 counterfeit designer watches worth $26.9m at manufacturers' recommended selling prices.

The watches – which included knockoff Richard Mille and Rolex timepieces – originated from Hong Kong and Turkey and were destined for residential addresses in Florida and Michigan.

The most notable seizure contained 21 counterfeit Richard Mille watches that was destined for an address in Miami, which would have been worth $25.6m if the items had been authentic – an eye-watering $1.2m apiece.

The Swiss company’s creations start at around the $100,000 mark and can go up to millions of dollars for rare and exotic pieces like its sapphire-encased Tourbillon RM 56-02.

The other shipments contained 33 more counterfeit designer watches that would have been worth more than $1.3m if they were real.

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"This is a significant seizure for CBP, but unfortunately, CBP officers see counterfeit shipments like this every day," said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director, field operations for CBP in Chicago.

"Counterfeit goods like this, come in by the truck-load on a nightly basis all across the nation threatening businesses and conning the consumer," she added.

Fake watches and jewellery are one of the top seized counterfeit products by CBP, with more than a quarter of the counterfeit goods coming from Hong Kong.

Counterfeits in this category make up almost half of the total retail value of seized goods, an average of $650m over the last two years, said CBP in a statement. The total estimated value of seized counterfeit goods in fiscal 2020 was nearly $1.3bn.

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