Have you stopped to think what would happen if your watch were to be misplaced or lost? It's a situation that can happen to anyone, so I thought I'd share this email enquiry that I'd recently received about this very situation:
Just a superquick query - we found a Breitling watch on the street yesterday morning. My partner knew of the brand & that they were a good quality watch - and expensive! We handed it in to our local Police Station. My partner said there appeared to be some kind of number on the back....Is this number able to be used to track the owner? I'm horrified that someone has dropped such an expensive watch. It was close to the roadway, as if it had come off someone's wrist while getting into a car. There are 2 aged care homes nearby & we've dropped in there with negative results.
Many thanks in advance
First of all, you must be congratulated on your honesty! In your effort to locate the owner of the lost watch, you've gone way above your duty of care. Well done!
To answer your question: Unfortunately, numbers on the case back are not directly related to the owner. There are two lots of numbers on it: 1) The model reference number, which (in the case of Breitling watches) starts with a letter followed by 5 or more numbers. The second lot is the unique serial number.
It is always a good idea to record any numbers or text engraved on the case back of your watch. If it is lost or misplaced, this is crucial piece of evidence which will help in the identification of your watch.
Better still, have your watch valued and insured! Insurance valuation does not cost much (we gladly provide free insurance valuation for all watches we sell). In the unfortunate case of loss or theft, please contact Police and your insurance company promptly.
Back to your situation: We do hope that police will be able to trace the owner of the Breitling, however, if the watch remains unclaimed for a certain period of time, legally you will become it's owner. :-).
The police will contact you and you will have every right to claim it, keep it or sell it - assuming, of course, that it is a genuine Breitling.
More Lost & Found here
Some related stories sent in by one of our readers:
'Some years ago I was running along the beach at Kingscliff, northern NSW and found a watch lying in the sand. The watch was a diving model Tag Heuer – quite an expensive watch back then. Whilst I would have loved to keep the watch I knew the owner would have also loved to get it back so did the right thing and handed it in to a local police station.
Several months later I received a call from the police station to advise me the watch had not been claimed and I could pick it up – I was delighted! However, the following day I had another call from the police to advise me not to bother claiming the watch as it had been stolen, along with some other valuables, during an overnight break-in at the police station. Oh the disappointment!'
Another watch story that had a good ending follows:
'A good friend had his car broken into a couple of years ago at Byron Bay and had his 1970s Omega Seamaster stolen. Several months later a work colleague had his car stolen from the beach at Kingscliff (about 40 mins drive north of Byron). Months later, the police found this car in QLD and advised my colleague of the find and asked if he had lost an Omega Seamaster watch that was in the car’s glove box. On being told this story, I told my Byron Bay friend to contact the QLD police just in case it was the same thief and his watch. He did this and described the watch to the police – yes it was his – it had returned!'