How do you know for sure if your Rolex is the real deal? Watch enthusiast Nikhil Pawa gives us the lowdown.
Rolex. Just that name would make you picture a luxury watch in your mind. Perhaps the iconic Submariner, or the timeless Datejust. That’s the impact of 112 years of watchmaking, a successful horological giant in the industry and one of the most powerful brands on the face of the earth.
However, all this success does come at a price. The three most copied 1:1 examples of replica watches in the world are the Rolex DayDate, Datejust, and the Submariner. And every year, these fakes get harder and harder to spot.
Now if you’re purchasing your Rolex from an authorized dealer, there’s not much to worry about except for availability. However, this article is more for the novice watch aficionado or the average watch buyer who’s taking a dip in the horological world buying mint pieces and pre-owned pieces.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering if Rolexes hold their value well? Hell to the yes.
Now, every now and then you come across a killer deal on a mint (or great condition) pre-owned Rolex, but without the box or papers to verify and prove the purchase from the original authorized dealer. Some would walk away from the deal immediately and some would carry on. So, if you’re the type to dig deeper with reasonable doubt, here are 5 telltale signs of a fake Rollie.
The first symptom of a fake Rolex is weight of the Rolex. Keep in mind these are US$4000++, there should be no lightness, flimsiness to the case, bracelet and the links holding them together. Rolex uses a 904L Stainless Steel as opposed to the industry standard 316L stainless steel. That gives it a solid, chloride and corrosion resistance, thus preventing premature deterioration.
The second symptom is the magnification on the date window on the watch—also known as the cyclops. The Rolex cyclops is magnified to approximately 2.5x, whereas replicas struggle to make it to 2x. So if you’re in doubt and there’s a cyclops on the watch, take a quick look and make the judgement call
Replica watches, regardless of how close they come to looking the like the real thing, are still unable to match the exceptional Swiss craftsmanship of the original Rolexes.
Some telltale signs to look out for would be the written wordings on the dial itself—usually, they’d be extraordinarily symmetrical and balanced, from font to size. Another sign is the poor illumination on the minute and hour markers. Swiss manufacturing does not cut corners, and to maximize profits, replica makers often cut cost on the illumination of a watch.
If you’ve ever played around with a Rolex diver like the Submariner or the GMT, you would have tried to turn the bezel to test it out a bit. And if you have played with it, you’ll know exactly how smooth the bezel clicks and glides as it orbits around the dial.
With fake Rolexes however, the verb glide is far from the description of the sound it makes. In layman’s terms, it sounds like a fishing reel clicking in.
As stated earlier, as the years pass on, replicas become closer and closer to originals. That being said, the quickest and most valid proof of originality lies in what’s under the dial—not what’s on it.
Rolex, being an industry leader, developed their own mechanical movements that are beautifully accurate and robust. In the event of opening the case back of a fake Rolex, one would either find a quartz movement in a very cheap replica, or a Swiss ETA movement in an expensively priced replica.
These are just some of a few symptoms—there are plenty more in the details. The ones mentioned above are easy to look for, so any person can put these tips to practice.
Just remember to take your time when you’re looking at watches. Don’t make a purchase without doing your homework first.
Do you have a better idea now of how to spot a fake Rolex? Let us know in the comments!
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