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Thieves Raid Vacheron Constantin in Paris

Police say robbers struck at midday at the boutique on Rue de la Paix.

PARIS — Armed robbers stormed the new Vacheron Constantin boutique on the Rue de la Paix here in a dramatic midday smash-and-grab on Friday, according to police sources.

More than a dozen people, some masked, made off with about 20 high-end timepieces believed to be worth more than 1 million euros, or about $1.4 million at current exchange.

Two suspects were taken into custody on Friday and another three on Saturday, the sources said.

According to press reports, one sales associate was slightly injured by broken glass and taken to the hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss watch firm told WWD it was aware of the robbery, but declined to provide details pending the outcome of an investigation.

“Our focus is to take care of our team,” she said.

There’s been a spate of brazen jewel heists in recent months in various French cities, including Paris, Nice and Saint-Tropez.
 
Four more thefts of luxury timepieces were reported in Paris alone since Friday, the police sources confirmed. On Saturday, a man reaching out of a car window to extend its side-view mirror had his Patek Philippe stolen by someone who then fled on scooter. And in the night between Friday and Saturday, three other people were separately robbed of their watches, which were reportedly valued between 5,000 euros and 50,000 euros, or $6,780 to $67,800.

Paris has become one of the fastest-growing markets in the world for high-end watches, fueled by a stream of Asian tourists.

In the last 12 months, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, Baume & Mercier, IWC and A. Lange & Söhne have opened stores on Rue de la Paix.