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Russia seizes luxury watches in response to Swiss sanctions

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Audemars Piquet

Russia has seized a bulk of luxury watches from Audemars Piquet, in what is thought a multi million dollar haul.

The timepieces were confiscated by Russia’s secret service, who cited the reason as customs violations, in response to Switzerland’s economic sanctions. Switzerland has also frozen the assets of wealthy Russians banking in its neutral territory.

Audemars Piguet’s watches are handcrafted in Switzerland, with starting prices just under 25,000 dollars ranging up to 800,000 dollars for more intricate pieces.

Switzerland, like its European neighours, has blocked luxury goods export to Russia, which includes high-end watches, jewellery and fashion. Sanctions are meant to put economic pressure on the Russian government to end the war in the Ukraine.

In 2021 Russia imported 280 million dollars of Swiss watches, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. It is currently the world’s 17th-largest market for luxury timepieces.

Audemars Piquet