Among browser advertising you often encounter offers to buy Swiss watches at a “special” price. The market of fake Swiss watches is greatly ramified and developed world-wide. About 5% of elite watches owners have got counterfeits and don’t even suspect that. Generally popular and famous brands are falsified. And it doesn’t matter if the model is classical or brand-new, no one can feel secure against the counterfeit.
The quality level of fake watches can differ greatly. There are crude cheap Chinese copies and their origin (which is far from noble) is evident for all. There are also expensive copies, which can be recognized only by those, with knowledge of original Swiss watches. Eventually there are quite expensive copies and replicas made of the same materials as the original watches, they are offered at the same price. But no matter how nice the fake is supposedly, as the quality of its mechanism does not guarantee the accuracy and durability which are characteristic of real Swiss watches. And no matter how precise the copy is, it will be always possible to tell the copy from the original. The thing is, production of an ideal copy would be costlier for its producer, than the production of the original one. And fakes are done to get profit and save money. This economy commonly results in gaffes, which make it possible to detect a counterfeit. Here is the list of such “weak points”.
Packaging arrangement. Original watches are always packed with a consistency – the package has an elegant design and is made of valuable materials: morocco, moiré and gilding. The producer’s identification should be printed in the bottom of the box. A certificate or passport also must be in the package. There is an individual number of the product; place and date of sale with a stamp must be declared. If there is no number, the watch - fake. If there is no stamp, the watch is stolen or sold illegally. If there is no passport, so all the above mentioned can be true.
Marking. If the watch has a marking “Made in Switzerland”, it is a falsification. Real Swiss watch has “Swiss Made” or “Swiss quartz” on. And that presumes that both watch and the watch movement are produced and assembled in Switzerland and undergone special quality test. If the bracelet is marked with “Swiss Made”, so it means it was produced in Switzerland, but the marking doesn’t cover the watch. The marking “Swiss movement” means the watch movement was assembled and tested in Switzerland, but the case and final assembly could be done elsewhere. Marking “Swiss case” means the case was made in Switzerland. Separate details can have “Swiss Made” or “Swiss parts” marking and it refers only to exact parts, which were produced in Switzerland. The marking can be translated into other languages, but in such case it must correspond to the data declared in the certificate.
Expensive counterfeits are packed like original watches including false documents and marking. They can be detected only by obvious nuances, with help of careful comparison to the original.
Weight. Real Swiss watch has quite a considerable weight, while fake one can be rather light, due to a lighter movement. Producers of counterfeits often put quartz movement into the watch. If the watch has additional functions they can be partly or completely idle in the fake one.
Second hand. It’s a means of visual detecting quartz movement. The hand of mechanical watch moves smoothly (except watches with a function of dead-beat seconds), while the hand of quartz watch spurts from division to division.
Strap or bracelet. It can give the fake away at once. Even if the watch itself is done accurately, the strap usually gets less attention. The stitch line on the leather strap must be ultimately straight. Binding of the strap shouldn’t cause any traces. Metal bracelets of fake watches are often made of cheap alloys with gilding. In this case it is possible to see the quality of inner polishing. If there is an engraving on the buckle, so pay special attention to it. Letters must be deeply and clearly engraved, with spaces between words. Go on forward to know more about engraving and marking.
Crystal. Crystal must tightly fit the case. Take a side view to the watch and if one edge of the crystal doesn’t coincide with the other one at least in a few millimeters, so it’s a counterfeit. Put a few drops of water on the crystal. They will merge in one quickly, if it’s a real sapphire glass.
Hands. They can be deformed (curved) in falsifications. It is evident if look at them sideways. Even if the fake is assembled of original parts, hands can be taken from some other, cheaper models. Compare the hands with the original: their length, thickness and shape of tips should match. For example, in Rolex Daytona watch minute hand must reach the scale, hands tips are rounded. Fakes usually have shorter and flat on the tips hands.
Date window. Figures must be exactly in the centre of the window, with equal distance to its top and bottom. The window shouldn’t be too deep to make the figure seen clearly on the tilt. Rolex models have the window covered with lens which increases figures by 2.5 times. Fakes have no magnification or it is less than 1.5 times. It can be detected by sight.
Crown. It is commonly very rough in fakes. In waterproof Rolex Submariner, Sea-Dweller and Daytona a protective rubber ring is seen when the crown is opened. Fakes often lack the ring or it is non-functional. Besides the crown, all Rolex models are decorated with a brand logo – the Rolex crown. It is crude or deformed in counterfeits. Pay special attention to the circles on the Rolex crown tips. Other brands also decorate crowns with their symbols and their quality can help you to tell the original from the fake.
Jewels. Expensive copies can have the same jewels as originals have. That is if the original is decorated with diamonds, so the counterfeit will be also decorated with them. But diamonds can be roughly cut or dim. And very often jewels are poorly set. And this distinguishes them from original Swiss watches where jewels are set perfectly. Touch jewels with the tip of your finger and if some jewel is bulging out, the watch is false.
Back cover. Specialists pay highest attention to the back side of the watch. Here slips can be especially evident. Carefully compare the cover with the original or its clear photo. If this is Rolex with transparent or metal engraved back cover, so it’s a counterfeit. Original Rolex can’t have transparent cover with engravings, with the exception of several models: two ones with transparent back cover of 1930th, Sea-Dweller watch and a few exclusive models for women of the middle 1990th with engraving.
If the watch of other brand, and outer design of its back cover corresponds to the original, so examine visible part of movement and engraving quality. All movement parts of original Swiss watches are done carefully and polished. Clear and straight edges of letters testify high quality of engraving.
Inscriptions and marking. Compare them carefully with the original. Fakes producers are commonly unable to reproduce inscriptions and marking perfectly: letters are located higher or lower or are badly printed. Irregular inscriptions on uneven surfaces reveal the fake at once. The thing is counterfeits producers use flat stamps while Swiss producers make special stamps for their models. Rolex models from 2002 have engraving on the glass – it’s a small crown at 6 o’clock. It is so tiny that can be hardly seen with the naked eye. But it can be seen with help of magnifying glass. And due to such a small size of the crown fakes producers can’t copy it, sometimes it is simply absent.
So, the list of details which can help us to tell the original from the counterfeit is rather big. But fakes producers also know their “weak points” and work over them. Quality of expensive fakes – copies and replicas – is constantly improving and sometimes even a professional can make a mistake without examining the watch movement. Thus best and sometimes sole guarantee of Swiss watch authenticity is the reputation of the seller.