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Fake Audemars Piguet vs Real

Paul Altieri

Audemars Piguet is a symbol of Swiss luxury watchmaking excellence, celebrated for its fine detailing and forward-thinking designs. As the popularity of these sought-after watches increases, so does the prevalence of fakes. Identifying an authentic AP watch is vital for both collectors and enthusiasts. This guide will assist you in understanding the subtleties of recognizing a genuine Audemars Piguet, guaranteeing that your purchase is as authentic as it is valuable.

History and Reputation of Audemars Piguet

History and Reputation of Audemars Piguet

The journey of Audemars Piguet began in 1875 in the heart of Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux. Established by Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, the company quickly rose to fame for its complex mechanical watches. This collaboration of visionary watchmakers laid the foundation for a brand that would become synonymous with excellence in horology and innovation.

Throughout Audemars Piguet history, the brand has consistently pushed the limits of watchmaking. In 1892, they pioneered the creation of the first-minute repeater wristwatch, establishing a benchmark for miniaturization in complex watch movements. The brand’s innovative spirit reached new heights in 1972 with the launch of the Royal Oak, the first luxury sports watch made of stainless steel, crafted by the renowned Gérald Genta.

Presently, Audemars Piguet holds an unmatched reputation in the luxury watch industry. AP’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology while maintaining traditional watchmaking methods has secured its position among the most esteemed names in haute horlogerie. This deep-rooted legacy and steadfast commitment to quality render Audemars Piguet watches not merely timepieces, but treasured works of horological art, coveted by collectors and connoisseurs around the world.

Common Models Targeted by Counterfeiters

Common AP Models Targeted by Counterfeiters

When it comes to fake Audemars Piguet watches, counterfeiters often focus on replicating the brand’s most iconic and popular models. Among these, the AP Royal Oak, launched in 1972, is at the top of the list. Its unique features, such as the octagonal bezel, integrated bracelet, and “tapisserie” dial, make it instantly recognizable, yet these very characteristics also make it a prime target for replication. The Royal Oak’s reputation as a luxury symbol and its popularity in the market make it a particularly appealing target for counterfeiters.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, a more rugged and sporty version of the Royal Oak, is another frequent subject of counterfeiting. Launched in 1993, this model’s larger size and intricate design, including its visible gasket and push-piece guards, pose a challenge that many counterfeiters are eager to overcome. The Offshore series, with its variety of materials and limited-edition releases, offers plenty of room for fake versions to make their way onto the market.

Known for its oval case and partially skeletonized dial, the Audemars Piguet Millenary collection has also seen an increase in counterfeiting in recent years. The distinctive look of the Millenary, which highlights the watch’s inner mechanisms, draws in those who prefer a more avant-garde look. However, this complexity also makes it a difficult task for forgers to accurately reproduce the watch’s highly detailed features and finishing.

These watches are often copied due to their high value and strong demand. Forgers rely on the allure of these famous designs, hoping to trick buyers who might not be familiar with the subtle differences between real and fake Audemars Piguet watches. The intricate nature of these watches, especially in their movements and finishing, often exposes the flaws of even the most advanced fakes when they are examined closely.

Signs of a Fake Audemars Piguet Watch

Close Up Of Audemars Piguet Dial

Spotting a fake Audemars Piguet watch demands a sharp attention to detail and a grasp of the brand’s distinctive signs of excellence. From the weight of the watch to the complexity of its movement, several factors can indicate the authenticity of a timepiece. In this section, we’ll delve into the critical aspects to look out for when authenticating an Audemars Piguet watch, equipping you with the know-how to tell the real from the fake.

Weight and Feel

The weight and feel of an Audemars Piguet watch are key signs of its genuineness. Real Audemars Piguet watches are made from high-quality materials, leading to a substantial weight that even the most skilled forgers struggle to replicate. The use of precious metals such as gold or platinum in many models adds to their bulk, while even stainless-steel versions carry a weight that reflects their quality build.

When you hold an authentic Audemars Piguet, you’ll notice a balance and distribution of weight that is both natural and intentional. This is especially true in models like the Royal Oak and its integrated bracelet and case work together seamlessly. Fake watches, usually constructed with subpar materials, tend to feel lighter and less substantial. They might also have an uneven weight distribution, with the case seeming much heavier than the bracelet.

The overall feel of the watch in your hand is another important clue. Genuine Audemars Piguet watches radiate a sense of quality and precision in every detail. The edges should be smooth and well-defined, lacking any roughness or irregularities. The crown and pushers (if present) should glide effortlessly, providing pleasant tactile feedback that highlights the watch’s superior craftsmanship. On the other hand, fake watches often feel poorly made, with rough edges, loose parts, or a generally weak structure that reveals their counterfeit status.


The movement is the core of any watch, and in an Audemars Piguet, it’s a masterpiece of both engineering and artistry. Authentic Audemars Piguet watches boast in-house movements renowned for their outstanding quality and finish. These movements are often visible through a sapphire case back, allowing you to admire the detailed mechanisms and fine decorations that are characteristic of the brand.

When inspecting the movement, it’s important to look closely at the quality of finishing. Genuine Audemars Piguet movements employ techniques such as Côtes de Genève (Geneva stripes), perlage (circular graining), and anglage (beveled edges). These details should be sharp, uniform, and executed with great care. The engravings on the movement, including the Audemars Piguet logo and caliber number, should be clear and precise, not blurred or shallow.

Imitation watches often struggle to match the complexity and refinement of Audemars Piguet movements. Signs of a fake movement include poorly executed or missing decorations, low-quality engravings, and visible flaws in manufacturing. The motion of the second hand can also be a giveaway; in most Audemars Piguet watches, it should move smoothly rather than tick. Additionally, automatic movements in genuine AP watches should have a rotor that moves quietly and freely, unlike the noisy, rough motion often seen in fakes.

Case and Bezel

The case and bezel of an Audemars Piguet watch are key elements that demand careful inspection. For instance, in models like the Royal Oak, the bezel’s octagonal shape, complemented by eight hexagonal screws, is a hallmark of its design. These screws must be flawlessly positioned, ensuring they are in direct contact with the bezel. The interface between the case and bezel should have sharp, well-defined edges, with no signs of rounding or inconsistency.

In assessing the case, it’s important to consider the level of craftsmanship in its finishing. Audemars Piguet is celebrated for its expertise in various finishing techniques. Take, for example, the Royal Oak, which showcases a blend of brushed and polished surfaces. The brushed finish should exhibit uniformity and consistency, free from any blemishes. The polished surfaces should have a mirror-like quality, without any distortions or flaws.

The case back’s engravings are another critical aspect to examine. Real Audemars Piguet watches feature detailed, sharp engravings that are executed with precision. These engravings may include the watch model name, serial number, and other pertinent details. Conversely, counterfeit watches often display shallow, unclear, or poorly aligned engravings. The quality of the watch case material is also indicative; authentic Audemars Piguet watches are crafted from premium metals that are scratch-resistant and maintain their luster, unlike the softer, more susceptible materials used in fakes.

Dial and Hands

The dial of an Audemars Piguet watch is a canvas of precision and artistic skill. Consider the renowned “tapisserie” pattern on the Royal Oak, for instance. This complex guilloché design should be uniformly applied, with sharp, well-defined squares. The Audemars Piguet logo and any text on the dial should be sharp and accurately placed, without any signs of smudging or misalignment. The quality of the printing is often superior in genuine watches compared to their counterfeit counterparts.

The examination of the watch’s hands can also provide insights into its genuineness. Audemars Piguet hands are celebrated for their exceptional polish and shape. They should be perfectly aligned with each other and the dial markers. The luminous material on the hands and hour markers should be evenly distributed and match in color. In daylight, this material should be barely noticeable, whereas in the dark, it should glow brightly and uniformly.

The overall presentation of the dial elements is indicative of the watch’s authenticity. Genuine Audemars Piguet dials boast a depth and richness that is difficult to replicate. Subdials on chronograph models should have a slight recessing and feature concentric circular patterns. Date windows should be precisely aligned, with clear numerals that appropriately fill the window. Any discrepancies in these details, such as misaligned elements, poor print quality, or inferior finishing, are warning signs that the watch may not be authentic.

Serial Numbers and Hallmarks

The serial numbers and hallmarks of an authentic Audemars Piguet watch play a vital role in distinguishing it from a counterfeit. Each legitimate AP watch is assigned a unique serial number, usually engraved on the back of the case or sometimes concealed between the lugs. These numbers must be meticulously and clearly engraved, avoiding the use of etching or stamping. The font employed for these engravings should be uniform across genuine AP watches and should match known examples.

It’s important to recognize that while serial numbers can serve as a reliable sign of authenticity, counterfeiters have become skilled at replicating or even misusing genuine serial numbers on their fakes. Therefore, it’s essential to verify the serial number with Audemars Piguet or a certified dealer. Moreover, the arrangement and design of the serial number should be consistent with the specific model and year of production.

Hallmarks are another critical aspect to inspect. Authentic Audemars Piguet watches bear the correct hallmarks for the materials utilized, such as gold or platinum, typically found on the case and occasionally on the bracelet clasp. These hallmarks should be clear, accurate, and in harmony with the watch’s claimed materials. Counterfeit watches often lack these hallmarks or feature poorly executed or incorrect markings. Becoming familiar with the appropriate hallmarks for various AP models and materials can be an effective method for verifying a watch’s authenticity.

Bracelet and Clasp

The bracelet and clasp of an Audemars Piguet watch are engineering marvels, especially in renowned models like the Royal Oak. The construction of a genuine AP bracelet is distinguished by its seamless integration with the case, forming a continuous, uninterrupted line. Each link should be precisely crafted and fitted, with no interruptions or inconsistencies in the connections. The bracelet’s taper from the case to the clasp should be even and gradual.

In terms of finishing, the bracelet should match the level of quality of the case. For the Royal Oak, this entails alternating between brushed and polished surfaces, with the brushed finish being notably fine and uniform. The edges of each link should be sharp and well-defined, avoiding a rounded or rough appearance. When flexing the bracelet, it should feel substantial yet comfortable, with a smoothness of motion indicative of its superior construction.

The clasp mechanism is another area where genuine Audemars Piguet watches excel. It should operate smoothly, with a satisfying click that confirms a secure closure. The Audemars Piguet logo on the clasp should be cleanly engraved, not merely stamped or etched. Observe the overall fit and finish of the clasp; it should align with the rest of the watch, sitting flush when closed and displaying the same level of detailed craftsmanship. Counterfeit watches often fall short in replicating the precision and quality of genuine AP bracelets and clasps, with loose links, inferior finishing, and less refined clasp mechanisms.

Watch Documentation

Original documentation is a vital element in confirming the authenticity of an Audemars Piguet watch. Authentic AP watches are equipped with a suite of documents, such as a warranty card, certificate of authenticity, and detailed product information. The warranty card must be filled out completely with the watch’s unique serial number, model number, and the date of purchase. It’s crucial to remember that Audemars Piguet has made updates to its paperwork system over time, meaning the exact format might differ based on the watch’s age.

The certificate of authenticity is another essential piece. It should be printed on high-quality paper featuring security elements like watermarks or holograms. This certificate typically provides comprehensive details about the watch, including its technical specifications and distinctive markers. The quality of printing and the accuracy of the details are clear indicators of the watch’s genuineness. Authentic AP documentation will have sharp, clear text and images, devoid of any spelling mistakes or inconsistencies.

During the examination of the paperwork, ensure all elements are consistent. The serial number on the warranty card should align with the one on the watch. The description of the model should accurately represent the watch at hand. Be cautious of any inconsistencies or indications of tampering, such as missing or altered text. Fraudsters might try to reproduce these documents, but they often fail to achieve the same level of quality and meticulousness seen in the genuine Audemars Piguet documentation. If uncertain, feel free to reach out to Audemars Piguet or an authorized dealer to confirm the watch’s authenticity through its documentation.

Audemars Piguet Authenticity Check: Tools and Techniques

Audemars Piguet Authenticity Check

Determining the authenticity of an Audemars Piguet watch goes beyond just a sharp eye; it often requires specialized tools and techniques. These approaches enable a more thorough examination of the watch, uncovering subtle signs of its genuineness that might not be noticeable without these aids. From the use of high-powered lenses to the inspection under UV light, these instruments offer crucial insights into the genuine nature of an Audemars Piguet timepiece. Let’s delve into some of the primary methods employed by experts to confirm the legitimacy of these high-end timepieces.

Magnification and Microscopes

Magnification tools, ranging from simple loupes to advanced digital microscopes, are essential in the authentication process of Audemars Piguet watches. These tools facilitate a detailed look at the watch’s finest details, revealing the true quality of craftsmanship. Under magnification, the accuracy of the dial’s printing, the sharpness of the engravings, and the uniformity of finishing become evident.

When using magnification, pay close attention to areas like the dial markers, the logo, and any text on the dial. In real Audemars Piguet watches, these components will appear sharp and flawlessly executed, even when viewed under high magnification. Inspect the watch’s hands and their attachment points, looking for the smoothness and precise alignment typical of Audemars Piguet pieces. The case and bezel can also be examined for the quality of their finish – authentic watches will keep their sharp edges and uniform surfaces upon closer inspection.

UV Light

The use of UV light is an effective method in confirming the authenticity of Audemars Piguet watches, especially when it comes to examining luminescent parts and concealed markings. Under UV light, the luminescent elements of genuine Audemars Piguet watches will emit a consistent and bright glow. The color and intensity of this glow can serve as a significant clue to the watch’s genuineness, as Audemars Piguet uses high-quality luminescent compounds that are challenging to replicate accurately.

Beyond the luminous elements, UV light can expose hidden security features that Audemars Piguet incorporates into some of its watches. These might include invisible engravings or markings that become visible only under UV light. Although the specific details of these features are closely protected by the brand, their presence (or absence) can be a strong sign of a watch’s authenticity. It’s important to note that the application of UV light should be done with caution, as extended exposure could potentially harm certain watch components.

Professional Authentication Services

While the techniques of personal examination are useful, expert verification services provide an additional level of confidence when confirming the authenticity of a watch from Audemars Piguet. These services utilize professionals with deep knowledge of AP watches and access to specialized tools. They can conduct thorough examinations that surpass the capabilities of consumer-grade tools, including detailed inspection of the movement and material verification.

When selecting an expert verification service, it’s essential to choose one with a solid reputation and expertise in luxury watches, especially those from Audemars Piguet. Look for services that are acknowledged by the watch industry and have connections with leading brands. Recommended verification services include watch specialists from major auction houses, certified watchmakers who focus on high-end watches, and authentication services recommended by luxury watch retailers.

Expert verification can offer a comprehensive report on the watch, covering details from the movement to the case finishing. These professionals are skilled at identifying subtle discrepancies that might be missed by even the most knowledgeable collectors. Although expert verification services come at a cost, it’s a worthwhile investment considering the high value of Audemars Piguet watches and the complexity of modern counterfeits.

Red Flags and Warning Signs

Authentic Audemars Piguet Moonphase

When shopping for a watch from Audemars Piguet, it’s important to be aware of potential red flags that can help you avoid falling victim to counterfeiters. These warning signs can include things like pricing inconsistencies, or sellers who behave suspiciously. Recognizing these signs can help you become more cautious when buying and avoid being tricked into buying a counterfeit item. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main warning signs to look out for if you’re thinking about buying an Audemars Piguet watch.

Unusually Low Prices

A glaring warning sign with Audemars Piguet watches is an unusually low price. Authentic AP watches are known for their high cost due to their superior quality, the prestige of the brand, and their limited availability. If you come across an Audemars Piguet watch being sold at a price that seems too good to be true, it’s likely counterfeit.

Counterfeiters often attract potential customers with the promise of a luxury watch at a fraction of its retail cost. They might claim the watch is from old stock, a special deal, or use other justifications for the low price. However, even watches that have been pre-owned usually retain a significant amount of their value. Be particularly cautious of new or almost new Audemars Piguet watches being sold for much less than their market value. Genuine sellers, whether they are authorized dealers or reputable pre-owned watch experts, set the price of their Audemars Piguet watches according to the current market value.

Suspicious Seller Behavior

The behavior of the seller can often give important hints about whether an Audemars Piguet watch is genuine. Counterfeiters might use various strategies to avoid being caught or to quickly close a sale. Be on the lookout for sellers who are hesitant to share detailed information about the watch or its background. A real seller should be able to answer questions about the watch’s history, its condition, and where it came from.

Be cautious of sellers who pressure you to make a quick decision, won’t let you see the watch in person before buying, or don’t provide clear, high-quality photos of the watch from all angles, including the movement. Genuine sellers recognize the worth of their watches and are usually willing to give you plenty of information and time to make an informed choice.

To find reliable sellers, look for well-established companies with a strong reputation in the luxury watch industry. Authorized Audemars Piguet dealers are the safest bet for new watches, while well-respected auction houses and specialized pre-owned watch shops like Bob’s Watches are great options for pre-owned timepieces. These sellers have strict and rigorous authentication processes and typically offer guarantees of authenticity. They also keep detailed records of their inventory and can provide in-depth information about each watch they sell.

Legal Implications and Consumer Rights

Authentic Gold Audemars Piguest Watch

The world of counterfeit luxury watches is not just a matter of consumer disappointment; it has serious legal and ethical implications. It’s essential to grasp the legal framework related to counterfeit items and to be aware of your consumer rights when dealing with upscale timepieces such as those from Audemars Piguet. This segment will delve into the legal aspects of counterfeiting and offer advice on how to safeguard yourself as a buyer.

Understanding Counterfeiting Laws

The act of producing and selling counterfeit items, including replicas of Audemars Piguet watches, is illegal in most countries around the world. These activities breach intellectual property laws, encompassing trademark and copyright infringement. In numerous places, the consequences for creating, distributing, or selling counterfeit items can be severe, including substantial fines and even imprisonment.

Luxury brands like Audemars Piguet frequently take legal measures against counterfeiters, often in collaboration with authorities. These initiatives are designed to break the chains of counterfeit products and preserve the brand’s reputation. Lately, there has been a heightened focus on online marketplaces and social media sites where counterfeit goods are commonly promoted and sold. Many countries have enhanced their legislation and enforcement strategies to tackle the widespread issue of fake luxury goods.

Consumer Protection

Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having purchased a fake Audemars Piguet watch, it’s crucial to be aware of your rights and the actions you can take. In numerous countries, laws protecting consumers provide options for purchasers who have inadvertently bought fake items. The initial step typically involves reaching out to the seller and requesting a refund. If the seller refuses to cooperate, you might have to escalate the issue to your credit card company or utilize other means of consumer protection available in your jurisdiction.

Reporting fake items is not solely about safeguarding yourself; it’s also about aiding in the fight against the broader problem of counterfeiting. You can report watches you suspect are counterfeit to the brand directly through their official website. Moreover, many nations have government agencies dedicated to fighting counterfeit goods, such as customs departments or consumer protection bureaus. By sharing your experience, you play a part in the larger efforts to reduce the circulation of counterfeit luxury goods.


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Navigating the world of luxury watches, especially with a renowned brand like Audemars Piguet, demands caution and knowledge. The key to identifying a real AP watch lies in recognizing the brand’s unique qualities of excellence, from the detailed design of the dial to the accuracy of the mechanism. By getting to know the signs of authenticity we’ve outlined – the weight and feel, the quality of the movement, the precision of the case and bezel, the clarity of the dial and hands, the accuracy of the serial numbers and hallmarks, and the craftsmanship of the bracelet and clasp – you’re better equipped to make informed decisions.

Keep in mind, that verifying the item goes beyond personal inspection. The significance of having proper documentation cannot be emphasized enough, nor can the importance of seeking professional authentication services when uncertain. Be cautious of warning signs like prices that appear too low or sellers showing questionable behavior. These are often clear indicators that something is amiss. Always choose to buy from established sources, whether it’s authorized dealers for new watches or reputable pre-owned experts like Bob’s Watches for vintage and pre-owned timepieces.

Maintaining awareness and vigilance is your strongest defense against counterfeit watches. The world of luxury timepieces is filled with history, craftsmanship, and innovation – all qualities that genuine Audemars Piguet watches possess.

At Bob’s Watches, we recognize the value of authenticity and the importance of genuine horological craftsmanship. That’s why we welcome you to browse our meticulously selected collection of Audemars Piguet watches for sale. Each watch in our collection has been thoroughly authenticated, ensuring that when you make a purchase from us, you’re investing in an authentic piece of AP’s heritage. Whether you’re an experienced collector or a newcomer, our knowledgeable team is here to assist you in finding the perfect Audemars Piguet watch to treasure for years to come. Explore the world of genuine AP timepieces with Bob’s Watches – where excellence, trust, and a passion for horology converge.

Paul Altieri
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