Fake Watch Guide Part 1 (2019)

Fake Watches Now Worth $1bn a Year

Fake watches are a billion dollar industry. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), they estimate that 40 million counterfeit watches are produced annually. Yes, annually. This is more than the entire Swiss Watch industry!

These watches come from China and it's spreading throughout Asia too. As you can see, the market is getting bigger but What's driving it? The quality.

Each year, the quality is getting better and better and unknowing customers are continually getting caught out. 

In this free watch guide, you'll understand the way that counterfeit watches are made and the signs that give them away. 

1) Know Your Seller

An obvious one but it's imperative that you verify the seller and ensure they are reputable. If you can, contact the seller to gain a greater understanding of who they are and the watch in question

Ask for service history, provenance, condition and anything else that can affect the functionality of the watch. This can help to calm any doubts that you may have regarding the source. 

The internet is a strong tool so why not use it? Research the seller online and find testimonials or service ratings from well-known sites.

2) Am I Supposed to Hear it Tick?

Swiss watchmakers like Rolex, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Phillippe and others create their watches with a supreme quality.

The calibers are made in-house and are so delicate, intricate and compact that it means they behave differently to a normal watch.

The trick is to listen. Fake watches can contain quartz or Chinese movements which you can hear tick and this is one telltale sign that the watch is indeed a fake.

However, counterfeit watches have been known to contain second-hand ETA movements which help to disguise them. Although the quality is not the same, it helps to illustrate how they are finding new ways to catch unknowing buyers out.

3) Magnifying Test

You've seen the dial of a luxury watch - they are exquisite. Every minute detail is done to perfection and this is because their entire reputation is based on it.

A master watchmaker will ensure that each letter is legible to the human eye. In addition to this, they perform this in such a manner and style that counterfeit watchmakers can struggle.

All you need to do is magnify the dial in question and put it against a real one for scrutiny. If you're satisfied then you can move onto other tests. 

What you're looking for are misspelt words, spacings that are inconsisent and anything uneven. If any of these are found then you may most likely be in the possession of a fake watch. 

4) Engravings

Watchmakers have certain signatures that counterfeiters struggle to replicate.

For example, Rolex micro-etch their crown onto the dial and this cannot be seen by the naked eye. However, this practice has only been around since 2002.

This makes it imperative that you have studied the watch you're interested in to find these small little details that can have a huge impact.

5) The Weight Test

Not long ago, this used to be the go-to test for a fake watch. 

As you know, luxury watches are made with precious metals, bespoke calibers and complications that can add some serious weight to a watch. Take a look at the Breitling Navitimer or the Pate Philippe Grand Complication.

Fake watches used to be quite light and this would simply not correlate with a chunky Navitimer or Daytona. However, there have been instances where they have matched the weight of the watch, so don't rely solely on this test.

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Read Part 2
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