How to Spot a Fake Rolex

A Rolex is not just a luxurious timepiece, it is an investment, something to treasure and pass down to generations. A watch is also an integral part of men’s accessories. Of course, buying one from a registered store is an easy option to ensure that you are getting the real deal, but when there are so many lucrative deals out there to get your hands on a nice, pre-owned Rolex, it gets too tempting to resist.

It is very important to know how to spot a fake one to avoid being swindled. Of course, when you’re getting a ‘Rolex’ for $50 or $100, it’s obvious it isn’t the real deal, but there are some very good quality dupes out there that can fool anyone who’s not a watch expert!

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Here is our guide to help you spot a fake Rolex and save you from the dupes.

Know your seller

The simplest way to avoid buying a fake Rolex is simple- to not buy it on the street or out in the open, no matter how convincing the look of the watch or the seller! There are enough fake Rolex watches out there in the market, and buying one from a street kiosk is the easiest way to get cheated. Buying it from a registered store is a foolproof way to avoid being cheated. If you want to buy a pre-owned watch, buying it from an online portal which is reputable and trusted and sells products authenticated by experts is a safe bet.

The Rolex Look

Rolex watches have a very luxurious and solid look. Rolex does not manufacture gold-plated watches or in 14k gold. A genuine Rolex is crafted with stainless steel, 18k gold, or platinum. Additionally, there should be no fading on the metal. If you notice any fading, it is likely a fake watch.

Back Case

A genuine Rolex usually has plain metal on the back of the case and no engravings. This is usually very well sealed and hard to open. Also, if the Rolex has a glass exhibition case which allows the mechanism to be seen, then it is most probably a fake, unless it is one of the very rare see-through limited edition watches made by Rolex, which is a collector’s item.

Winding Crown

spot fake rolex
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The winding crown should have even engravings and grooves which are very finely crafted, which are characteristics of a real Rolex.

Lettering on the Dial

If the Rolex is authentic, then the numbers engraved on it will have an amount of delicacy which is hard to match. The printed lettering on the dial will be crisp and clear with excellent finish and smooth edges which a fake watch would likely lack.

Model and Serial Number Stamping

There is another easy to miss detail, which can be a dead giveaway in case of a fake Rolex. In an original, the model number is etched between the lugs at 12 o’clock, the serial number between the lugs at 6 o’clock. Since 2005, Rolex has started etching the serial number on the inside of the bezel under the crystal at 6 o’clock. The engraving is highly detailed and super sharp. If the Rolex is a fake, then these numbers look rough without any finish to them.

Crown Etching

You might need a magnifying glass for this one! Every Rolex watch made since 2002 has a tiny crown logo etched at the 6 o’clock position. The reason why counterfeiters find it hard to replicate this is because of the precision in that tiny size of the logo and the expensive technology and craftsmanship that goes behind it is difficult to replicate.

The Sound

A real Rolex will not have a loud ticking sound from the watch, if it does have one, then it’s probably not genuine!

Watch Hands

  • The fluidity of the second hand

Another giveaway on a phony Rolex is the movement of the second hand. It must tick smoothly with noticeable precision and fineness instead of stuttering or jumping between ticks. The reason for that is that in a genuine Rolex, each second is broken down into eight steps which gives a smooth and continuous feel, as if its sweeping rather than ticking. This is a level of precision only a luxury brand like Rolex can achieve.

  • The style of the hands

Every model of the Rolex comes with a specific style of hands, some thin, some thick which is characteristic of that collection. Make sure that the style of the hands matches the Rolex model you have, if it doesn’t then it’s probably a replica!

Date Window

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Shopping for Men’s Watches for the first time? This is something novices usually miss. An original Rolex has a Cyclops lens over the date window, which magnifies the numbers to 3 or 4x magnification aspect. This is hard to replicate, so a fake will mostly not have it. In an original, the lens is positioned in the centre, right above the number.

Gold Hallmark

This one is applicable to gold Rolex watches. There should be a gold hallmark (specific to the country it was sold/bought from), which is a stamp on the back of the case or the strap.

Of course, it is easy to compare the difference between a fake and real Rolex when you have them side-by-side, but when you are considering buying a pre-owned, research diligently beforehand.

ALSO READ: How To Spot A Fake Rolex Datejust Watch

Always remember, sometimes counterfeiters mix and match parts from real and fake Rolex watches, making distinguishing the two even more difficult, so check for all the tell-tale signs. Follow these useful tips and you can be confident that you have an original Rolex on your hands!

Swati Talwar

Global Content and India Office Head

Seasoned lover of the written word. Travel junkie and Hogwarts alumni. Currently composing notes for the upcoming fashion week. You can also call me Licorne Magique (don't ask me why!).

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