Thieves of time show refined taste

Thieves have given a new meaning to the adage that time is money, with the theft of 1,600 Swatch watches dating back to Swatch's earliest days, in 1983.

Nearly 2,000 of the chic functional watches have been travelling the world as part of a touring Swatch museum. A sealed container of them, valued at pounds 200,000, was unloaded last week in the Cyprus port of Limassol. Yesterday, however, the display cases were found to be almost empty. A Swatch spokeswoman described the loss as "extremely distressing". Perhaps most distressing of all for the manufacturers is that one watch has been left behind. It may have failed to meet the thieves' exacting street- fashion standards.

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