When you’re shopping for a high-end luxury watch, there’s nothing worse than the fear that you might wind up with a counterfeit. The risk of purchasing a shoddy knock off can keep you from choosing the right watch in a price range that you can afford.

Because of this strong possibility, it’s important to do your homework. You’ve got to make sure that your hard earned money doesn’t get wasted on an inauthentic Rolex or Audemars Piguet.

To help you in that process, we’ve done the research. Here’s some tips to help you avoid shady dealers, and ways to spot fake watches.

What Does it Mean to be Authentic?

authentic watches

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According to dictionary.com, “authentic” is an adjective that means something is neither false or copied. Something authentic is the genuine article.

When you have something that is authentic you can know it to be real, with no exceptions or doubts.

When you’re talking about high-end luxury watches, there’s nothing more important than knowing that the merchants you are doing business with are legitimate and that your new watch is authentic.

Identifying Fake Watches

Wikihow offers several suggestions for how to spot a fake watch.

  1. Listen to see if you can hear a ticking noise. High-end luxury watches are built to perfection, and there won’t be any ticking noises. A fake watch’s shoddy craftsmanship means you can hear the parts move around inside.


  1. Pay close attention to all the small details of the watch. Do you see any sort of mistake that seems obvious? Are there odd marks, misspellings, or peeling paint? Does the clasp or hinge work correctly? If any of these things are off, you’re holding a knock-off.


  1. How is the quality of the lettering on the watch? Remember, the desingers working on the watch are masters of their craft who utilize precision engraving tools to create legible lettering. If any of the script is hard to read, then there is a good chance you are dealing with a fake.


  1. How much does the watch weigh? Luxury watches are made with precious metals and a lot of small moving components. These two combined will cause the watch to feel heavier than it would appear to be. Fake watches use cheap components and are therefore lighter than they look like they should be.


  1. Do the research on the brand and model of watch you’d like to purchase. Look through online auction sites and databases to learn as much information as you can about the particular watch you’ve chosen. Make yourself an expert on the watch of your dreams. The more you know about the watch of choice, the less likely someone will be able to sell you a counterfeit.


  1. One of the small details that often go overlooked is the stamps. Luxury watchmakers want to make sure you know whose watch you are buying. Make sure all the stamps are in the right place and are clear and easy to read.


  1. A place on the watch that counterfeiters skimp on is the bracelet. Luxury watches will have at least one of two stamps on the clasp and links that move smoothly. If the stamps are missing or the links don’t flow together, you’re definitely dealing with a fake watch.


  1. An easy way to verify a real watch is comparing the serial number on the watch itself to the case it comes in. Exercise caution about a watch sold without a box. Many counterfeits are sold this way.


  1. The easiest and best way to avoid purchasing a fake watch is to buy exclusively from an authorized dealer. While this may be the most expensive option, it is the safest. New watches will come with all of the paperwork and the serial numbers that will verify its authenticity.


  1. If you think a deal may be too good to believe, then you can take the watch to an appraiser to have them verify that this is indeed a real watch. An appraiser will be able to explain why they believe a watch is authentic or a knock-off.


  1. One way to avoid purchasing a fake watch if you’re going with a pre-owned model, is by checking the serial number against the manufacturer’s site. You can call the manufacturer and have them check the number for you as well. Luxury watch companies keep extensive records on all of the different watches they make and are therefore able to verify that a given watch is genuine or counterfeit.

If a fake watch is being offered for sale on an auction site or in a store, you should report the seller.

Before You Buy, Remember This

Always check serial numbers, the small details, and the quality of bracelet on a luxury watch that you’re about to shell out a lot of money for.

Your dream watch is the high-quality Rolex from Switzerland, not the Times Square knock-off Rolex counterfeit.

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