Rudolf stole my Richard Mille wristwatch


It was not actually Rudolf the red nosed reindeer (we gave the story a Christmas twist), but a common or garden stag that has been blamed by a wealthy watch collector from England for the loss of his prized Richard Mille watch.

The watch disappeared from the owner’s home in 2018, and turned up earlier this year in Dubai. It was identified after its new owner sent it to be serviced in Geneva and its serial number flashed up as stolen.

Art Recovery International took up the case and arranged for the insurance company, which had paid out on a claim to the watch’s original owner, to take ownership of the Richard Mille, an RM 011.


Christopher Marrinello, CEO of Art Recovery International, and a leading legal expert on stolen luxury goods, described the sequence of events to The Times.

The original owner had told police that he had left the contents of a flooded basement, where his safe containing the watch was located, out in his garden to dry. The watch disappeared overnight from where he had left it.

The owner said a possible explanation was that a deer, which had been causing trouble in his garden previously, could have made off with the Richard Mille. “He said a large stag with antlers had been eating his flowers. He must have taken the watch and run off with it,” Mr Marinello described.

When the watch turned up in Richard Mille’s service centre, its Dubai-based owner was asked to account for how he bought it. He was unable to provide sufficient detail and paperwork, so chose to surrender the watch to Art Recovery International.

Mr Marrinello does not think the original owners was guilty of any sort of insurance fraud, but did question how the watch disappeared. “It’s fitting for Christmas, but I don’t buy this reindeer theory,” he told The Times.


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