The Rolex name has enjoyed many superlatives throughout its history. Rolex has been crowned the “world’s most reputable company” for the fourth year in a row by the Reputation Institute. Moreover, according to Morgan Stanley, Rolex also has the biggest market share among the 350 brands that make up the Swiss watch market, with an estimated annual turnover of over $ 5 billion. And we can’t forget that Rolex is the current record holder for the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction when Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona sold for $17.8 million a few years back.
However, with all this glory also comes the undesirable side effect of being the most counterfeited luxury watch brand in the market. When you produce some of the most sought-after luxury goods ever made, there will inevitably be counterfeiters right behind you trying to capitalize on your renowned name. Which is why is it important to know how to spot a fake Rolex when the market is replete with so many forgeries. In the past, it used to be relatively easy to spot a fake Rolex since the quality of the replicas was so poor. However, with the rise of the Rolex super fakes, consumers must be even more vigilant to avoid inadvertently buying a replica Rolex. The quality and execution of the new Rolex super fakes are incredibly convincing these days thanks to the accessibility of sophisticated machinery and cutting-edge technology.
To help you protect yourself from the counterfeits, we examined three fake Rolex watches at different price points to give you a general guide on what to look for.
The $50 Fake Rolex Watch
As expected with a price point this low, $50 fake Rolex watches are very poor quality with plenty of details that give away their forged nature. For instance, real Rolex Day-Date President watches are exclusively made in solid precious metals (gold or platinum). So, if you have a gold-plated President in hand, it is a fake.
Furthermore, cheap fake Rolex watches almost always use cheap quartz movements. While not all Rolex watches are automatic (there have been quartz Rolex models over the years such as the Oysterquartz, Rolex 5100, and select Cellini models) if you see a quartz-powered Rolex with the word “Perpetual” on the dial (i.e. Day-Date, Datejust, Submariner, GMT-Master, Explorer, and others) then it’s a fake. The term “Perpetual” is Rolex’s name for a self-winding movement and genuine automatic Rolex watches should house a seconds hand that sweeps smoothly around the dial rather than abruptly tick from one position to the next.
If you look closely at the dial of a $50 fake Rolex, chances are that the text is printed poorly; it’s either lopsided or the letters are fat or bleed rather than the clean, sharp, and perfectly aligned text of a genuine Rolex dial. What’s more, a real Rolex Cyclops lens will magnify the date 2.5 times where the digit/s should fill the entire lens. On the other hand, low-cost fake Rolex watches will have lenses on the crystal that do not magnify the date nearly as much.
The $200 Fake Rolex Watch
The $200 fake Rolex is typically better quality than the cheaper replicas – for example, they tend to run on automatic movements. But they still have plenty of red flags that you can spot upon closer inspection. The text is normally still not sharp and precise, the Cyclops lens is not magnifying as it should, and details like lume-filled hour markers tend to bubble rather than being flat.
If you can open up the caseback of a fake Rolex, the movement is usually a dead giveaway of a counterfeit piece. Authentic Rolex movements are constructed, finished, and engraved to a level of quality well beyond those automatic movements found in $200 fake Rolex watches. Look at the jewels, the execution of the text/number engravings, and the quality of materials used. Counterfeiters of mid-priced fake Rolex watches bank on the fact that you won’t see the movement up close so they do not put in the effort to make a believable movement.
The $500 Super Fake Rolex Watch
In recent years, the so-called super fakes have been coming to market, which are exceedingly good copies of Rolex watches. They are priced around $500 or more. They have automatic movements, well-executed dials, magnification lenses that come very close to the genuine Rolex ones and even have ceramic bezels on select models.
Makers of the super fakes also take great care to make sure details like the bracelet and clasp are as close to the genuine versions as possible, complete with extension systems. Even the interiors of the casebacks are properly engraved and copycat movements are almost indistinguishable from genuine ones, down to details like blue hairsprings.
It takes a true expert to tell the difference between a super fake and a genuine Rolex watch. Oftentimes the slight variations – such as subtle color differences, metal finishes, and detail placements—can only be spotted when the watches are placed side-by-side. Hands down, your best tool against getting deceived by a super fake Rolex watch is to buy from a trusted source.
Buying a fake Rolex, even at the best quality possible, is never worth it. Not only is it illegal to buy, sell, or possess forgeries (with legal repercussions in the US such as jail time and hefty fines), but the vast sums of money made from counterfeit products have been linked to the drug trade, human trafficking, child labor, and other horrific criminal activities.
Always buy the real deal and depend on trusted sources like Bob’s Watches to spot the fake Rolex watches for you.
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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Copyright Bob's Watches. All rights reserved. Bob's Watches is not affiliated with Rolex S.A., Rolex USA, or any of its subsidiaries.
Bob's Watches is an independent watch dealer and is not sponsored by, associated with and/or affiliated with Rolex, S.A. Bob's Watches only sells pre-owned Rolex watches and provides its own warranties on the watches it sells. Rolex, www.rolex.com, is under no obligation to warranty-service watches sold by Bob's Watches. Rolex Datejust, Rolex Day Date President, Submariner, Presidential, Explorer, Sea Dweller, Super President, GMT Master, GMT, YachtMaster, Prince, Milgauss, MasterPiece, Air King, Cosmograph Daytona, and PearlMaster are all registered trademarks of the Rolex Corporation ( Rolex USA, Rolex S.A.) To buy a new Rolex watch, please visit rolex.com for a list of authorized Rolex dealers near you. * Sales tax on Internet transactions is only collected on orders shipped to addresses in California or as otherwise required by law.