A 33-year-old Frenchman, entering Geneva’s Bardonnex border post at 13:30 one day at the end of January, driving a top-model sedan, was stopped by border guards. They proceeded to check his personal belongings, including a very expensive luxury brand watch. When they put the series number into their computer, it came up as a watch that was stolen in Basel in 2011.
The border guards then proceeded to do a more thorough search, as they do when stolen goods are found: a body search for the man and a “meticulously thorough search” of his car, according to a report today from the Swiss border guards office.
They also contacted the manufacturer, sending a photo of the watch – only to discover that it wasn’t actually the stolen watch, but it was a fake. Unfortunately for the buyer, the counterfeiters unwittingly used a real number from a watch that had been stolen.
Police point out that if they used this number on his watch, it could well be on others – if you have a cheap fake, you could still be in trouble.
Wearing or importing fake luxury brands into Switzerland is illegal. So while the Frenchman did not have to go to prison for theft, he is now being charged by the manufacturer, for buying the fake.