Given its popularity and prestige, a Rolex is a hot ticket. Being so, it is also one of the most counterfeited luxury watch brands out there. There are ways to detect a fake, however. With the value of a Rolex being set so high, you wouldn’t want to pay high-end prices for something that isn’t even real or authentic. Whether you’re looking to buy a used or new Rolex, here are some tips on how to spot a fake.
Missing Certificate of Authenticity
As with most highly ticketed luxury items, every genuine Rolex comes with a certificate of authenticity. While older models will have an aged certificate, newer models come with a smaller sized plastic card. The purchaser is highly unlikely to simply lose this authenticity paper. A Rolex Service Centre (RSC) can estimate and offer certificates of authenticity.
Missing Logo on Dial
The iconic Rolex logo, which is a crown, will always appear on the little dial located on the side of the watch used to wind and set the time, also known as the crown of the watch. If the wind is missing this logo, chances are it is counterfeited.
Wrong Serial Number
Every Rolex has a unique serial number for each production year which is engraved on the inside rim of the case under the crystal usually at about the six o’clock marker. Older models have the serial number written under the bracelet in between the lugs. You can always look up the serial number of the watch to see if they match up.
The Price is off
You get what you pay for. Rolexes are obviously set at a high price to reflect the luxury and quality of the watch. If the price of the Rolex is too good to be true, then it probably is. It would be extremely hard to find an authentic Rolex for less than $2,000.
Another simple way to detect a fake is by checking the dial movement. A Rolex watch has a smooth second-hand movement. Many fakes are made poorly and reflect a stutter of the second hand. You can also listen closely to hear the movement. A Rolex should not be making a ticking sound, but rather you should hear a complicated series of movement.
This is one of the hardest things to replicate, which makes it an easy way to find out if the watch is a fake or not. The lens on the face of a true Rolex will have the date magnified. The date window should be easy to see and read, as opposed to it being small or the same size as the rest of the dial. These dates are also always made with either platinum or gold, and never with stainless steel or in two-tone.
Engraved or Glassback
If you can pry the back of the watch open, it should always read “Geneva, Switzerland” and have the metal type and model number clearly indicated. A Rolex is never made with a glassback and nothing else should be engraved on the back.
Last but not least, a very simple way to check for authenticity that requires actually having the watch in possession is by simply holding the Rolex and determining its weight. If it feels too light, it’s most likely a fake. A Rolex is made with high quality metals that are durable and weigh significantly more than those of a lower quality. If the fake can be spotted just by feeling, it’s also probably poorly made.