When looking for signs of how to spot a fake Rolex, there are many features on the watch case that are telling of its authenticity, or lack thereof. As aforementioned, the material used to make authentic Rolex timepieces are of the utmost quality – which is usually the clearest indicator of whether a Rolex watch is genuine or counterfeit. Replicas are generally made of cheaper and shoddier material, which often reflects in the overall look and feel of the watch. Details of the style and shape of certain features on a Rolex watch case can also serve as indicators of whether it is real or fake, which are clearly depicted in the side-by-side photos below.
- The lugs on the real Rolex have a thicker width and are more robust in appearance than the lugs on the replica, which are more skinny, slender, and tapered in comparison.
- The surface of the lugs on the real Rolex are brushed metal, while the lugs on the replica are polished metal – with the difference showing in how they shine as well as how the surfaces feel.
- If you remove the metal bracelet from both watches, you will see the serial number of the real Rolex engraved between the lugs but not on the counterfeit.
• Crown guards
- The shape of the crown guards is another pretty evident difference between the two watches. The crown guards are much more pointed in appearance on the counterfeit watch than those on the real Rolex. You can see these differences most clearly both when looking at the watches next to each other facing you, as well as from a side profile.
• Winding crown
- Another visible discrepancy is in the designs on the winding crowns. The markings of 3 small dots under the crown and the Rolex crown itself protrudes outwards, while on the counterfeit the markings are much more flat.
To be clear, there are Rolex watches with the marking of a small line under the crown – specifically, older steel and yellow gold watches with the Twinlock waterproof feature which ensures up to 100 meters (300 feet) of water resistance. However, this particular Rolex model, the Submariner 116610, is equipped with a Triplock winding crown – ensuring up to 300 meters (1,000 feet) for the watch. All Triplock winding crowns only have the marking of 3 dots under the coronet, regardless of the watch’s material. Which clearly indicates that the winding crown on this replica watch is inauthentic because it has the incorrect marking. For some visual aid to help you decipher how to spot a fake Rolex – below is a visual guide of which markings come on the winding crowns of different Rolex watches made of different materials, and with either the Twinlock or Triplock features:
- A feature that’s easy to overlook on a watch is its caseback. There are some clear indicators that a watch’s caseback can give us about its authenticity. Unlike some other brands, Rolex does not furnish its timepieces with transparent casebacks. Rolex watches have full metal casebacks that are fluted and screwed into the case to ensure optimal water resistance. So if a Rolex watch has a transparent case back, it’s a sure bet that it isn’t authentic.
- Most Rolex watches do not have any logos, text, etchings, or engravings on their caseback. So if the Rolex watch in question has any on its caseback, you can take that as a sign that it’s most likely a fake. A few exceptions would be if you were on a professional team that participated in a Rolex event and had won.
- You can see a visible difference in the quality of the finish on both casebacks. On the genuine Rolex, the caseback has a much nicer finish and both the color of the steel and the smooth brushed surface are consistent throughout it. On the fake Rolex, the color is noticeably inconsistent as you can see different colored metal mixed throughout the caseback – which is also made more noticeable by the deeper grooves of the brush strokes across the surface.
It’s important to note there are a few exceptions to this rule – like the modern Rolex Milgauss and Deepsea, the vintage Sea Dweller, some gold Lady Datejusts, and military Submariners – all of which do have specific patented markings on their caseback. However, in this case, the counterfeit watch is a replica of a Rolex Submariner that is not military, and therefore should not have any engravings or other markings on its caseback. Especially not markings that reference a totally different Rolex watch collection – the way this “Submariner” caseback references the “Daytona”. When figuring out how to spot a fake Rolex, that kind of obvious inconsistency is one of the surest ways to tell a fake. Also, when buying secondhand watches, there is the possibility that the previous owner may have had their own engravings made to personalize the watch. In these cases – having the watch authenticated by a trusted source is the best way to make sure it’s not a counterfeit watch.
Diamond Jim is a master jeweler, diamond dealer and precious metals broker. Pineforest Jewelry has been a proud member of the Independent Jewelers Organization and the Retail Jewelers Organization for many years.
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Credit to The Watch Standard for these articles.