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Bought a Fake Rolex? How to Spot a Fake Instantly

Updated on February 13, 2018

How to Spot a Fake Rolex

The ultimate symbol of refinement and elegance, Rolex watches unfortunately also take up a good amount of the counterfeit market. The difference between a fake and a real Rolex watch is not obvious immediately. However, with a few basic guidelines, it is at times a possibility to determine whether you are getting a cheap imitation or the real deal when it comes to your Rolex. For counterfeits of high quality on the other hand, you may need to talk to a professional. Here are a few things you can do to judge your Rolex quality.

The Crown at 6

At 6 o’clock you can find the crown. Beginning in the mid millennial year 2000, the trademark logo crown was etched by Rolex into the watch dial crystal. If your watch was manufactured in the last 10 or so years, you may be able to see this tiny authenticity mark. Use a jewelers lens and a magnifying glass to examine the glass carefully at the end of the watch dial at 6 o’clock. Look for the crown logo of Rolex, which is the same as the opposite end dial crown logo, although the one on the opposite side has a logo that is much larger. You are actually looking for etchings that are not easy to see and are extremely small. You might find that it makes it easy to see if you shine the watch at an angle and light the watch face.

Crown Logo

On the dial, there needs to be a crown logo of high quality. Every watch by Logo has the crown trademark logo at the dial top near the marking of 12 o’clock. This logo needs to be examined under a magnifying glass and may reveal instantly that what you have is not authentic. This should look like it is made of metal high quality construction. There needs to be bumps raised at the circles at the crown point ends. The crown’s outline needs to shine with a different sheen which is metallic compared to the one inside it. If the logo crown looks flat under a magnifying glass or cheap, this is not the real thing.

Inside Dial’s Rim

Another authenticity mark is the etched, fine lettering included usually around the watch rim of the Rolex dial. Use a jeweler’s lens or a magnifying glass to examine the letters. These should have no imperfections, be elegant, precise and fine. In addition, the letters need to be etched into the rim of the metal. If it looks like it is instead printed or painted, this is not a sign of Rolex authenticity. Plus, keep in mind that it is typical that every watch from the Oyster series of Rolex bears this type of etches. From the series of Rolex called Cellini, there are usually designs that are not standard like faces in a rectangular shape or the like, and may not have this etched as well.

Serial Number

Some counterfeits that are expertly made will be hard to differentiate from the real thing. In order for you to see hard to detect features, you will need t examine the intricate, tiny detailed work on the watch. This is hard to spot. To being, try to find the serial number of the watch. This will require watch band removal. This can usually be done by pushing the joints holding the bands to the watch with a thumb tack in its place or an object with a similar size. If you are not comfortable doing this, you can ask an expert to do this for you. Check to see the end of the dial at 6 o’clock between the lugs as this is where the serial number is located. With the serial number, you will be able to look at the watch manufacture date. There are many sources online that come in handy for you to get some assistance. Between the opposite lug set, there needs to be another marking that is similar. You will see the words ORIG ROLEX DESIGN and a case reference number labeled with it. On the serial number, the letters need to be precise and perfect with lines that are fine. One method called acid etching is something used by counterfeiters which produces markings on the serial number with a noticeable appearance of being sandy under a magnifying glass.

Put it Beside the Real Thing

To find out whether or not you have an authentic Rolex on your hands, one way you can do this is to put it beside the real thing. If you don’t have the real, authentic version in your hands, check for an online picture of a real Rolex online or in a magazine. Look at the numerals, where the date is, the strap and the dial. It is helpful to see the way your Rolex should look like. Find the right model on the official website of Rolex. Compare the watch appearance to that of images of ‘references.’ The dial is something you need to pay attention to in a special manner. Does your watch have a date dial or a chronograph extra dial? Are these all in the right places? Is the lettering the same? Are there identical inscriptions? If your answer to all the questions happens to be no, then a fake is most likely what you have. The brand Rolex is well known around the world for a good reason and this is its craftsmanship quality. It is extremely rare for errors to be noticeable.

Waterproof or Not?

To determine whether or not your Rolex is the real thing or a fake, one surefire way is to check how water tight it happens to be. Every watch by the esteemed Rolex brand is made to be airtight perfectly. If there is even a tiny leak, it is most likely not an authentic watch. In order for you to determine whether or not your Rolex is a real, authentic watch, take the watch and dunk it in a cup with water for more than just a few seconds. You can then remove the watch and check to see if the dial contains any water. The watch should remain in perfect condition. If you see even a tiny bit of water within the dial, or some moisture that has seeped in, then you will know that what you have is not really authentic.

Of course you need to keep in mind that should the watch you are testing not be authentic, doing the water test on it may just cause it to become damaged. To prevent damaging a watch, you might need to take the Rolex you are testing for authenticity to a repairman with a lot of experience or buy a brand new one in the event that doing the water test does damage the watch. In other words, if these possibilities are something you are not comfortable with, you will need to be reliant on other tests. Also, it literally pays to keep in mind that among the Rolexes available in the market these days, the Submariner is the only one that is created for use in deep water. While a Rolex is great for the swimming pool or in the shower, more serious water conditions and extreme submersion may cause your authentic Rolex to leak.

Non Metal Construction

When you turn over a real Rolex, the watch back needs to be made of high quality, unmarked, smooth metal. If it does not have a leather strap, the watch needs to be made from metal construction of high quality. If there is a cheap looking, thin or plastic part on the watch, such as aluminum, the chances are what you have is a fake. These are clear signs and qualities that there were cutting corners when the watch was being manufactured. Only the best materials create a real Rolex, and no expense is spared when each watch is created. Plus, if the watch back casing appears to be made from metal but can be removed to reveal an inner plastic case, this is not a genuine watch.

Watch Backside

Some Rolex counterfeit watches feature a glass with a clear back allowing you to see the watch’s inner workings. This backing which is clear may not or may be concealed under a metal cover you can remove. As a matter of fact, among the Rolex brand current models, there are no clear case backs any longer. To put it another way, yours is not a real Rolex if it has a clear case back. Another fact is that clear case backings are what only a few Rolex’s contain and these were all models for exhibition. Some fake watch makers add a clear case back to their watches to allow potential buyers to view the watch inner workings rather than to get an alert that this is not the real thing.


There is some heft in a real Rolex since these are constructed from real crystal and metal. For this reason, when you hold a real Rolex in your hand, it needs to feel substantial and solid. If you are holding a suspiciously light weight Rolex, this may not be the real thing. It may not contain many Rolex’s precious metals or may be entirely constructed from materials that are less than top quality.

Date Magnification

Not all, but a lot of Rolexes have a small window or dial that has the date on display. This is usually on the watch face’s right side near the position or three o’clock. To make the date easily readable, there is a small magnification lens that Rolex includes called ‘Cyclops’ sometimes in the dial’s glass. This is a ‘hard to counterfeit’ feature so a lot of the different counterfeit Rolexes may include something that looks like a panel for magnification but when you inspect this closely, it is simply just glass that is ordinary. If the panel for magnification over the dial of the date does not actually seem to make the numbering of the date any bigger, yours might be counterfeit.

Actual magnification by Rolex needs to magnify about two and a half of the date. The entire window should almost be entirely taken up by the date. Some great counterfeit versions will somewhat cause the date to be magnified but frequently only to the point that there is a filling of the entire window.

Second Hand Jerky Motion

Since the ‘seconds’ hand of a real Rolex sweeps smoothly across the watch face, rather than jerking from one ‘second’ to the next, you will know immediately that the Rolex you are checking out is a fake if the second hand moves in a less than smooth manner from one second to the next. Does the hand trace a smooth perfect circular path around the watch face edge or does it to jerk, slow down or speed up as it turns. If the motion of the seconds hand is not smooth as silk, you might be looking at a fake. As a matter of face, when you look very closely at the second’s hand of a real Rolex, you might note that is not extremely perfect either. Actually, many models move at about eight tiny movements per second. There are even slower speeds for certain models. This is a usually undetectable motion, however, to the naked eye in such a way that the seconds hand looks like it is smoothly moving.

Listen to the Tick

On regular watches, the second hand motion is truncated and jerky. There is an abrupt shift on the second hand from each position from one second to the next. Many other fine watches, as well as a Rolex have almost perfectly smooth second hands. Due to this quality, there is no ‘ticking’ sound that a Rolex makes. Listen closely to your Rolex before you actually shell out some hard earned cash to buy it. If your watch is making a noise that is somewhat like a ‘ticking’ sound, this is an immediate sign that the Rolex you are checking out is not the real thing.

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