Watches worth $3.4m seized from Dubai passenger at Delhi airport

Five Rolex Oyster Perpetual timepieces among customs haul

Stopped at the airport: the seven watches were found in the passenger's bag. Photo: Delhi Customs
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Watches worth an estimated $3.4 million have been seized from a jet passenger arriving in Delhi from Dubai.

An Indian citizen was arrested when the seven timepieces — some rare and others encrusted with jewels — were found in his hand luggage after he arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Customs officials opened investigations after the man was stopped and searched.

An American-made Jacob & Co watch was found, plus a Swiss Piaget timepiece and five Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches with a rare dial and bezel colour.

Designed in 1931, Rolex's Oyster Perpetual model has become desirable among collectors because of the limited number made.

An unworn 2022 model in perfect condition can fetch as much as Dh162,000 on the second-hand market.

About a million watches are made each year by the Swiss manufacturer, but consumer demand outstrips supply — particularly for rare models that often increase in value.

Customers often have to contend with lengthy waiting lists to buy the latest models from authorised retailers.

The Piaget Limelight Stella watch seized from the passenger in Delhi is a model typically worth about Dh120,000.

Although it is not clear what model of Jacob & Co watch was seized, some jewel-studded varieties can command a price of more than $3m.

Luxury watches imported into India are taxed at 18 per cent. Buyers must pay a further 10 per cent in customs duty.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 6:28 AM