How To Spot An Imitation Watch
If you are trying to figure out how to spot an imitation watch, you should pause and reflect. Any quality brand watch like Rolex or Omega will most likely not be available for less than $300. And it certainly won’t be available from a street vendor or flea market. Only a fool stands out in the open with luxury merchandise. Well, only a fool or a con man (a.k.a. marketing genius) willing to sell you a dream for a mere $300.
To spot an imitation watch, you will need:
- Common sense
- Price One of the biggest tip-offs to help you spot an imitation watch is the price. Those $2,000 plus watches you drool over in glossy print ads are quite valuable and unlike a car, the value does not drop much once you start using it. If a shifty little man is offering you 50 to 95 percent off the market price of a Breitling, that watch is either stolen or fake.
- Luxury Rich people love expensive things. To spot an imitation watch, look for anything that looks cheap. Premium watches have premium features. A Swiss watch will not have a band that says "China." If the numbers inside the casing look like stickers, lack uniformity in the font or do not seem straight, you are holding a fake. If the vendor has three Omega watches, look at all three. If they look different or worse yet, all have the same serial number, they are fake. Cheap, imitation watches should be fairly obvious to anyone paying attention. The price is low to distract you. It is the expensive imitation watches you have to worry about.
- Research your brand If you are looking for a particular watch brand, you should learn as much as possible about the genuine article before you dish out any cash. For example, newer Rolex watches have a tiny crown laser etched at the 6 o’clock position. This crown is so tiny you should not be able to see it from a few feet away. Learn as much about the brands and models you are interested in to help you spot the imitation watches.
- The threat card People do sell antiques and luxury items at flea markets or online. But this is also the best market to pass on replicas, fakes and copies. Many luxury Swiss watch manufacturers refuse to sell online just because of this fact. If the vendor is genuine, ask him if you can get the watch independently appraised. Common sense dictates you get anything over a grand independently appraised because if the watch is fake, it will be a damn good one. Also, if you have the means to drop several thousand on a watch, ask the seller if he will pay for the appraisal. You choose the guy, the seller pays for it and if the watch is legitimate, you will cover the cost of the appraisal at purchase time.
- Obviously, you can get a beautiful counterfeit watch on the street or online. If all you want is a brand name to impress your straw friends, this is not a bad route to go. Just do not be alarmed when the "3" falls off your Patek Philippe after you take a swim.
- The replicas available these days are getting quite good. China and, specifically, Japan are known for producing top notch replicas that can fool anyone until they open up the casing. These fakes are also handmade, have good mechanics and use precious metals. Proprietary symbols like the Rolex hologram stickers are for sale on eBay, so these creations are getting quite masterful. Buying a fake Omega for $100 is one thing, but giving some guy in Brooklyn $3,000 cash is another. Buyer beware.