Inspired by a question I received via e-mail this week, I thought I’d take a brief look at how to spot a counterfeit luxury watch. Whilst my anonymous mailer doesn’t want his name to be known to the public, I certainly hope he gets what he needs from today’s post.
Some of the tips are just plain common sense, others are classic insider knowledge tidbits, but all of them can be used to check for replica status on a high-value timepiece.
1. You brought it where?!
If you were offered a watch valued at thousands going for mere hundreds by a dodgy looking fella in your local bar, chances are it’s a fake. Reputable dealers are everywhere, so hunt out a trustworthy source rather than relying on that ‘too-goo-to-be-true’ auction offer on eBay or craigslist!
2. Examine the second hand
It’s a classic tip, but it still holds true. Authentic luxury watches with expensive mechanisms will have a second hand that sweeps and glides with precision – fakes will tick and jerk incessantly.
3. Check the weight
Fake watches are constructed from cheap materials like plastic; the real deal will be made from heavy metals like titanium. Authentic watches, therefore, tend to have more heft: it’s not a magic tell-all, but it’ll certainly help alert you to the possibility of a forgery.
4. Examine the labels
Cheap laser printing is a dead giveaway; look for signs of embossing, authentity seals and manufacturing certificates with holographic stickers – all those finishing touches you’d expect of a quality product.
5. Research First
If you know exactly what the watch you’re buying should look like, you’re far less likely to be taken for a ride. Keep the authentic timepiece in mind whilst shopping and you’ll instantly spot any ‘Bolex’ labels and vestigial chronometers.
6. Check Online
Most lavish watches are accompanied by checkable serial numbers online. This’ll alert you to a forgery or, perhaps just as likely, a stolen batch of timepieces. Take a look at the manufacturers website for details on where you can find the unique ID on the watch, and how you can check it against their database.