US Customs and Border Patrol made a significant discovery after seizing a shipment from India, a counterfeit version of a scarce watch.
The watch, if authentic, would have been worth an astounding $3.78 million. According to CBP Chicago, watches and jewelry are the most commonly counterfeited items intercepted by customs officers, making this particular find unsurprising.
The shipment, which was headed to a residence in Palm Beach, Florida, shocked officers due to the estimated value and rarity of the watch.
The seized item was identified as a replica of the RM 88 Automatic Winding Tourbillon Smiley watch, a limited edition timepiece of which only 50 exist worldwide.
CBP stated that black market sellers attempted to replicate the Richard Mille RM 88 Smiley, but the counterfeit could be easily discerned upon closer examination.
The lack of fine details, unsatisfactory packaging, origin in India, and absence of insurance all contributed to the officer’s determination that the merchandise was fake.
Richard Mille Luxury Watches Targeted by Counterfeiters
Richard Mille, a French luxury watchmaker, produces just over 5,000 watches annually, costing an average of $250,000 per piece.
The brand is favored by celebrities, including Odell Beckham Jr., Ed Sheeran, Rafael Nadal, and Pharrell Williams.
Cincinnati Port Director Alrick Brooks emphasized the importance of supporting honest trade and cautioned consumers when purchasing products from unfamiliar online entities.
He noted that purchasing counterfeit goods enables criminal enterprises and funds illicit activities.
CBP officers intercepted a second shipment from Hong Kong bound for Mesquite, Texas, in a separate incident.
This package contained replicas of high-end brands like Rolex, Van Cleef, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton. The total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the seized watches and jewelry amounted to $846,695.
The confiscations emphasize the continuous struggle against counterfeit merchandise and remind authorities and consumers to maintain a state of alertness to combat illegal trade.
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