As a company we have touched on this subject many times in the past. A year or so ago we bought an amazing example of a super fake Rolex Deepsea Seadweller in Hong Kong for $300. In our article we broke a real one down next to a fake one. It was pretty unreal. Here is a link to that article if you haven’t already seen it.
12 years ago there were fake watches floating around but for the most part it was fairly obvious that they were fake. The Rolex Submariners had Rolex GMT Bezels or vise versa. Gold models didn’t look the correct color. Even if they were great fakes, you would open them and find a cheap Chinese or a somewhat expensive automatic Japanese movement inside. This made it easy to tell if they were real or fake (the movement). Now we find ourselves in a completely different set of circumstances. The Asian markets are making clones of pretty much every popular movement made and they look like a million bucks from the surface. It’s only if you begin to peel back the layers of these movements do you start to see the difference in the quality of the components and incorrect or strange stamping.
Don’t think for a second you can find safe haven buying a watch with box and papers because they are making watches with fake boxes and papers.
We have an example to show you here.
In addition to that, don’t even consider the idea that if you buy a second-hand watch and take it to the dealer to authenticate that they will get it right. They may tell you it’s fake or has aftermarket parts because they want to sell you one of their own watches. The dealers for the most part are also not educated enough to tell if it’s fake and may tell you a fake watch is real. We have seen two examples of this recently.
One of the most popular methods of putting together an expensive super fake is making a gold case and bracelet. Literally out of solid 18 karat gold! Take a Rolex Submariner for example. It is very common in South America to make these solid gold cases and bracelets to the exact specifications as Rolex (to the untrained eye). Once the case and bracelet have been made the counterfeiters will take the movement from a stainless steel Rolex Submariner. They put the movement from the steel Rolex in the Gold Rolex and then retrofit a nice counterfeit movement in the steel watch. Now they have two expensive Rolex watches to put out in the market preowned. The majority of these watches are brought over to the U.S.A. and sold to jewelry stores or in many cases sold at regular trade shows where they float from dealer to dealer until somebody notices. We have seen some cases where a client brings a watch in for service, we immediately inspect it and it turns out to be counterfeit. These customers in some cases have purchased these watches as real and had been wearing them for years.
The new and most hard to identify counterfeit watches in the market now include, the Stainless Steel Hublot Big Bang Chronograph, most new Style Rolex models in steel, Breitling, Omega and Audemars. We are not in anyway against buying preowned watches. In fact we don’t sell any new watches, however, it is extremely important that you know what you are buying, who it came from, possible previous owners, education of the store you are buying it from and instore watchmakers are a huge plus. I could go in to way more detail and will in a follow up article down the road sometime soon. I will be sure to add new pictures of great looking counterfeits going forward as well (we see fakes daily). If you have any great pictures of real or counterfeit watches please feel free to send them over to us. We love to see what our readers come up with. We will got into more depth on each of the watches we have shown here in follow up articles in the near future.