Last week, we started chatting about the best ways to spot a fake watch. The easiest way to eliminate many fake watches is to find a reputable watch dealer first! So now that you’ve done that and you’re ready to get into the nitty gritty, we’re on to the next topic of our top 5 ways to spot a fake watch: The Fast Five.
The Fast Five is a microcosm of the top 5 ways to spot a fake watch, in and of itself. It focuses on the general details (just run with the oxymoron here) of the watch. It was invented by our friends at Boca Raton Pawn and is a great overview of what to look out for – we’ll delve deeper into features like the cyclops and seconds hand next week. For today though, we want to go over these dead giveaways of a big fat fake watch.
Use the “Fast Five” criteria to look for red flags:
- Face and Logo – The face details and manufacture logo on a fake watch are usually either absent, poorly reproduced or just straight up incorrect.
- Features – Many counterfeit watches will have the same features of the authentic watches, but they won’t work. The stopwatch and subdials may not move or operate. One big telltale sign for fake Rolexes is the case back. Many fake luxury watches have a clear back. But! Rolex only made two models with clear (skeleton) backs, and both were production models anyway from the 1930’s and were never mass-produced for the market.
- Details – Many times the counterfeit watches will include parts from totally different watches. Think a Day-Date window on a Daytona. Or model numbers and metal stamps in combos that never existed. Or Big Bang H screws on an Audemars Piguet. They may even blatantly confuse the name of the watch or the hand style may be wrong.
- Color and Texture – Examine the color and texture of the watch carefully. How does it compare to the authentic watch you held in your hands and examined? Look for spotty or mottled gold – especially rose gold. It’s the most difficult metal for the big fat fakers to copy properly. However, remember that when you’re dealing with SuperFakes, you might be holding genuine gold or platinum, but still a counterfeit watch. Read more about SuperFakes here.
- Clasp – Look closely at the clasp and bracelet of the watch. On a fake, they will be very simple, even cheap looking. Rather than secure, the clasp will feel flimsy or not close exactly right. This is also a good place to look for a suspicious crown logo on a Rolex.
We’re careful to go into greater detail when we’re examining a watch we might buy (though even our watch buying experts of 30 years have been burned by some modern SuperFakes!) But this is a quick checklist for a good once-over you should give any watch you’re buying in person. It’s more difficult to use the top 5 ways to spot a fake watch online, but it can definitely be done. If you’re suspicious, make sure the reputable seller has an iron-clad return policy (that favors you) or walk away. It might hurt to let that “steal” of a watch go, but imagine you’re slow-mo walking away from a giant explosion, action movie style. You’ll thank us when you eventually find the real deal.