This brief has been updated.

Berlin-based luxury-watch marketplace WatchMaster is to resume trading after filling for bankruptcy when 1,000 timepieces worth more than €10 million ($10.5 million U.S.) were stolen from a vault in the German capital.

The company has shared more information following what it described as “what looks set to be one of the largest heists in Berlin in recent years.”

According to reports in Germany-based media, two robbers masquerading as security company employees broke into safe deposit boxes in a vault in Berlin’s FasanenStrasse on Nov. 19. The thieves sprayed security cameras with paint and attempted to start a fire to remove traces of the heist.

Acting on advice from police, its lawyers and insurers, WatchMaster moved to suspend trading on its platform while it conducted security checks. It said its Paris and London sites were unaffected.

The company said it had begun “preliminary insolvency proceedings in Germany for the protection of its creditors and to secure future operations.”

In a message to customers, it added, “To this end, preliminary insolvency practitioner Dr Philip Hacklander has been appointed by the court in Berlin. We are in a restructuring phase. He will now work with us to protect our creditors and, in parallel, work towards restoring day-to-day operations.”

WatchMaster said it would resume trading in Germany “with a view to ensuring we can maximize value for our creditors.”

Most of the stolen watches are believed to have belonged to customers of the site, who wanted to sell them on the platform, while some were the property of WatchMaster itself. Reports say the owners will be able to claim on insurance. However, this will cover only the purchase price of the watches and not marketing costs or the costs already incurred by the company for their preparation and certification — hence the deleterious impact on WatchMaster.

“Under these unexpected circumstances, the company is no longer able to make a positive going concern forecast. The incident is forcing us into bankruptcy,” it said in an earlier statement in the wake of the heist.

Founded in 2015 by Stephan Heller and Ronny Ahlswede, WatchMaster describes itself as “one of Europe’s largest major players in the trade of certified and pre-owned luxury watches.” It adds that it has served more than 28,000 customers to date, trading brands such as Rolex, Omega and Breitling.

With over 60 employees, it is active in seven markets. It is reported to have reached profitability in December 2020. The company has attracted more than €50 million in investment.

Competitors include WatchFinder and Chrono24.

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