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How to Spot a Fake Rolex: The Ultimate Guide (with Infographic)

Rolex Yachtmaster 116622

Rolex is the most well-known luxury brand in the world. It has established an enormously powerful brand, and if you ask 14-year olds or seventy-year-olds if they can mention a luxury watch brand, most of them will say Rolex.

Known for its precision timepieces, and for being a reliable piece of jewelry which keeps ticking generation after generation, Rolex has become the ultimate symbol of success and luxury.

Unfortunately, though, Rolex’s immense popularity has also made it the most replicated watch brand in the world.

Some of the many Rolex watches you may see on the street or on someone’s wrist may very well be fake, but most importantly, is that you want to be careful when buying Rolex watches in order to avoid being paying large money, but getting a counterfeit replica Rolex. The best way to protect yourself from fake watches is to buy from trusted watch retailers like Millennium watches, who have been in the industry for countless of years, and know a fake Rolex when we see one.

While many of the counterfeiters have improved their watchmaking process in order to make it as similar to a real Rolex, there’s nothing like the real deal. Rolex’s watches are made to absolute perfection, with no mistakes, no small imperfections. Counterfeiters, on the other hand, are not able to achieve, the same perfection as Rolex, and compromise on quality and materials. This is where you can tell the real from the fakes, and no matter how hard the counterfeiters try, getting to Rolex’s standard is impossible, having perfected and refined their craft for over 100 years.Rolex 116655

Some fake Rolexes are lower-quality and can instantly be called fake, especially due to the fact that many of the replicas out there are fake watches made in models that don’t exist and have features that aren’t available on the real watches. On the flip side, there are also replicas where the manufacturer has paid great effort into manufacturing something that looks very similar to the real thing.

Of course, since there’s no way to reach Rolex’s standard, by knowing how to spot a fake Rolex, and by knowing what you should look for, you will be able to easily call the fakes from the real deal within seconds.

If you’ve decided to buy a Rolex, it’s important that you can tell spot a fake Rolex from the real thing before you buy a watch believing it is real.

In this article, we share an infographic with you with all the tells to spot a fake Rolex, and we also go through each of the tells to spot a fake Rolex and explain them more thoroughly.

How to spot a fake Rolex

About fake Rolex watches

The market for fake Rolexes is huge. In fact, the market for counterfeit watches is even larger. While most of the fake Rolexes sold are bought by individuals who try to pull it off as the real deal knowing its fake, unfortunately, it’s not completely uncommon that people buy Rolexes thinking that it’s the real deal, only to find out (or not find out) that it’s a replica.

In recent years, scammers have also started going out of their way to make their counterfeit watches look like the real deal, by creating boxes, papers, certificates, and more.

As the Rolex brand gets more well-known and sought-after, the market for fake Rolexes grows larger, as the demand for those who can’t or do not want to buy the real deal increases.

The majority of fake Rolex watches are made in China or other places in Asia. Counterfeit watches are illegal due to the fact that they steal and replicate another brand’s design, logo, and brand, and thus the customs work hard with seizing any counterfeit goods, including fake Rolexes that they can find.

Unfortunately, the fake Rolexes are simply too many, and the majority of fake Rolexes get through customs and can reach the markets around the world. Additionally, ordering fake Rolexes from the internet has become easier than ever.

The cost of counterfeit Rolexes vary a lot, depending on how much effort the manufacturers have put into making them as close to the real thing as possible, but the prices can vary from some tens of dollars, all the way up to several hundred dollars. And some Rolex replicas has especially become more expensive over the years, as they’ve gotten closer and closer to the real deal. Today, the most commonly replicated Rolex models are the Submariners and the Datejusts.

The caseback

There are two ways you can spot a fake Rolex by its caseback. The first is if the watch has a see-through caseback. Rolex makes none of its models with a see-through caseback, but some of the fake watches are equipped with one.

The other tell is engravings. Apart from just a few exceptions, such as the vintage COMEX Submariner, Rolex does not engrave the exterior of their casebacks. If you see engravings on the watch, it’s most likely a replica – especially if the watch is of a newer model. Rolex engraves no logos, no text, or icons in any of their newer models.

The bracelet

Just like the overall feel of the watch, if you feel a real Rolex bracelet and then a fake bracelet, you’ll notice a considerable difference in both weight and quality of the Rolex bracelet.

Rolex 114060
An authentic Rolex

The replica bracelets are made of low-quality materials, and you can feel that the bracelet is of low quality. Genuine Rolex bracelets feel robust and strong, made only of the best materials. The bracelet of a fake Rolex often jangles and just sounds low-quality. If you want to take it one step further, if you have a steel Rolex bracelet, you can inspect the steel type of the bracelet, either by measuring density or with the help of a tool. Rolex uses 904L steel in its watches, unlike any other watch manufacturer, whereas other brands, and most often counterfeiters, 316L steel.

Movement

If you get access to the watch’s movement, this is an obvious tell if you know how a real one looks. Rolex’s movements are of perfection an precision, unlike fake movements.

Real movements always have ”Rolex” engraved, and replica movements most often have no engravings.

While many replica Rolexes utilize low-quality automatic movements, some use quartz movements. This means that you can take a look at the second hand, and if it ticks, it’s fake because all Rolex watches are automatic, except for Rolex’s Oysterquartz watches, which are now discontinued. Additionally, these quartz watches were made in small quantities, so if you come across a ticking second hand on a Rolex and it’s not an OysterQuartz, you can be certain that it’s fake. Have in mind though, that when we say ”sweeping”, an automatic watch is also powered by ”beats”, but rather than beating 60 times per minute, a Rolex automatic movement beats several times per seconds, thus creating a sweeping effect.


Rolex OysterQuartz Datejust Reference 17000

Authentic Rolex OysterQuartz

But on the flip side, in efforts to make the fake Rolex watches more authentic, most of them now use automatic movements. These are of low quality and are made with cheap materials, so if you can open up the casebook, you’ll be able to instantly tell fakes from the real deal.

Opening a Rolex isn’t the easier task if you don’t have the right tools – especially if the watch is the real deal. With the help of special tools from Rolex, you can unscrew the casebook and take a look at the movement inside. Inside the watch, you should see an engraving revealing the metal type and the model number. 

The sound

If you have a hard time differentiating a ticking second hand from a swiping (quartz vs automatic), you can listen to the watch. If it ticks fast repeatedly, it’s an automatic watch. (TICKTICKTICKTICKTICK). If it’s a quartz watch (thus most likely fake), it ticks one time each second (TICK…….TICK……..TICK…..)

Cyclops

Almost all Rolex watches with a date functions have a magnifying cyclops glued on the glass to make the date easier to read. Without the magnifying glass, the date text is small and harder to read.

The cyclops magnifies the date by 2.5X, but most of the fake watches that replicate date models just put a piece of glass without any magnifying effect, since creating such piece of glass is difficult and expensive. And even if the counterfeiters make efforts to create a magnifying effect, they seldom get it right with 2.5X enlargement, but instead, it zooms the date too much or too little. When you know how the date should look, this is often the easiest way to tell a fake watch when it has a date function.

Date window

Apart from just the fact that fake Rolex watches tend to have an improper zoom on their magnifying glass, the date text and window is often an easy way to spot a fake Rolex. On a real watch, the date is perfect. The numbers have no ink bleeding, end up right in the middle of the window, and are completely straight. As for a fake Rolex, it’s often the opposite of all of that.

Rehaut

Modern Rolex watches should have an engraving on the reheat, the inner rim between the dial and the crystal. The engraving says ”RolexRolexRolex…” and at 6 o’clock, the serial number is engraved. Some replica watches have tried to replicate this, however, the engraving tends to just be printed on the rehaut, or is very imprecise, unlike the real deal which is done with perfection, with no inconsistencies.

Rolex Engraved Rehaut

Authentic Rolex engraving

Dial font

Rolex makes its watches to perfection, and if you can see inconsistencies, blurs, unevenness, the spacing in the font, ink bleeding, it’s probably a replica. Therefore, an easy way to spot a fake Rolex is to carefully inspect the dial font and text. The text should be easy to read, and there should be no misspellings, uneven letters, or similar.

Do, however, have in mind that vintage Rolexes can be a completely different story, especially as these can often be 20, 30, 40 years old, and this obviously affects the dial of the watch as well as the font and the text.

Rolex Explorer 2 216570

Authentic Rolex Explorer II 216750

Micro-etched crown

Rolex began micro-etching a Rolex crown of minuscule size at the 6 o’clock position on the crystal in 2002.

This micro detail is hard to see with the naked eye, but in the right light, it’s possible.

If watches made later than 2002 don’t have the Rolex crown etched on the glass, chances are, it’s a replica, because this detail is so small and hard to make, replica watches tend to overlook it. It is expensive for the counterfeiters to make, and the vast majority of them don’t have the necessary tools to make them.

Waterproof

All Rolex watches are waterproof. Some more waterproof than others. Fake watches, on the other hand, are seldom waterproof, so testing the watch’s water profess is a way to tell if the watch is fake or not. Have in mind, though, that if the Rolex is old and haven’t been serviced for a long time, it may, despite being authentic, not be waterproof anymore. Testing the watch’s waterproofness is thus not the ideal method to spot a fake Rolex on.

Serial numbers

Another way to spot a fake Rolex is to look at the serial numbers of the watch.

The serial numbers are situated on the side of the case – where the bracelet is attached to the case. However, Rolex also engraves the serial number at 6 o’ clock on the rehaut of the watch – the inner bezel. The serial number should be deeply and perfectly engraved with fine lines.

Replicas often have tiny dots making up the engraving, and others have a sandy texture in the engraving, as opposed to Rolex’s clear and smooth engraving.

The crown

The winding crown on a fake Rolex is of low quality and has a basic look, while a real Rolex has a quality feel to it, with engravings and grooves made to perfection. Genuine watches have the Rolex crown and three raised dots on it.

Clasp

All genuine Rolex watches –  no matter which bracelet type has the Rolex crown on it.

On an authentic watch, the crown should be perfect with no flaws. The ballpoints of the fake watches should be well defined and raised up (or lowered down) depending on the model.

Rolex clasp

Model

Often times, fake Rolexes are made with own designs and varieties of existing Rolex models. This is why, often times, you’ll see fake Rolex watches which are made in a design, variant or color scheme which does not exist. This obviously refers to the cheaper fake Rolex watches, but this makes it the easiest way to spot a fake Rolex if you know your Rolex models.

It’s not completely uncommon that watches such as the Rolex Daytona instead of having chronographs that measure seconds, instead have date functions, and so on.

In some cases, the fake watch manufacturers have just taken a normal watch and printed a Rolex logo on the dial. These are the fake Rolexes which can be spotted from a mile away since the models are often far from what Rolex would normally make.

Metal

The metal is often a dead giveaway and an easy way to spot a fake Rolex. The reason is that the counterfeit watches are never made in the same metals as the Rolex watches are.

When it comes to the stainless steel, Rolex uses a much more 

Compare models

The first step to identify a fake Rolex is to see if that model even exists. Some replicas are so poorly made that they’ve just written a Rolex model on the dial of a watch while looks completely different from the real model.

But if you’ve found that the model does in fact exist, the best way to see if a watch is fake is to take up a picture of a real Rolex and then compare the too. Is there anything that stands out on the watch?

Continue reading to dig into our infographic on how to spot a fake Rolex:

How to spot a fake Rolex Infographic

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