How to Spot a Fake Rolex Dial

How to Spot a Fake Rolex Dial

As the face of a watch and the first thing people notice, the dial on a Rolex timepiece is always of the utmost refinement and aesthetic quality – crafted to the highest standards, with every single detail meticulously placed and in perfect alignment. Watch experts and those who are particularly familiar with Rolex can likely pick out discrepancies at a glance. But for those less savvy with the brand, we will discuss some telltale signs of questionable authenticity to look for on the dial of counterfeit Rolexes.

The renowned Rolex coronet logo is the regal five-point crown that can always be found on the dial of real Rolex watches. The crown is located at the 12 o’clock position on the majority of their classic watches, with the exception of the Day-Date – of which the crown is located right beneath the day window at 12 o’clock positioned. For the majority of Rolex’s professional watches including the Submariner, Sea-Dweller, GMT-Master, Yacht-Master, Explorer, and Air-King, the crown logo is right under the large triangular dial marker at 12 o’clock, with the exception of the Yacht-Master II – of which the crown is located right under the countdown indicator on the dial. With that said, it is safe to say that if the watch in question has the crown logo in any other location than described above, it is likely not a real Rolex.

The same can be said if you don’t see the crown logo anywhere on the dial, as all Rolex watches have the crown logo on their dial as described – with the only exceptions being certain extremely rare vintage models like the “No Crown” Rolex Explorer 5504 model. Likewise, if the crown is duplicated with any slight difference in design, it is likely a counterfeit.

Some other obvious signs for how to spot a fake Rolex by its dial include checking for spelling mistakes, crooked or misplaced text, different font style or size, misaligned hour and minute markers, and awkward spacing of features – just to name a few. As mentioned, Rolex watches are exquisitely designed and crafted, with remarkably close attention paid to every detail – big or small. So anything that appears to be aesthetically off, even slightly, is worthy of closer inspection. In the side-by-side photos below of a real Rolex (left) and a fake Rolex (right), you can notice many of these visible discrepancies on the dials:
Side by side comparison of fake and real Rolex Submariner 116610LN dial

• Hour markers:

  • The first most obvious discrepancy about the hour markers on both watches is in the different materials used. The hour markers on the replica are visibly cheaper in quality compared to on the genuine Rolex and look like they are stickers.
  • The hour markers on the real Rolex are perfectly bordered so that the silver trim is even and symmetrical all the way around the marker shapes. The borders around the hour markers on the Rolex replica are uneven around the shapes on just about every hour marker. The most notable examples are the 4 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 11 o’clock markers.

• Hands:

  • The silver border on the hands is visibly differently on both watches. On the replica, the silver border is much thinner than the border around the real Rolex’s hands. This inconsistency is particularly noticeable on the hours hands of both watches.
  • Another major indicator of authenticity that’s difficult to depict by photos is the movement of the watch – as shown by the seconds hand. On authentic Rolex watches, the seconds hand has a smooth sweeping movement, while on this counterfeit (and many others), the seconds hand does more of a quick tick-like motion as it moves around the dial.

• Lume:

  • Rolex uses luminescent material, or lume, on the dials of certain watches like the Submariner to increase legibility and illuminate features in low light settings – like, say, when deep diving. This is a distinguishable feature on Rolex watches, which you can clearly see applied on each hour marker, as well as on the hour, minute, and seconds hands of the real Rolex but not on the replica.
  • You can also tell if a watch has lume applied because it will glow in the dark – which is not the case with this particular fake Rolex, as it does not have any lume application.

• Font type & size:

  • The wording font on the replica is different than on the real Rolex in the following ways:
  • The lettering on the words “ROLEX” and “OYSTER PERPETUAL DATE” are less bolded and are noticeably different. For example, the R in “ROLEX” are visibly different between both watches, especially in the upper left corner of the R.
  • “SUBMARINER”, “1000ft 300m”, “SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER”, and “OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED” are all written in a noticeably different font on the replica as well.
  • Both the font and the placement of “SWISS MADE” at the very bottom of the dial are also visual discrepancies between both watches. On the real Rolex, the words are underneath the 6 o’clock hour marker, whereas on the replica they are separated by the hour marker and written in a different style font.

• Cyclops glass:

  • The cyclops glass feature at 3 o’clock is supposed to magnify the date number by 2.5x legibility.
  • The cyclops glass always protrudes above the crystal, like a bubble—it is never flat and never fitted under the crystal.
  • The date feature is instantaneous on Rolex watches, which means it will automatically jump to the next day at midnight (as opposed to rolling over slowly). Based on this info, another sign for how to spot a fake Rolex is if you see one with a dial that shows an in-between date (mid roll), as you now know that a real Rolex with this feature would automatically and instantly change the date – rather than slowly and gradually. Of course, this detail would only be noticeable if you had the watch for more than a day – and hopefully you will have detected that it’s a counterfeit well before then.

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Credit to The Watch Standard for these articles.