Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How to spot a Fake Rolex

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How to spot a Fake Rolex

    Special thanks to Mr. C. Jarman for permission to use this content to better educate TURF members and help them in making a wiser buying decision!

    How Do You Spot A Fake Rolex?

    Even before deciding to publish The Rolex Reference Guide, I had this question on my mind. As a collector of watches, I have had limited experience with seeing, being offered and almost buying fake or replica Rolexes over the past decade. During the past year of offering the RRG to the public, I have received many inquiries from Rolex enthusiasts asking the same question. In this section, I will attempt to give some assistance to those inquiries.

    First, I want to state categorically that there is NO single answer to the question of how to spot a fake Rolex. There are any number of factors that can tell the tale. Also, not all statements made below about Rolex watches are true of every single watch (ie- quartz movements, dial markings, etc). In years gone by, the easiest way to spot a fake was by looking at the second hand. If it "ticked" instead of moving smoothly around the dial, it was a fake (with the noted exception of a few Rolex-made quartz & Tru-beat models). Today, it's an entirely different story.

    Modern precision machinery and computer technology have ushered in an era of very "good" replicas for many well-known products -- from high end audio to clothing, sunglasses and of course, watches. A few of the "best" fake Rolex timepieces include midrange ETA movements and karat gold plating. No matter how good the copy or quality of the movement or how thick the gold plating, there is only one genuine Rolex brand -- and only Montres Rolex SA makes it. Here are some ways to spot a fake or replica Rolex:

    DIALS, DATE & HANDS

    Minute & hour hands are too short
    (Rolex minute & second hands generally extend to the outer border of the dial's hour markings)

    Minute markers are excessive space from outer border of dial
    (Rolex markers are generally only a couple of millimeters from outer dial edge)

    Date not properly magnified in cyclops
    (Original Rolex cyclops magnify the date 2x; Cyclops lenses are never crooked on crystal; Some genuine Rolex watches have replacement crystals, so don't let this be a singularly definitive test)

    Crystals not synthetic sapphire
    (Modern Rolexes have synthetic sapphire crystals. You can use a thermo-conductive diamond tester to prove whether or not the crystal is glass or sapphire. Sapphire will produce results similar to diamond. Other glasses will not)

    Date does not rollover at midnight or rolls slowly
    (Generally, the date on modern Rolex watches will "click" over within 4 minutes of midnight)

    Wind-back test failure
    (Most Rolexes with date functions will "wind back" the date at around 6:00pm if the hands are run couterclockwise around the dial)

    Dial lettering is crooked, fuzzy, misspelled or wrong font
    (Rolex original dials have properly positioned, sharp lettering in a standard font)

    Non-working registers on chronograph models
    (Unless there is need for repair, non-working registers means the watch is a fake)

    Fourth hand non-working on GMT Master/II
    (Unless there is need for repair, non-working 4th hand means the watch is a fake)

    Excessive stones (diamonds, etc) on a non-Presidential model
    (This one is subjective, but let's face it -- Rolex doesn't put pave diamond dials in two-tone Datejusts as a rule)

    Second hand keeps on ticking when stem pulled out
    (Generally, the second hand on a genuine Rolex will stop when the stem is pulled out)

    Most replicas use glass crystals instead of synthetic sapphire.
    (Glass crystals tend to give off a greenish tint when viewed across the top. Synthetic sapphire is "crystal" clear.)

    BEZELS

    Two-color bezel inserts on Submariners
    (Submariners do not have two-color bezels)

    24 hour bezel inserts on Submariner
    (Submariner bezel inserts are all 60 minutes; with some having the first 15min marked individually)

    Bi-directional bezels on Submariners
    (Modern Submariner bezels are unidirectional only; Earlier models such as the 5513/5512 will have bi-directional bezels)

    Bezel turns on Daytona
    (On all models and versions of the Daytona, the bezel should be non-rotating)

    CASES & BRACELETS

    Incorrect case ref# on a two-tone or solid gold watch
    (It's hard to tell on many, but keep an eye open for converted SS models)

    No case reference or serial numbers between lugs
    (With the exception of vintage & dress models, modern Rolex oysters have a case ref# at the 12 o'clock end and serial number at the 6 o'clock end)

    Two-tone Presidential bracelets
    (Rolex "President" bands come only in 18K yellow, 18k rose, 18k white, Tridor [tricolor center links] or Platinum)

    Stainless steel or two-tone Day-date models
    (The Rolex Day-date [aka President] is made only in 18k yellow, 18k rose, 18k white or Platinum)

    Incorrect case thickness on Explorer II #1655
    (The correct case thickness is 5mm; Many converted GMT cases (4mm) are used to fake rare #1655's)

    Clear caseback
    (Rolex does not attach see-through or sapphire casebacks to their watches)

    Heavily hallmarked casebacks
    (Generally, there are no hallmarks or other markings on an original Rolex caseback. Some older models will have case ref# and/or serial numbers stamped on the outside or inside caseback)

    Diamonds on the side of a case
    (Rolex does not set any diamonds on the side of its cases; Some genuine Rolexes have diamonds on the top of the lugs, though)

    Karat gold cases without gold content hallmarks, but having the Rolex name are likely not authentic.
    Oyster & Jubilee bracelets are almost impossible to distinguish as original and authentic. Therefore, there are no other specific notations on them.

    MISCELLANEOUShttp://www.tcjj.com/rrg/
    Last edited by harb; 21st April 2009, 11:22 AM.

  • #2
    An illustrated guide;

    http://www.iq-enterprises.com/pages/...or_replica.htm

    Comment


    • #3
      Honestly, I have seen many fakes. Some of them are better then others, but non of them are good enough to be even compared to genuine Rolex.
      I actually had a guy arguing with me over this issue on eBay forum. He said that modern replicas are impossible to distinguish from a real thing....

      Well my friends, Rolex is Rolex. There is always a reason behind every price tag. Rolex is not overpriced. It really worth every penny you spend on it. The minute you handle any Rolex and any replica side by side - you will see drastic difference.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by WPDials View Post
        Honestly, I have seen many fakes. Some of them are better then others, but non of them are good enough to be even compared to genuine Rolex.
        I actually had a guy arguing with me over this issue on eBay forum. He said that modern replicas are impossible to distinguish from a real thing....

        Well my friends, Rolex is Rolex. There is always a reason behind every price tag. Rolex is not overpriced. It really worth every penny you spend on it. The minute you handle any Rolex and any replica side by side - you will see drastic difference.
        Most of the information in this thread is wildly out of date. Anyone who thinks they are protecting themselves against being sold a fake by the means listed is risking severe problems.
        I have worked very closely with the companies who make most of the high-end fakes for many years, and still do, for making fakes is not their only endevour. Most are very long established watch manufacturers. Their sophistication is rapidly increasing. They are making more and better, not less and poorer. The highly sophisticated CNC and CAD/CAM systems available to them, are enabling them to concentrate on very highly defined fakes of a very wide variety of watches, previously considered safe from them.
        It is very dangerous to confidently declare with a swagger, that you can spot a fake a mile away. You can't. Don't buy anything without full provenance, seller references, and a proper examination, of serial numbers etc. And even then proceed with extreme caution. Your only really safe bet, is a seller with a fine reputation.
        Last edited by Java; 2nd June 2010, 09:45 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          My believe is that if there is a watch company out there that can make good watches they won't create fakes. They just start their own brand of watches.

          I think a much bigger problem is an opportunity for consumer to buy very, VERY old Rolex fitted with low quality aftermarket parts. And company's reputation is not something that you can rely on these days - it can be bought.

          To illustrate my point type "rolex watch" in Google search. Look at the websites on the first page of organic Google search.... Are they reputable companies? They certainly do look like it, especially with reviews like "I just purchased a Rolex President for myself and will by another one for my wife and my dog, I am so happy! Thank you ... for making me so happy!". These companies spend thousands to look like "reputable Rolex dealers" and average consumers do fall for this. But ask them a serial number of a watch, ask them a model number, ask about what parts are "custom" and you'll see an entirely different picture.

          I am not saying every used Rolex dealer out there is the same. I know to guys personally who disclose every little detail of the watch that they sell. But these buys are exception from the rule.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by WPDials View Post
            My believe is that if there is a watch company out there that can make good watches they won't create fakes. They just start their own brand of watches.
            That may well be your belief, but it is wholly inaccurate. Very good watch companies , established , in some cases 100 years, do make fakes. I have visited them and watched (pun not intended) them being made. I think you underestimate the enormity of the market, and the profits made.
            Last edited by harb; 2nd June 2010, 04:27 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Java View Post
              That may well be your belief, but it is wholly inaccurate. Very good watch companies , established , in some cases 100 years, do make fakes. I have visited them and watched (pun not intended) them being made. I think you underestimate the enormity of the market, and the profits made.
              I was actually amazed when i started looking for my Sub recently. The replicas are selling for quite a few hundred pounds/dollars, and the dealers proudly provide details of the movement (often Swiss) and every other detail of the watch that they're "replicating". My assumption is that - as watches - what they're selling is of pretty good quality, albeit that it may not stack up against the original.

              What i don't understand is how this can be legal. or, if it isn't, how they can advertise so blatantly.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well. Maybe you are right. I just have never seen a Rolex fake good enough for me and my watchmaker to get puzzled about its origination.

                On the other hand... If a very well-established company makes a fake Rolex watch that looks and feels just like authentic Rolex, than they spend as much money on it as Rolex S.A. If so, this watch would cost as much as authentic Rolex. Maybe they can play a little with their profit margins, but the watches these companies manufacture will still have a very high production cost.

                Am I wrong?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by WPDials View Post
                  Honestly, I have seen many fakes. Some of them are better then others, but non of them are good enough to be even compared to genuine Rolex.
                  I actually had a guy arguing with me over this issue on eBay forum. He said that modern replicas are impossible to distinguish from a real thing....

                  Well my friends, Rolex is Rolex. There is always a reason behind every price tag. Rolex is not overpriced. It really worth every penny you spend on it. The minute you handle any Rolex and any replica side by side - you will see drastic difference.
                  I have to agree with Java on this matter. The fake manufacturers are becoming more clever by the day, and they will also monitor forums etc to see where they are going wrong with their designs.
                  I know of at least one WIS from another forum who bought what he thought was a genuine Sub. It had all the correct markings etc, except for one minor problem with the case.
                  When this was pointed out, it became evident that he had in fact purchased a Rolex Sub with a fake case.
                  If he could be fooled, what chance have the majority of the public?
                  One must be extremely careful in parting with a fair bit of cash, unless you are an expert and know every single detail of what you are purchasing.
                  The problem is, everyone loves a bargain, but in reality if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Java View Post
                    Your only really safe bet, is a seller with a fine reputation.
                    Exactly!

                    Originally posted by jcherskine View Post
                    ...if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
                    Exactly!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WPDials View Post
                      Well. Maybe you are right. I just have never seen a Rolex fake good enough for me and my watchmaker to get puzzled about its origination.

                      On the other hand... If a very well-established company makes a fake Rolex watch that looks and feels just like authentic Rolex, than they spend as much money on it as Rolex S.A. If so, this watch would cost as much as authentic Rolex. Maybe they can play a little with their profit margins, but the watches these companies manufacture will still have a very high production cost.

                      Am I wrong?
                      You are sort of right in a way. Much expense will be saved in the making of a fake. However, cleverly not all evidence of this saving, will be immediately visible. For example if a much cheaper grade of SS is used (typically 316l) then it may only be evident when the watch has had some wear.
                      The example I like to give is as follows. If you were to buy a Glass filled Ruby, unless you are very much an expert, you would not tell the difference from a correct natural Ruby. However put it in an ultra sonic cleaner 3 times and you will be left with a shredded heap of glass. Alternatively wear it for a few years and you will achieve the same. Much of the effort put in to the making of a fine watch, will not be necessarily, immediately apparent.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by learningtofly View Post
                        I was actually amazed when i started looking for my Sub recently. The replicas are selling for quite a few hundred pounds/dollars, and the dealers proudly provide details of the movement (often Swiss) and every other detail of the watch that they're "replicating". My assumption is that - as watches - what they're selling is of pretty good quality, albeit that it may not stack up against the original.

                        What i don't understand is how this can be legal. or, if it isn't, how they can advertise so blatantly.
                        The legal bit is interesting.
                        1
                        In some countries it only contravenes civil law, in that the rights to the product being copied belong to someone else. This in some countries, is regarded as a civil matter between the two parties.
                        2
                        If an attempt is made to pass the fake off as real, this contravenes the law in most countries (but not all) In most cases fakes are sold as fakes.
                        3
                        The internet is, by nature international. In practice the web site operator is bound by the laws in the country hosting.
                        very often these sites are hosted in one country, managed in another, and have fiscale existance in another. The money is often transacted by a third party specialist banker. Mauritius is favorite for such business at the moment.
                        4
                        The sellers are very mobile, the money changers (specialist off shore bankers) are very well connected and protected.

                        So the practice continues and will probably continue for a long time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is exactly what I thought.
                          Rolex imitators are cutting corners in order to make their products more affordable. It starts with lower grade metals, than cheaper technology, and etc.

                          And it comes to the point where it is very visible. Not to all, but to professionals.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WPDials View Post
                            This is exactly what I thought.
                            Rolex imitators are cutting corners in order to make their products more affordable. It starts with lower grade metals, than cheaper technology, and etc.

                            And it comes to the point where it is very visible. Not to all, but to professionals.
                            Professionals vary as much as fake watches. I have seen many professionals fooled by fake watches.

                            The only real defence for professionals is to circle the wagons. In other words keep the circle small and let in only people who have some proven credibility.
                            The only defence for the public is to deal with proven and established professionals, with a verifiable reputation.
                            This is why these forums and the Goodguys are so important.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Java View Post
                              This is why these forums and the Goodguys are so important.
                              I'm new here, so I hope this question doesn't offend, but -- who are the goodguys, and how can one be absolutely certain that they are good? If you buy a new Rolex, you are not going to get it examined or serviced for at least 5 years (9 in my case, and still counting). So a very good fake (say, with a highbeat ETA movement) isn't going to come to light for many years, by which time the "goodguy" may well have disappeared.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X