LONDON — Three masked thieves stole 500,000 pounds, or $810,000 at current exchange, worth of luxury watches in 80 seconds from Selfridges’ Manchester Exchange Square outpost during busy trading on Wednesday night.


Shortly after 7:20 p.m., the men, dressed in high-visibility jackets and trousers, walked into the department store and then smashed cabinets with axes and crowbars, making off with approximately 100 high-end timepieces from brands including Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hublot and Cartier.


They made their escape via a black Mercedes-Benz, which was driven by a fourth member of the gang. The car was found abandoned shortly thereafter.


“This was a brazen robbery while the store was open and busy with members of the public,” said detective constable Adam Cronshaw of Greater Manchester Police in a statement. “It was clearly well planned and executed. These men were in and out in less than 80 seconds and were very particular about the watches they selected.”