A Rolex watch is a symbol of wealth to many people. As a result, there are many counterfeits being made and sold. The best replicas can stump even those who are knowledgeable about the brand. If you want to be sure you are buying the real thing, make your purchase from a reputable dealer who is listed on the Rolex website. If you're checking out a used model or eying a friend's, there are signs you can look for to help you spot a fake.
Evaluate the source. A reputable jeweler or a fine watch dealer is probably going to be selling the genuine article. A man with a market stall selling them for much less than the usual market price is usually selling something either stolen or fake. Pawn shops are something of a mixed bag because they depend on the scruples of the individual shop.
Check the magnification. Many Rolex watches have a magnification panel over the date display. Fake watches have what appears to be a magnification panel, but is only plain glass or is a lower magnification, resulting in a smaller date.
Take off the back to see whether the case and innards are all made of metal. Counterfeits generally use plastic because it is much cheaper to produce. Some fakes have a plastic inner case underneath a metal outer casing.
Listen to the second hand. The second hand on most cheaper watches is what makes the ticking sound as it jerkily moves along. Rolex and other fine watches do not tick because the second hand cleanly sweeps around rather than jerking along. Better counterfeits may not tick, but the motion is still likely to be rougher than a Rolex would be.
Look for the stamp. Many fakes have some kind of obvious giveaway that makes them stand out. For example, many Rolex fakes have "Made in China" stamped inside them. Similarly, many fakes use faux leather for the straps or fake gemstones.
- "Replica Watch Report"; Richard Brown; 2005
- Rolex: Dealer Locator