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(800) 494-3708 15176 Goldenwest St Huntington Beach, CA 92683

The Top Ten Ways to Spot a Fake Rolex

By Paul Altieri

If you’re looking for a real quality watch to buy that will last you more than a lifetime, there is really no better choice than a Rolex.  Over the years it has withstood the test of time and has proven to be not only durable, but a great investment too.  Some folks purchase a brand new model from an authorized Rolex dealer and thus do not need to be concerned about buying a watch that may not be 100% genuine Rolex.  But for those looking to save money by buying a pre-owned Rolex watch, or used Rolex,  or even a vintage Rolex watch, we have created this quick tutorial guideline to help you with your purchasing decisions.  A good used Rolex watch can last a lifetime and is a great asset to pass down to future generations.  However, counterfeit fake Rolex watches are getting much better and becoming increasing more difficult to identify.   So we, at Bob’s Watches, decided to compile a list of the ten best ways to spot a fake Rolex. Here they are:

1. The Price

If you’re looking at a Rolex and it is being sold for three hundred dollars or less, then its is almost certain to be a fake Rolex. The simple truth is that Rolex watches are not inexpensive items so if the deal sounds to good to be true, it usually is.  Be careful.   An easy way to check is to find a similar model watch on our website and see what they are being priced at.   You can also visit ebay to see what similar items have sold for.  Real, genuine, 100% authentic Rolex watches, even used, start at about $2,000 minimum on our site.

Don't buy a Rolex here

Fake Rolex Way Turn Here

2. The Location

Just like in real estate “Location. Location. Location” is very, very important with Rolex watches. If you’re buying a Rolex on a side alley or at a local swap meet the chances are a lot higher that this watch is a fake. You are much better off buying a watch from a reputable business that has a good reputation to uphold. Even eBay can be questionable as sellers can appear and then disappear very quickly.  We do NOT recommended ebay to people since you are not really buying from ebay:  you are buying from the seller that is just using ebay like a Craigslist to sell their watch.   As we all say in the business, “Buy the seller, then the watch”.  This means that the Seller, or merchant, is more important that the watch itself.  It is his guarantee behind the watch that matters most.  You want to buy your Rolex from a business that you can hold accountable for their actions. Before ordering your Rolex online, we highly recommend that you call the merchant and ask questions.  You want to make sure you are dealing with a “real watch store” and one that, preferably, is located in the US.   All of this should help you ensure your Rolex is 100% authentic.

The right magnification of a Rolex

The right magnification of a Rolex

3. The Magnification

Once you have the Rolex in front of you where you can can view it with your own eyes there a lot more ways to tell if it’s real or fake. On Rolex watches with a date (DateJust, Submariner, etc…) the date has to be very small to work properly and so Rolex adds a magnification glass, or Cyclops window,  to allow the wearer to see it more easily. On all Rolex models the magnification is 2.5X so

the date really jumps out at you. On fake Rolex watches the magnification is often much lower at 1.5X so the date looks small and more difficult to see. This is a huge tell tale sign of a fake Rolex.



4. The Resilience to Water

Although Rolex Submariner timepieces are the only watches designed for deep see diving all Rolex models like the Rolex Yachtmaster are water proof and perfectly sealed. Once you have the watch dip it in a cup of water for a few seconds and take it out. Before doing this, PLEASE be sure that the crown is securely tightened/screwed in.  If there is any leaking of water into the watch on the dial or anything the watch is definitely a fake. All Rolex watches are 100% water tight.

5. The Model Number Compared to the Metal

Often times Rolex counterfeiters will try to cheap out by making a normally expensive model in cheaper metals to gain more profit. You should always check the model number of the Rolex you are buying online to make sure that it matches up with type of metal in the watch you are buying. A rule of thumb with the commonly counterfeited Rolex President: All Rolex President watches with the day (Monday, Tuesday, etc…) and the date (21,22,23…) are made out of platinum or gold not stainless steel and not two tone. If someone tries to sell you a stainless President they are cheating you.

The Writing on a Rolex Submariner

Check this writing for anything but perfection.

6. The Writing on the Dial

Everything on a Rolex is made to perfection. Without having to open up the watch it is easy to see this from the writing on the dial distinguishing the model and other features. With a magnifying glass examine all the lettering on the dial. The writing should be convex (outward) and there should be no bubbling. It should be relatively pristine. If the writing is far from perfect then you know you are not dealing with a real Rolex.

7. The Case Back (the part of the watch opposite to the face)

Another easy way to spot a fake Rolex is that many have case backs that are made out of glass, plastic, or crystal so you can see the inner workings of a watch. Almost all Rolex watches do not have clear case backs and the only reason we have to say almost is there are two extremely rare models or Rolex from the 1930s that did in fact have case backs made of glass. So if you are buying a relatively modern Rolex with a clear case back it is a fake. Also Rolex does not ingrave anything on the case back’s exterior. However things are engraved on the interior.

Clean Rolex Engraving

Your Rolex engraving should look like this.

8. The Engraving

Again, everything on a Rolex is perfect there are no mess ups or misspellings or anything. The engravings are a perfect example of this. The engravings are a little harder to reach sometimes. (This is why this is number 8 on the top 10 ways to spot a fake Rolex) There are usually some on the interior of the band of the watch towards the actual face, but to see the engravings for the serial and model number you have to take of the band. Taking of the band is relatively simple you just need a thumb tack with which u can push in the joints holding the band to the watch through the holes on the side of the watch or the bottom of the watch if there are no holes. Once you have it open you should examine the engravings with a magnifying glass. They shouldn’t appear sandy or misshapen. They should be perfectly cut. Also you should use this model number when you look up the watch to check if it’s the right one. The model number is on the 12 o’clock side of the watch.

9. The Inner Workings

You need special tools to view this one. With special Rolex tools you can unscrew the case back and view the gears and inner workings of the watch. Everything should generally be different colors and again everything should be perfect. There should be an engraving on the inside of the watch that says something like “Geneva, Switzerland” the metal type and the model number. This engraving should be perfect as well. View the pictures below to see what the inside should look like.

How the inside of your Rolex should look

The inside of your Rolex should like like this!

10.  Ticking

Listen closely. If you hear loud ticking from your watch this Rolex is a definite fake. Rolex watches do not make the ticking noises common with other watches. Counterfeiters can’t often perfect the gears of a Rolex and so a ticking noise is made and this can really help you spot fakes quite easily.

Misconceptions: One the biggest misconception is that the second hand of Rolex watches is a perfect sweep. This is not true most models of Rolex tick at eight ticks or movements per second so it is not a continuous sweep. Also some models move at slower speeds.

If you want a real Rolex you can always find them at the first pre-owned Rolex Exchange Bob’s Watches where you can trade, sell rolex, or buy pre-owned Rolex watches at great prices. If you have any questions or want to know if your Rolex is fake or real give us a call at 1(800)494-3708 and we’d be glad to help you out.


Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.

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