The fastest way to figure out if the Rolex you are buying is fake is to visit your seller and ask them if you can hold the watch. If the watch is heavy, then that is the real Rolex, if it feels light or tinny, then it is a fake.
Rolex watches are made from high-quality metals, which makes them weigh a lot more than most watches, and especially more than fake Rolex watches. There is obviously much more to spotting a fake than that, and it will all be covered below.
Suffice it to say that the most common sign that a Rolex is a fake is that it does not weigh enough. It often feels lighter and cheaper in your hand.
Quick Tips on Spotting a Fake Rolex Watch
Before getting into the deeper subject of spotting a fake Rolex, there are a few things to consider right away. The introduction covered the most common tell-tale sign of a fake Rolex watch (its weight). Here are a few of the more obvious signs that the Rolex you are holding is not real.
A Rolex that is fake will be easy to spot by their quartz movements. A real Rolex has a smooth ticking sound that will be clear to hear, whereas a fake watch will often stutter, be overly loud, or have incorrect sounding mechanical movements to an expert’s ear.
Another thing to look out for when buying a Rolex is the winder that is on the side of the watch. A fake Rolex winder will look plain and have no uniqueness to it. The real deal will always have smart-looking grooves and engravings around the winder. It sounds trivial but the lack of any effort on the winder is often what gives away a fake Rolex.
Another quick way to tell if you have a fake is to check if the cyclops lens on the face has the date magnified. If it doesn’t offer magnification for the date, then you will know that it is a fake Rolex. It is very difficult to replicate the magnifier in the glass, so most counterfeit timepieces won’t bother trying. In many cases, fakes will not have a magnifier section on the face. Some will print the date the same size as the other text or numbers on the watch.
If you do purchase a Rolex, and you are still unsure if it’s real, take it to a watchmaker so they can open up the back of the watch to see the inner mechanical movements. A real Rolex will have the name Rolex engraved on it.
Another thing to look out for is the use of a quartz in the watch movement, because if yours has one then it could be a fake because Rolex only produced a limited number of quartz watches.
The only way to know for sure that the watch you are buying a real Rolex is to buy one from a trusted seller, and reputable dealer, or go to the main Rolex authorized dealer in your town/city. You could also purchase it from the official Rolex website. You should do your research first on Google. Try to find trusted retailers only and beware of untrustworthy redirects. Try to find a dealer that specializes in Rolex watches around your area.
Beware Of EBay & Craigslist Fake Rolex Watches
Ebay and Craigslist are very well-known websites for selling and buying items. They are tools that let people sell their new, used, or broken part items. The people who are selling watches may claim it is a real Rolex watch, they can get the pictures off the internet of real Rolex watches, but when they send the watch they have, it turns out to be a counterfeit watch.
Ebay and Craigslist are not accountable for what is sold on their selling pages, which means you would have to sue the seller. If they are in a different country, that could make things very difficult for you to gain a satisfactory resolution. Plus, since eBay has phased out PayPal, you have no buyer protection unless you are using a very good credit card when you buy your Rolex off eBay or Craig’s list. So, if you do decide to buy from these sites, remember that it does not mean the Rolex watch will be the real thing.
Six Red Flags of a Fake Rolex
As Rolex is one of the best watch brands on the planet, they make sure to be known for having the best style, durability, prestige, and quality. The Rolex company uses 904L stainless steel called oyster steel. This is the best steel to use for watches as it is more corrosion and rust-resistant.
To make every Rolex perfect, they have created a metal alloy that will ensure every watch is made with the exact same integrity, and as it is made perfect every time. This applies to everything including the case, the movement, the hands, bezel, case, clasp, crown logo, and bracelet.
If anything looks off, it probably means it is not a real Rolex. Here are six things to look out for right away when you are buying a Rolex.
- The weight of a Rolex is very exact. Look up exactly how much your watch is supposed to weigh and see if yours corresponds. It may be off by a tiny fraction depending on the quality of your weighing scale but anything other than a tiny fraction of weight difference is a tell-tale sign it is not an authentic Rolex.
- The swiping motion of the second hand shouldn’t have any stiff movements, excluding the Oysterquartz watches. Go on YouTube and look at videos on how a Rolex watch hand moves and how other watch hands move. It will help you be able to spot a fake visually through the moment of the hands.
- The date on real Rolex watches will be magnified inside the Cyclops lens, and the date should nearly fill up the bubble. The Cyclops lens on the crystal will be precise. It will offer a clear view of the date and it will be aligned perfectly. Very good fakes demand a lot of work to get this correct, and most fakers are not willing to put in the effort.
- Look out for the coronet insignia laser-etched on your Rolex crystal (the crystal glass face). It is a relatively new security feature, so may not be on older models. It is a very small laser etched insignia that sometimes needs an eye loop or magnifying glass in order to see because it is difficult to see with the naked eye. The Rolex crown insignia can be smaller than the head of a pin but has laser dot details that are very difficult to replicate. In most cases, it is etched into the crystal face on the watch near the 6 o’clock position.
- The serial number can be seen on the 6 o’clock side where the band meets the lug. The model number can be located on the 12 o’clock side where the band meets the lug. Or on newer Rolex, it can be found on the inner bezel. Also, look out for the engraving that shows the lettering “Original Rolex Design” that is above the model number. In order to find the serial number, you will have to remove the Rolex band.
- Check the details. Whether the Rolex watches are new or used, make sure you know the differences between models so you can tell when something is wrong. Just like buying a luxury car, each model has something different about it. Learn these details for your desired timepiece so that you can spot which are absent or incorrect when you make your purchase.
More Ways To Spot A Fake Or Counterfeit Rolex
A good way to see that you are getting an authentic Rolex is to check the case reference and serial numbers.
The Rolex serial and model numbers should be marked in a way that is solid and deep with fine lines that are on an angle. They will have been cut with a laser or engraved with a fine-cut diamond.
The numbers on a fake Rolex model will often have poor marking quality and will perhaps have faint dots. This may be because the lettering has been acid etched. The counterfeit watch may also have a sandy appearance to it, and the counterfeiters will normally use the same serial and reference number on all their Rolex replica watches because it costs money to make a different stencil every time.
Genuine Rolex watches have their own unique serial number and reference number for each of their specific configurations and models.
Specific Markings on the Watch
The tip from a little earlier about checking the details is especially true when it comes to markings. Let’s say that a forger is trying to make a replica of the Rolex Submariner, Daytona, or DateJust. The cheaper models will often leave things out like bits of text, or the text may be in the wrong font or will sometimes have incorrect spacing between text or letters.
A side-by-side comparison (using photographs) may show how your so-called luxury watch is one of many knock-offs because it is missing the crown logo, or the date window is the wrong shape.
Grades of Replica Representing Differing Levels of Craftsmanship
The truly most difficult replicas to spot are those made by people who are really trying to fool the customer. Some experts talk about the grade of a fake whereas a high-grade replica is one created by an expert. A low-grade replica may be some factory-pressed piece from a dingy workshop.
When expert counterfeiters want to fool other experts, they use excellent Swiss methods to create their watch. They use precious metals, and they pay great attention to detail.
The odd thing is that all this work is very costly, and so the seller is less likely to offer an amazing deal. Sometimes, the price of the Rolex luxury watch is an indicator of its authenticity. If the seller is willing to offer a chunky 85% discount on the watch because it is their last one and they need some vacation money, then it is probably a fake and a pretty bad fake at that.
The Movement and Ticking Noise
Some sellers put plenty of effort into making their vintage Rolex look real, but then it has a modern mechanical working in the back. There are plenty of Rolexes out there at giveaway prices because their exterior is convincing, but their internal workings are nothing special.
Many sellers know that the average buyer is too polite to ask the seller to crack open the caseback to examine the workings. Yet, if you took that same watch to an expert, the expert would want to see if it has a Rolex movement. Don’t forget that somebody could be using a real Rolex exterior with a poor-quality mechanical movement inside. If the fake is very good, taking a look at the internal movement may be the only way to conclusively prove it is a fake.
The Hands, Dial and Finishing
These faked details are tough to spot because they take a fair amount of Rolex experience and expertise in order to recognize the difference. On a similar note, forgers will often overlook the way the hands, dial, and finishing are supposed to look on a genuine Rolex.
The differences may appear tiny, but easily add up to a fake. For example, the tiny peg holding the hands may be wider, the hands may have sharper corners, or the color of the face may be slightly different from that of the original model.
At first and second glance, these won’t cause any red flags. It is only when the fake watch and real watch models are held up side-by-side for comparison, do these tiny details start to become more easily identifiable.
How Water Resistant is the Watch?
All modern Rolex watches are pretty water-resistant. In fact, in many cases, they will survive being submerged in water. However, there are few sellers that will let you dip their watch in your cup of tea, so how does water resistance help you identify a fake Rolex? Take a look around the bezel and especially where the winder enters the watch. Cheaper fakes will have a noticeable gap that would allow water into the watch.
What About Certificates of Authenticity?
If they have gone to all the trouble of faking a Rolex using real precious metals and attention to detail that would rival that of a mobster accountant, then they are not going to have their plans upset by a certificate of authenticity.
These can be faked just like anything else, and there are still plenty of ways to fake them so that they even fool certain experts. Plus, how can you be doubly sure that the genuine certificate you are looking at is actually for the watch you are buying? How do you know if the innards have not been replaced, or if the one you are buying is a high-quality polish job rather than a truly new watch? When there is money involved, some people will go to extraordinary lengths to fool you into thinking you are looking at real Rolex watches.
Is Using a Trained Expert My Only Real Option?
No, not at all. If this article has proven anything, it is that there are many ways to identify a fake Rolex watch. Using the information in this article, along with your own research into whatever type of Rolex you are buying, you can identify most types of fake.
Only the very best counterfeit Rolex watches will fool you. So, if you have checked over the Rolex and you have still not found anything wrong with it, then and only then do you need to employ an expert to take a look at it.
Rather than paying an expert to look at every Rolex you view, do most of the detective work yourself using what you have learned here. Pretty soon, you will be identifying fakes with ease, which at the very least is going to shorten the amount of time you spend shopping for your new Rolex.