How to Spot a Fake Watch

Every casual consumer is susceptible to buying a fake watch. The very luxury timepiece you are wearing right now could very well be a fake, but how do you tell? Fortunately for you, the chances are slim IF you bought it from an official store. Still, you can’t be too careful, so here are some pointers to help you spot a fake:

  1. Research the most copied brands. Rolex takes the cake as the most copied watch brand in the world, because unlike most luxury watch brands, Rolex produces more than a million watches a year due to high demand. Making yourself familiar with the movement, aesthetics and overall style of a brand will help you spot a fake.
  2. Perform an inspection. After gaining an understanding of what to look for, take the time to inspect any watch before buying. There are some obvious red flags that are easy to spot for the initiated: blatant typos, poor finish, and cheap metal are a few examples. Some of the more subtle flaws come with more background knowledge – a luxury piece with a tourbillon, an expensive mechanism that takes complex equipment to make, cannot be replicated in a fake. A fake watch will have fake complications that only appear to work as they should.
  3. Have common sense. Those who understand the watch industry know the fundamentals of watch resale. Expensive watches, for example, never go on sale or clearance, and can never be found for a ridiculously low price tag. A true brand will be sold by an authorized retailer and not by a street vendor (with the exception of the lesser-known “grey market,” which sells used authentic watches). Unsung luxury brands with no following and no website are probably not real brands.

The next time someone claims to have purchased an authentic timepiece for cheap, you can be the one to judge. A little research and practice will make you into an authority on fake watches, and may save you from buying a fake yourself someday.

Nate Kiser
Nate Kiser