Make sure your dream watch is everything it seems.
If you love watches, particularly the famous and classic brands, then owning a great Rolex is may be high on your wish list. You may even have one in your collection. But how do you spot the fakes from the finds?
It’s a doubt that has crossed every watch lover’s mind from time to time. Is this timepiece just a little too good to be true? There are certainly fakes out there – forging luxury watches is (unfortunately) a profitable business. But is it possible to stay one step ahead of unscrupulous sellers?
Yes – you can. With some homework and a little knowhow, you can learn how to identify a genuine Rolex. Find out how to spot a fake Rolex from the real thing below.
1. Check the Movement
A genuine Rolex has a high-quality mechanical movement rather than the cheaper quartz movements used in many fake timepieces.
You can identify the type of movement from the characteristic action of the second hand. A mechanical movement glides smoothly while quartz has a unique stuttering action.
2. Look for a Smooth Back
The intricate engraving on the back of the ‘Rolex’ may look impressive but it’s not. A genuine Rolex always has a smooth back, free from any engraving.
They are also always solid metal – so any clear backed examples you come across are forgeries.
3. Ask for Paperwork
This is a simple one but one many of us overlook in the excitement of discovering a sought-after Rolex.
Many high-end, pre-owned watches will come complete with a paper trail that can help you identify and authenticate a watch.
Of course, some genuine watches will be missing their paperwork for innocent reasons but you should always ask the question and weigh this with your other findings when you examine a watch.
4. Check the Case Reference Number
All Rolex watches have a case reference and serial number. These are engraved using very fine text between the lugs on the side of the case.
You can trace these numbers with online tools to test the authenticity and date of manufacture of a Rolex watch.
5. Look for the Crown Logo
Rolex watches produced after 2002 feature a micro-etched crown logo which can be seen just above 6 o’clock.
You will need a magnifying glass to see this and it is very difficult to reproduce in a forgery. This is a good sign that you are looking at a genuine Rolex.
6. Judge the Weight
Forgeries generally use poor quality materials and this means they are lighter than real Rolexes which have some weight to them.
If you have handled a Rolex before, this is easier to judge – but remember if a watch feels suspiciously light then it could be a forgery.
7. Examine the Date
On genuine Rolex watches with a date function – the window above that date is magnified by 2.5X its regular size with a feature known as Cyclops.
This specialised lens is difficult to fake correctly and most forgeries will omit it entirely or achieve lesser magnification at 1 or 1.5X. Look carefully at the date to assess a real Rolex.
8. Pay Attention to Details
Rolex watches are sought after because of the quality of their craftsmanship. The hands are beautifully crafted as are the winders.
Fakes often look too plain, clunky or just unrefined. Spend time assessing the small details anytime you purchase a pre-loved watch.
If you doubt the authenticity of a Rolex or a deal simply feels too good to be true then you should always walk away. Never feel pressured into a sale and consider consulting a watch expert if you just can’t make a call.
Unfortunately, the methods for faking Rolex watches are getting more sophisticated which makes spotting a fake, especially a high-end fake, more difficult.
Rolex watches are the most forged in the world which means you should always be on your guard whether buying pre-owned or brand-new.
Always try to examine the watch in person, use dealers and sellers you trust and examine anypotential purchase carefully.
Looking to invest in a pre-owned Rolex from a trusted seller? You can view our collection of authenticated and refurbished pre-owned watches here.