Fear of Theft Has Some Watch Fans Leaving Their Best at Home

Police in London and Los Angeles report rising numbers of robberies involving expensive timepieces.

For the last six months, Troy Barmore has left a precious keepsake at home in Brooklyn when he rides the subway into Manhattan — a stainless steel Rolex Submariner watch that once belonged to his father and was passed along to him as a college graduation gift.

“I outright stopped wearing it on the subway,” he said, “not because of any specific incident per se, just because of a general feeling of, ‘I don’t want to draw attention to myself in that way.’”

Now Mr. Barmore, the communications manager for the RedBar Group, a watch collectors’ organization, usually

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