There was a time when a fake watch was a hallway office joke about the fellow with a trench-coat who carried 20 different models of $10 knock-offs hidden inside, selling them in the alleyway when no one was looking. If such a black market business did exist, the $20 digital watch appearing in the 1980s practically wiped them out altogether.
However, fake Rolexes and other expensive brand name counterfeits are alive and well, because there is big money in convincing someone they are buying a couple thousand dollar watch when its not. Due to computers, access to advanced fabrication materials at low cost, and exceptionally good eyes for design fake Rolexes are becoming surprisingly very hard to tell from the real thing. And that’s a very dangerous situation for buyers as well as investors expecting the real product. Many professional experts have already been fooled by some of the most advanced counterfeits, being duped by a fake that feels and works just like an actual Rolex of the same model.
Techniques on Spotting a Fake Rolex Get a Lot Harder to Apply
Supply and demand have always been a price driver for real Rolex’s. Both new models as well as older ones that become collectors items have been a high demand luxury item for decades, sustaining high prices and creating a market willing to pay big dollars for these watches. Add to the situation that new Rolexes are on a waiting list for buyers who want top quality, and the prices go well over $10,000 a watch. Unfortunately, the high demand and feeling that a Rolex is worth its price ticket makes room for people to be duped as well, and that’s where counterfeiters jump in to make a strike on an unsuspecting buyer.
Quality of the Parts
Don’t rely on the quality of the parts to make it easy to find a fake from a real Rolex. For years, Rolexes used to stand apart for how much work went into the given materials to make the watch. Unfortunately, computers and great tooling has made it very easy for fakes to be made with the same 904L steel, the same ceramics, and the same sapphire crystals. The problem is that all these parts are now mass-manufactured versus hand-crafted, and that’s the cost difference between the cheap fake and the real thing.
The Moving Mechanism Used to be a Giveaway
Smart and trained collectors and investors rarely relied on the watch’s outside appearance alone to grade a real Rolex from a fake. The internal mechanisms were always a giveaway. The new growing problem in the market is that the fake watches are being made so well, even the internal machine is amazingly similar to a true Rolex operation, the standard being the Calibre 4130 design. Poor previous counterfeit mechanisms were almost always a giveaway with a Chinese assembly or an ETA 7750 mechanism instead. Not now.
The Giveaways of Fraud That Remain
It’s going to take a very sharp eye but on of the first slips is the dial text. On the fake the text isn’t quite as spot on as it should be. The red is a little too pink on the “Daytona,” and the hour marker text paint doesn’t quite appear right. Use a magnifier and rough machining becomes apparent, minute but its there.
The quality of the bezel is another fake sign versus real. An authentic Rolex bezel has a shimmer which is intentionally created with platinum dust. Counterfeit productions don’t have access to this process or material, so it’s missing in the fake.
Further slips are in the bracelet where it marries with the watch case itself. There shouldn’t be any gaps, but in the fakes a tiny gap does exist. And the crown and controls finish is rougher than the real professional finish. Again, these are not things the naked eye is going to catch; the fake has to be examined very closely now with magnifiers and tools to see the slips. Any amateur Rolex buyer in a rush is going to miss this essential test, making for a great target.
Unfortunately, because of the quality now appearing more and more frequently in counterfeits, Rolex buyers are literally going to have to become “uber” watch-tech nerds to protect themselves. Otherwise, they are going to literally hire a fraud professional to avoid being ripped off. And when it can mean being separated from $10,000 or more, the cost of the service practically becomes a necessary evil now to own an authentic Rolex outside of a major name authorized dealer’s transaction.
A key fact to remember, however, is that because the quality of the counterfeit is produced so well, one literally needs the real Rolex model to compare to when identifying the fraud. Without the side-by-side comparison, the probability of the fraud watch getting through skyrockets. The quality of the fake’s workmanship is so good, many experts are hanging up their hats being unable to tell the difference.
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