Anyone here got screwed ??? Hope not :-( .... .

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-12:44
Apparently you have to be careful what you take with you into the country.

Impressive story

 By: VinnieD : March 25th, 2019-13:42
Such a situation must feel depressing for the poor enthusiast.
But one has to admit that the customs need to do their job and the people they randomly check could very well be second hand watch dealers so the argument "it is an old watch" doesn't hold water.

I can only imagine the custom officers strategy to select their "targets":
- bearded/bespectacled? check
- flannel suit/shirt? check
- bronze watch on the wrist? check
- camera around the neck? check
- little suitcase/backpack? check
- American accent as well? ok, let's screen him!

Quite a different check list from the DEA officers at the NY airports!

Just read the post, do not want to defend the Swiss but...

 By: dedestexhes : March 25th, 2019-13:46
how would it be handled in the US or China? Not very clever to not declare watches you carry...
No prove he didn’t want to sell these watches which happens often.
I always am a bit suspicious about these stories....

Or is it just me becoming almost like a Swiss?


There has two be different applications to used “vintage” vs new

 By: Bill : March 25th, 2019-15:45
Sure i would find it suspicious if some was traveling with two or three sealed / new workers watches or even one with the box and materials. But vintage watches or for arguments sake 5-10 year old watch.

A new watch can clearly be evaluated as for its worth and you could argue a discount etc. In the case of having more than one and less than a year like new you could face issues but it would be possible to have access to records within reason.

But a vintage rolex you have owned for 25 years a watch purchased for $2000 in the 1990’s or 1980’s etc and now they decide to google snd say it is worth 15,000 how can you square that up. As a collector you may have an old omega and some other obscure sicura. Are you supposed to produce your records and sales invoice from 25 years ago. Even then the tule should be applied using retail price when new not market value. No way should current market value be assessed. Not to mention the fact that you are not a dealer by trade. They should have to prove it is your business to buy and sell. Or at least you should be able to say i am not a dealer.

Complicated stuff.

I do not agree ...

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:33
From day one when a new watch has been sold it should be free .... see my response to Dirk above.
Maybe this sounds like a very simplistic explanation .... and yes it is very simple but only fair as well.

One watch new on the wrist yes no tax.

 By: Bill : March 25th, 2019-20:49
4 new watches in your baggae from 2019 you look like a dealer planning to sell.
A vintage guy with four 30 year omd watches is not a dealer unless he is a dealer hiding the fact.

Maybe you ....

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:30
... already were a Belgian used to pay taxes , then became a European used to pay extra taxes and now a Swiss getting used to even pay more taxes 😂.
There are rules indeed, but who invents these rules ? Yup, the biggest thieves. Paying taxes or VAT on a 50 year old watch is plain ridiculous as the VAT has been or should have been payed 50 years ago.
Now i understand there is a business going on in these vintage watches and technically he who makes money out of this should pay taxes ..... maybe yes, maybe not .... as 50 years ago taxes already have been payed by the watchfactory and the dealer.
The customs people do their job and somebody apparently had a fantastic idea to play the game during Baselworld because the succes rate would be very high ..... sounds typical Belgian to me ... and Swiss for that matter ;-)

No matter what the story is

 By: ripper444 : March 25th, 2019-13:55
This is another reason not to attend this show and just read about it 10 min after doors open! Sucks for that person though. $4000 is a lot to throw away!

Why’s that, I’ve been confronted with US customs several times

 By: dedestexhes : March 25th, 2019-14:02
Not a very pleasant experience. We all just need to prepare for the local rules, makes sense?
Cheers, Dirk

Makes sense yes

 By: ripper444 : March 25th, 2019-15:09

This is a media “own goal” for the Swiss watch industry. [nt]

 By: Cpt Scarlet : March 25th, 2019-14:38
No message body

I guess they already made a lot of own goals, but ...

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:37
... they don’t care because they don’t have to.
People tend to forget easily so the show will go on.

Yes, it’s interesting that in the past they ...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : March 26th, 2019-02:01
Turned a blind eye to dubious financial transactions.

Pays to Know the Rules

 By: Steve E : March 25th, 2019-15:25
A couple years ago I had a trip to Singapore. I was planning to shop a bit and brought along a Nautilus to wear for that purpose. For less attention I also had an IWC 3705. Then I bought a new watch - a Tudor.

Next stop on the trip was Bangkok, and now that I had 3 watches with me I started wondering if there were any Thai immigration rules to know. Oh yes there sure were, and a bit late to be figuring out! I made it through immigration without a baggage search, but WOW, don't want to ever do that again.

It makes a lot of sense anytime one is headed overseas to check the rules and make no assumptions. Lesson learned.  

not yet..

 By: @lberti : March 25th, 2019-15:26
i was aware though.... a pitty what happened, but it does happen quite often....

I lived it myself, but not in Basel. On the way back to Paris from Jaeger Lecoultre. 1 hour and a half after, the case was closed, without fine, but hell, what a pain! I feel sorry for ...

 By: amanico : March 25th, 2019-15:28
The author of this article. 

Very sorry. But we have to thank him for this article. And for the reminder. 



Imagine having to pay ...

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:41
... a yearly tax on the extra value of your watch collection.
In Belgium it would be possible, but only if the value goes up. If value goes down they don’t pay back ... actually this is what happening in real life with real busines, you have a bad year you are screwed 😬.

That is damn pure madness. [nt]

 By: amanico : March 26th, 2019-10:56
No message body

Only for small businesses ...

 By: bimbeano : March 26th, 2019-14:38
When you run a one man show like i do you risk this kind of madness, if you have a ltd you can book profits or losses to another year ... or something like that smile ...

So I declare these are my personal watches and still have to pay 7.7% VAT then claim back later after leaving Switzerland?

 By: Clueless_Collector : March 25th, 2019-16:08
Or they will let people go after verifying the items?

From the article, personal item=commercial item....quite a setback for members who will attend oversea's GTGs in future.

Read closely ...

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:43
To get the VAT back is nearly impossible, and when he gets it back he will have to go straight past the German customs booth . Tehy will ask were he got these watches and probably be fined and have to pay import taxes as well because he probably cant prove where he bought the watches.
Welcome to the EU

I did read the part about him returning to Germany and possibly be questioned by German customs...

 By: Clueless_Collector : March 25th, 2019-18:52
but for tourist from US or Other non-EU countries where we leave from Switzerland back straight home, I wonder how this works.

Anyways, I’ll not travel to EU with more than 1 watch going forward.

Declaring my personal items seem ridiculous.

A friend of mine ...

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:59
... once came back from a flight from Switserland with a Rolex on the wrist.
He could not show them the purchase invoice because obviously why on earth would you carry it with you ?
So he had to send them the invoice with proof of payment ( in the EU) to them in order to avoid further complications.
Yes it was the only watch he had on him , on the wrist. This happened at Brussels Airport.

Moral of the story? I honestly don’t know 😂
Stay home ! 😂😂😂😂


I agree with you, just one watch when traveling. [nt]

 By: Cpt Scarlet : March 26th, 2019-02:03
No message body

Don't bring more than one watch. If you do you run a higher risk of being at the mercy of customs.

 By: nwk00 : March 25th, 2019-16:33
If you are a professional, you should know the need to declare ahead you are importing certain amount of watches with the intention of exporting them out at the end. Customs have forms for these. In years past I have read many casual collectors who did it with USA customs.

Customs are gate keepers and they will spot for anything unusual. In this society with less and less people wearing mechanical watches, if you carry a suitcase with watches, it's very difficult to explain yourself.

This has nothing to do with Baselworld but it's really a customs issue. I don't like how Baselworld is run but certain people seem to have an axe to grind with the company and took the opportunity to lump the two together. It's a personal political dick move(I am not talking about Fratello). And then you have the rest of non thinking people chiming in.

It's unfortunate that governments are tightening their grip on their customs for our little hobby. Maybe it's time we all have events in a safe and tax free haven like Hong Kong.

I simply don’t understand the policy rationale for putting a tariff on one’s personal property

 By: descartes1 : March 25th, 2019-17:51
Are they trying to create a disincentive to tourism? Or might it be that they have a better chance to sell visitors a watch if they are disincentivized from bring their own watches with them

It’s not only about the watches.

 By: bimbeano : March 25th, 2019-18:47
The EU got us used to pay taxes more than once on any thing, from cars to whatever is on the market. Buying and selling second hand items and then having to pay taxes on it is actually ridiculous, but i guess our leaders know better ;-)

It’s called a rip-off ! [nt]

 By: Cpt Scarlet : March 26th, 2019-02:06
No message body

I read this story as a question of context

 By: NickO : March 25th, 2019-18:23
Everyone who visits this site has a keen interest in watches, but we always have to remember we are very much in the minority. The average person thinks it’s crazy to spend over $500 on a watch. And that same person also thinks it’s crazy to own multiple watches. So if the average person owns one watch worth less than $500 then, yeah, it’s a little hard for them to understand why someone is carrying multiple thousands of dollars worth of watches and multiple pieces. Most customs officers fall into the average person category and not the watch nut category. This is just the long way of saying the assumption is always going to be you are carrying commercial product before personal property. I feel badly for the author but I’m not surprised by his experience.


Great read and a cautionary tale. So unfair. Thanks very much for sharing [nt]

 By: emcquillan : March 25th, 2019-20:39
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