How to spot a fake Rolex

Rolex Watches

Investing in a premium watch, whether for yourself or as a special gift, requires ensuring it’s authenticity – of product and seller. Due to the worldwide reputation of such a brand, Rolex watches are increasingly being copied and sold as the real deal by those who see an opportunity to make big money from the big name. Whilst there are sometimes obvious causes for concern over the authenticity of a fake Rolex watch, replicas and counterfeit watchmakers are becoming more clever in their trade, with only small details being the giveaway of a fake branded watch.

How to tell a fake Rolex 

ladies Rolex Watches

Rolex is one of the most widely regarded watch companies in history, and the number of Rolex watches sold each year highlights this. For most people a Rolex is more than just a watch, it symbolises status and profession, as well offering reliability, strength alongside a long history. Rolex watches have always been considered the original ‘tool watch’. Collectors of vintage Rolex watches love the notion that so many of the classic models were created for specific, functional purposes. These purposes are often adventurous ones and not just for the simple purpose of decoration. 

There is an increasing demand for these luxury timepieces, and with this widespread demand continuing to rise, it’s easy to be tricked into purchasing a Rolex replica. How do you know you’re purchasing the real deal? Here at Miltons Diamonds, we’ve been trading in luxury watches and jewellery for over 80 years. During this period we have built a reputation on trust, values and professionalism. Our retail department specialises in new and quality second-hand jewellery and luxury pre-owned Swiss-made watches, holding a stock of over 400 real Rolex watches. We employ over 40 highly trained, friendly staff including onsite gemologists, watch experts and working jewellers, so you can depend on a quality product. We’ve put together a clear and simple guide, addressing the 8 notable ways to spot a fake Rolex, this way you can ensure you’re purchasing the real deal.

8 notable ways to spot a fake Rolex.

1. Movement and Action.

Take a close look at the sweeping of the second hand. In a genuine Rolex, the movement will be smooth with no stuttering. If you can see the second hand ticking then this watch has more than likely a quartz movement which would suggest the watch is a fake. Rolex made a very limited number of Quartz movements in the 1970’s so you are unlikely to see quartz. When the case back is removed, each movement should look like a masterpiece and have the correct calibre number engraved for the watch model. In some cases, you may find a real Rolex has had the original movement replaced by an original but incorrect Rolex movement.

The sophistication of fake Rolex watches has increased year on year, so it would be wise to take the watch to a Rolex trader and have them take the back off the watch to see the movement and reference this against technical documents.   

2. Luminescence.

We’d also recommend checking the luminescence on the hour markers and on the hands as they can be difficult to apply, and look to see that it doesn’t appear to be painted outside of the lines, giving a blotchy appearance.

3. A lightweight watch could mean a fake.

Perhaps a more obvious giveaway refers to the weight of the watch itself. A true Rolex should feel weighted due to the high-quality materials used in its creation. A counterfeit Rolex replica watch not made from these premium materials will weigh less and be notably lighter. Also, Rolex watches are never gold-plated – they are either 14ct or 18ct gold! On many fakes, you will find a stainless steel watch has 18ct or 750 hallmarks, this allows you to tell the watch is fake instantly.

4. Cyclops magnification.

In terms of Rolex design, the Cyclops is referred to as such due to the small window that displays the date on the watch face. In a genuine Rolex watch, the lens over this window will magnify the number 2.5 times to aid readability. This can be a difficult feature to replicate so will be easy to spot in cheap counterfeits, but with advances in technology, counterfeiters have managed to create very good replicas, with the date being magnified correctly.

5. The sapphire glass.

The Rolex crown lasered on the glass at the 6 o’clock position was introduced on later models, so may not be on every Rolex glass. The lasered logo is often very difficult to see with a 10 x Loupe, with experts having to catch the light on the glass to allow the Crown to be visible.

On a cheap fake, the crown is often clearly visible. If you can see a crown on the glass with your naked eye then it should raise your suspicions.

Funnily enough, before Rolex released this feature they mentioned that they were going to do this in a press conference, and the fraudsters released the fakes with the fake glass before Rolex had released the actual version. Luckily, this made these fakes very easy to spot!

6. Caseback engraving

If you turn a supposedly genuine Rolex watch over and see an engraved case back, then expect it to be counterfeit, bar the older and more rare Rolex models which may have simple ‘Stainless Steel’ type engravings. As a brand, Rolex does not engage in the practice of engraving their case backs, so you should find no logos or pictures on the back of yours. Ironically, forgers will add the engraved Rolex brand logo for ‘extra authenticity’. A common fake Rolex Daytona often has a picture of the 24 hour Daytona Race on the back. Discrepancies with the dial.

7. Discrepancies with the dial.

This may seem slightly obvious when comparing two apparently genuine Rolex watches, but if you’re without comparison, it can be easy to mistake a fake for the real thing. Keep an eye out for discrepancies in fonts and font sizes on the dial, misspellings, or inconsistent spaces between the lettering. Also, ensure that the date is fully central and fits right in the cyclops window. Any tiny details like this should raise a big red flag if you’re considering making a purchase. 

8. Surface serial and model number engraving.

In the 90s and early 00s, Rolex watches still featured serial and model numbers engraved by hand onto the metal. The serial number is located between the lugs at 6 o’clock and model number between the lugs at 12 o’clock. The case between the lugs should have a vertical brushed metal finish. To view these you need to take the bracelet off. With a counterfeit Rolex, the creators may not have access to the machinery required to do this engraving, so their serial and model number may appear to be laser etched onto the surface. This lower quality marking should be a dead giveaway of its true authenticity. On newer models, the serial number has been removed from the 6 o’clock position to the inner rehaut. Rolex believed this would be impossible for the counterfeiters to replicate, but they have managed to do so.

It is often best to look at the whole package, where you are buying the watch from, how cheap you are buying the watch for, the reputation of the people you are buying the watch from. If you are unsure about the authenticity of your Rolex watch, take it to an expert.

Buy real Rolex online 

Rolex models

As a reputable seller of second-hand watches and jewellery, our ladies’ Rolex watches and men’s Rolex watches are strictly authentic. Our luxurious pre-owned Rolex watches are checked thoroughly by our team of professionals, so you can buy with us in confidence and enjoy your premium timepiece, without any uncertain authenticity issues.

Carrying all of the brand’s expected hallmarks, our collection of Rolex watches boast a fine display of decadence due to their high-end design and luxe connotations. The brand is so luxurious that it has been spotted on several James Bond actors during filming many instalments of the 007 franchise.

Our pre-owned Rolex watches can be found in pristine condition, with an original box, papers and manual for further peace of mind. We also offer a guaranteed two-year warranty on all of our pre-owned Rolex watches. Alternatively, if you are interested in selling a used Rolex watch to Miltons Diamonds, visit our Sell Your Watch page to get in touch with a member of Milton’s team.

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