Look Out For Fakes

Look Out For Fakes
Posted on 12/01/2016

RussoBy CHPD Chief Robby Russo

Unfortunately, our city is no stranger to fraud. I’ve written about scams, gift cards, check fraud and credit cards in the past, but there is also a huge counterfeit market for women’s bags and men’s Rolex watches. 

Rolex timepieces are one of the most coveted luxury items in the world, so consequently, there is a significant market for replica (fake) ones. Identifying counterfeits isn’t always easy.  Even experienced dealers can get fooled by bogus timepieces made in China for $25-$200 and with remarkable similarities.  Many of the fakes fall into the hands of unsuspecting victims who are devastated when they find out that their Rolex isn't real.

How to Spot a Fake Rolex?  

If you’re wondering how to tell if a Rolex is real you can use the below reference guide.  We will go over each point in more detail after.

  • Use a Reputable Seller
  • Quality of Printing, and Overall Craftsmanship
  • Movement (mechanism)
  • Cyclops
  • Waterproof
  • Weight
  • Dial - Printing should be high quality
  • Caseback
  • Micro-Etched Crystal

The easiest way to prevent the purchase of a reproduction Rolex is to know your seller. Rolex is one of the most popular luxury brands on the planet and they are experts in protecting their brand, and authorized dealers in Utah are obviously safe.  I’m sure they’re not pleased that the counterfeit watch industry is estimated to generate up to $1 billion in sales each year. 

A replica cannot match the craftsmanship, dedication, precision and knowledge invested into each watch. Every line and number must be perfect so you won’t see any uneven fonts, spaces, text or misspellings. Rolex even manufactures their own steel and gold to insure quality. With very rare exceptions Rolex watches have mechanical movements, so if you’re looking at a quartz watch that’s a big red flag. 

Another way to spot real versus fake models is the cyclops, or the magnification lens over the date that magnifies 2.5 times for increased readability. If it’s flat or the numbers appear smudged under a loop, it’s probably a fake. A real Rolex is also waterproof and will feel very heavy because it’s manufactured from the finest metals. Rolex doesn’t make clear backs and the real ones (post 2002) have a micro-etched crown at the 6 o’clock position that’s difficult to see without magnification. The serial number is located at the 6 o’clock position between the lugs or, on the newer ones, engraved on the side under the crystal above the watch face. 

 If you’re looking for a genuine used Rolex, you want to make sure you know if aftermarket parts were used (that hurts the value). Again, always with reputable dealers.

If you’re in that awkward position of buying a watch from a friend who needs money or from Internet classifieds sites, suggest the seller meet you at one of those reputable watchmakers or dealers to verify the authenticity. Thank you, Paul Altieri, who contributed to this article.