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6 Jun

How to Identify Fake Luxury Watches Like a Pro?

When you buy a luxury watch, you’re not just making a purchase-you’re investing in its craftsmanship, innovation and sophistication. So, it’s only natural for you to expect a real deal. But with long waiting lists, buying secondhand luxury watches might be the best way to quickly get the watch you desire. But with that comes a risk – buying a fake watch.

Selling fake watches is a big business, and the market has only grown over time. What’s worse, counterfeiters are becoming increasingly accurate in producing fake copies, making it harder to distinguish the real from the forged.

Each year, over 40 million forged watches are manufactured and sold globally. It’s a staggering number, but it doesn’t mean you’re defenceless. Understanding the nuances that differentiate a genuine luxury watch from a fake is paramount. Thankfully, there are still ways to spot a replica, whether you’re buying a new model or pre-owned. Arming yourself with these tips, you will take a significant step towards protecting yourself from counterfeiters.

Here, we’ve listed how you can tell that the watch you’re purchasing is 100% genuine.

9 Ways To Identify A Fake Watch with Confidence

1. Always do your research

    Let’s start with the basics. Do your homework if you plan to buy a luxury watch and want to ensure a real deal. Start by knowing the model you wish to purchase. If unsure, gather some information about the brand you’re interested in. Know the specifications of the particular model, like its dial design, bracelet style and other trademarks. The internet is buzzing with information, so make sure you seek answers.

    2. Attention to detail

    One of the hallmarks of luxury watches is their meticulous attention to detail. Brands painstakingly design and curate each watch, leaving no room for errors. So, when you’re examining a new or pre-owned watch, pay attention to the minor details. This practice will sharpen your eye and help you identify the real deal.

    • Check the font, logo and engravings. Look for spelling mistakes.
    • Fake watches have shallow and irregular engravings. Some of the most obvious mistakes include faded engravings, scratches and peeling paint.
    • Luxury watches usually have stamps on the dial, clasp and wristband. So, carefully analyse the location of the stamps.
    • If the bracelet looks unpolished or doesn’t move smoothly, it is likely a fake. Luxury watches have very strict quality standards, ensuring they are perfect.   
    • Pay attention to the clicking sound. A high-quality designer watch is crafted with premium materials and excellent craftsmanship. This ensures the movement inside is smooth, ensuring little or no ticking sound. When a watch is fake, the level of craftsmanship drops immediately, and it produces a loud ticking sound.

    3. Where are you buying the watch from

    Choosing a reliable seller is critical to purchasing a genuine luxury timepiece. If you’re buying online, you may want to be extra careful. Research the seller, check their online reviews and inspect the image quality and picture angles. Don’t hesitate to ask the seller about the watch details. A genuine watch dealer will never hesitate to answer your queries. However, it’s best if you can see the watch in person. This way, you can try and check the watch before buying it.

    4. Avoid too-good-to-be-true prices

    Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ve struck gold by finding a rare Rolex model on Facebook. It is most likely a fake model. Brands create luxury watches with premium metals and materials, so it’s only natural if they cost more. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. You can occasionally come across a good deal when buying secondhand luxury watches, but generally, you should avoid such lucrative offers.

    A good rule to ensure authenticity is to check the watch’s market value. If the watch being sold to you is in good condition and the seller is offering a 25% discount on the market value, then you’re looking at a fake.

    5. Feel the weight

    Forgers use cheap materials to save on costs, meaning counterfeit models tend to weigh less than real luxury timepieces. Luxury watches are made of precious metals like gold, stainless steel, or platinum, which are considerably heavier than other materials. Combine these metals with gemstones and intricate engineering, and you’ll feel a certain weight on your wrist. If a watch feels light when you pick it up, inspect it thoroughly for signs that prove it is not genuine.

    6. Consider the materials

    It is not just about the weight; you should also check the metal parts, such as the bracelet and case, for hallmarks of authenticity.  Make sure the bracelet is flexible and slides smoothly onto your wrist. The material of a replica model may feel rough or uneven. So, run your fingers all over the piece to check for any inconsistency. An accurate watch is always smooth with no rough areas.

    7. Check the crystal

    Genuine luxury watches use durable and scratch-resistant sapphire crystals on the dial. When viewed from a certain angle, the sapphire crystal displays a violet tint. So, tilt the watch under light to test if it is genuine. You should also check the magnification of the Cyclops lens present on the date window. The Cyclops magnifier on a real watch makes it easy to read the date. On the other hand, fake watches have weaker magnification, making it difficult to read the date.

    Counterfeiters use low-quality glass or mineral crystal, making it difficult to see the dial face clearly. Moreover, they often have imperfections and scratch easily.  

    8. Search for the serial number

    Each luxury watch has its own serial number. Do a quick Google search to see if the watch is listed for sale elsewhere. If it is, then it is fake. As fake watches are made in batches, giving them all the same serial number is cheaper.

    Also, each luxury watch brand has its own place to put the serial number. For instance, Omega places it on the watch’s inside or rear space, and Rolex watches have serial numbers engraved between the lugs.  So, research where the serial number should be for your specific brand and check if it’s there. This is easy to check and is a good indication of a genuine timepiece.  

    9. Look for the box and papers

    Another easy thing to check is the watch’s box and papers. Luxury watches, whether new or secondhand, come with their original box and papers. The box should be of good quality, and the papers should be free of spelling mistakes.

    However, please note that not all pre-owned luxury watches have their box and papers. Many owners lose or misplace them over time, especially the older models. So, just because a secondhand timepiece doesn’t have the box and documents doesn’t mean it is fake. 

    While the box and papers will reassure you about the watch’s authenticity, a good watch dealer will authenticate it without them.


    Mastering the art of identifying a fake luxury watch is essential for any discerning buyer, collector or enthusiast. By familiarising yourself with the telltale signs of replica models, you can confidently navigate the market and ensure investing in a genuine timepiece of horological excellence.

    Buy genuine pre-owned luxury watches with Luxbrokers. We are not only reputable pre-owned watch dealers but also have in-house watch experts who thoroughly check every watch for authenticity. Shop with us confidently, knowing you’ll get a real secondhand luxury watch at the best price.

    Browse the watches online or visit us in-store to check and see them in person. We’d be happy to assist you! Call 0207 123 5081 for more information.

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