Swiss Post accused of theft after ‘losing’ an 8,000-franc Rolex watch

A Rolex watch worth 8,000 francs (€7,271, $8,676), which was purchased on a Swiss online auction site and shipped to its owner by mail, mysteriously “disappeared” somewhere between Fribourg and Sedrun (GR).

Swiss Post accused of theft after 'losing' an 8,000-franc Rolex watch

The second-hand watch was headed to a buyer in the eastern canton of Graubünden, sometimes known as Grisons in English. 

When the buyer, who had spent just over 8,000 francs (€7,271, $8,676) on the purchase, opened the box, he found that it was bare. 

“At first the shock was huge” the self-described ‘watch fan’ told Swiss media

Packed in three nested boxes, it couldn’t have fallen out, Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported.

The mystery deepened as an internal postal document revealed that 120 grams  — exactly the weight of the watch — disappeared from the package between midnight in the Frauenfeld distribution centre and 3am in the Untervaz distribution centre.

Based on this evidence, the owner suspects that a postal employee stole the watch and sent the empty package onward.

“For me that means the package was opened by human hands and the watch was removed (before) everything (was) packed up again and sent.”

However, postal service denies any wrongdoing.

“I find it extremely unfortunate that the post office is actively looking the other way, even though they have a thief in their midst”, the watch’s owner said.

“This is someone who might open parcels and steal content every day. Also from other customers.”

The postal service said they have referred the matter to cantonal police. 

The seller sent the package as ‘registered’, which means that it is insured but only up to the value of 1,500 francs (€13,63, $1,626) – less than a quarter of the value of the watch. 

A spokesperson for Ricardo, the platform through which the watch was sent, said it recommended buyers take out a higher rate of insurance or pick up the goods in person. 

“Ricardo recommends its users, especially for high-priced items, to bid only for offers with registered, ie insured, shipments or where personal pick-up with cash payment from the provider is possible,” a spokesman told 20 Minutes

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Ticked off Rolex slaps Italian PM on wrist

Geneva-based Rolex has accused Matteo Renzi of damaging its brand after the Italian Prime Minister described protestors who ran amok in Milan last week as spoilt brats with a penchant for the Swiss company's luxury watches.

Ticked off Rolex slaps Italian PM on wrist
A demonstrator throws a smoke bomb to police in downtown Milan, during a demonstration against the Universal Exposition Expo Milano 2015. Photo: AFP

The claim was triggered by a photograph and video circulated on social media which showed one of the masked youths who smashed shop fronts and torched cars in protests against Expo 2015 apparently sporting a Rolex-style wrist piece.

In an open letter published in the form of adverts in Italian newspapers on Wednesday, Rolex's Italian boss Gianpaolo Marini demanded an apology from Renzi and interior minister Angelino Alfano.

"I have to express my profound regret and disappointment over your comments and their implicit association of window-breakers and the fact of wearing a Rolex watch on your wrist," Marini wrote.

He said there was no way it could be established that the vandal photographed had been wearing an authentic Rolex.

"Unfortunately your words had a huge echo and produced an unacceptable juxtaposition of the image of Rolex with the devastation of Milan and the world of subversive violence," Marini said.

It was the second time in a couple of months that Rolex has been in the news in Italy.

Former transport and infrastructure minister Maurizio Lupi was forced to resign over a scandal which partly centred on allegations his son had been given a Rolex as a gift by a businessman suspected of benefiting from corruption in public works tenders.

Rolex did not comment on that occasion.