If you have a low budget, your desired luxury watch may not seem in reach and it can be all too tempting to go for a second hand, cheap or even fake one. These days counterfeit watches are so detailed that it can take an expert to spot if they are bogus.
Today, search engines are being pressured to remove or reduce the relevancy of websites that offer in favor of legitimate retailers. But the larger concern is not the sheer availability of counterfeits but rather the unknowing consumer accidentally buying one.
So, if you haven’t got the cash to buy a brand new watch, here are some things to look for when shopping for some of the world’s most renowned branded timepieces. The key thing to remember is the price tag. If it seems to be cheap to be true, it probably is.
Unfortunately, there is a massive market for fake watches with many models being created in China and Asia and selling with typical asking prices of between £1000 to £2000. The Datejust and Submariner models are desirable targets for these with even experienced dealers getting fooled by bogus models.
- Serial and case reference numbers – Rolex always engraves these intricately on the side of the case between the lugs. Fakes tend to have large lettering or use the same number across many watches instead of a unique number for each. Above, the left watch is clearly fake
- Case backs – Counterfeit Rolex watches tend to have engraved or clear backs so you can see the movements inside the watch. Genuine Rolex have smooth backs.
- Tiny logo etched into the crystal at 6 o’clock – Lots of genuine Rolex models made after 2002 have a little logo which is hard to see without a magnifying glass. Look for the crown logo, and if you don’t see one visit a certified Rolex dealer for a professional opinion
Breitling is another brand which sees their designs copied by manufacturers of replica watches, despite their intricate logos and handiwork.
- The most noticeable thing about a genuine Breitling watch is its weight as it is notably heavier than other expensive brands
- A clear indicator of a real Breitling is the calendar window as the large numbers within it will occupy the entire space
- You will find engraving on the buckle with a smooth backside. Fakes may have accurate spacing but you will tell the difference between deep lettering of a genuine Breitling and a shallow printed fake
As one of Switzerland’s biggest brands, Omega watches are adorned by everyone from astronauts to , and known for their durability, style and functionality. Here, craftsmanship should be a clear clue to the authenticity if you have any doubts.
- A quick way to check is by checking out the lume on the indexes and hands as these should be bright and long-lasting – many fakes have inferior quality lume.
- Examine the helium escape valve. It should be positioned just above 10 o’clock. Some fakes place it on or just below.
- The luminous dot at 12 o’clock on the bezel should be exactly the centre of the triangle, not outside it. As with numerals, some fakes have very small digits in the date window
Always buy from a trusted seller
A search on Google is a great place to start as very often dealers who have sold fake watches will have incredibly negative feedback from customers. You can easily check reviews online.
A genuine seller will happily provide a guarantee or authenticity certificate with each sale and answer all your questions or provide photographs.
If you choose not to purchase from an official retailer, you are taking the chance that you may not be getting a genuine product. On sites like eBay or shpock, you can arrange to see the watch first before handing over any money.
Ask for an authenticity certificate
A certificate of authenticity should always be provided when you buy a luxury watch. This demonstrates technical specifications of the watch and also reveals where it was manufactured – a great hint to whether the watch is genuine.