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A plane at Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt's main customs office have launched proceedings into 8,958 border seizures last year aloneImage: Daniel Kubirski/picture alliance

German airport officers seize over 2,000 fake luxury watches

Richard Connor
December 1, 2022

Officers' suspicions were aroused when they discovered an large shipment of apparent luxury watches in transit through Frankfurt Airport.


Frankfurt Airport on Thursday said officials had discovered a trove of 2,164 counterfeit luxury watches in a transit freight shipment.

Suspicions were aroused about the authenticity of such high-value items, which had arrived in a consignment from Hong Kong.

What customs officials said about the seizure

The twelve packages were on their way to Macedonia via the airport. If they had been original, the assorted brands of watches would be worth around 170 million (§176 million), thecustoms office said in a statement.

The discovery took place at the end of October, but the quality of the fakes was so high that the customs office had to confer with the 11 manufacturers whose brands were copied. 

"Often, counterfeits of watches cannot be recognized at first glance," said airport customs press officer Christie Strass. "We then check the goods for the counterfeiting features that the brand owners provide us with. The eleven original manufacturers concerned have already confirmed the suspicion of counterfeiting."

Strass said that the fake watches have already been destroyed. 

Last year, Frankfurt's main customs office launched proceedings into 8,958 border seizures.

The 265,086 counterfeit goods had a value of around €38 million ($40 million), with some 83% of the counterfeits coming from China.

Other countries of origin were Turkey, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. The spectrum ranges from watches, pharmaceuticals, cell phones, computer electronics, clothing, and shoes, as well as personal care products and toys for children.

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