Rolex watches are highly prized throughout the world due to their superior craftsmanship, classic styling and reliability. Unfortunately, fakes abound. The vast majority of bogus Rolex timepieces are coming from China. In my opinion, nearly all the available fakes on the market are relatively simple to identify after a close inspection but occasionally a better than average forgery can cause you to take a second or even a third look. As they say, always better to ‘err on the side of caution’.
I always liked to point out to coworkers and sometimes even customers in the jewelry store where I was employed as a young man, that I could spot a fake Rolex from across the street by the way it rode on a gentleman’s or lady’s wrist. A Rolex watch is a substantial timepiece due to the quality materials and components that Rolex uses to build its superior products at its four manufacturing facilities. A genuine Rolex watch has an unmistakeable ‘heft’ compared to the many cheaply made knockoffs and has a distinct way of lying and moving on the wrist of its wearer.
First, take the watch in the palm of your hand and just feel the weight. As I said before, a genuine Rolex is a substantial timepiece and will ‘feel so’. Next, take a look at the dial or face of the watch in question. Examine the fonts, spaces between letters, the day/date windows and the hands. All of the printed lettering on the dial should be precise with very clean edges. With fakes, the lettering tends to be uneven, inconsistent and even blurry at times. On a genuine Rolex, the Cyclops magnifies the date 2.5 times to make reading easy. Most fakes can’t replicate this feature. Inspectors at the Rolex manufacturing sites only approve ‘perfect’ watches. Any inconsistencies or imperfections you might spot on the dial, case or bracelet spell trouble.
Interesting fact: If you are examining a Rolex made in 2002 onward, look for the tiny crown logo that has been micro-etched at the 6 o’clock position on the crystal. It is very small and hard to see without magnification. This is a feature that Rolex has added to their products to make counterfeiting even more difficult.
Turn the watch in question over. For the most part, Rolex does not have anything fancy engraved on the case backs of their watches. If you are seeing words, logos or pictures you are most likely looking at a fake or a replica watch.
Some Quick Tips for spotting a fake Rolex:
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