How do you tell if a Rolex watch is authentic? Is it a Rolex or a Faux-lex? They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. Not so when it comes to the leading name in luxury watches. As with any great thing, it is only a matter of time before the market is flooded with generic brands and counterfeit copies. Since the average person doesn’t have a special Rolex authenticating tools lying around, here are some practical ways for the unseasoned to tell whether or not if a Rolex is authentic.
1. Rolex watches don’t tick! An immediate way to tell if a Rolex is authentic is to listen to it. If it's ticking, it’s definitely a fake!
2. Genuine Rolexes are made from very sturdy materials. For this reason, they are going to feel heavy in your hand. Your fakes are constructed from cheap, less-durable materials, and because of this, are usually very light. A real Rolex will have bands that are full and solid. Knock-offs will usually have links that are hollow, which is why they weigh so very little.
3. Rolexes have a smooth and continuous second hand movement. Another way to tell if a Rolex is authentic is if the second hand jerks as it travels around the face. If it does, it’s a textbook fake.
4. Rolexes have a crystal bubble called a “Cyclops Magnification Bubble.” This crystal bubble magnifies the date 2.5 times. Your fakes will usually be off-center and made of glass, and only offer 1.5 times the magnification.
5. Another sure way to tell is to look at the lettering and numbers. If you look at these with a jeweler’s loupe, every line and edge will be perfect and precise. On a fake, the lettering edges will not be clean. Serial numbers and case numbers will often look as though they were sand-blasted, or will not be etched cleanly into the surface. Any imperfection will tell you right away if the Rolex is authentic.
6. All Rolexes feature a hologram sticker on the back. This sticker features the Rolex Crown and case reference number. Counterfeits will have the sticker, but it will not be holographic.
7. Certain models of Rolexes have an extra seal called a “Triplock Crown Seal.” This feature is common to your Daytona and Submariner models and is found between the winding tube’s threads. It will be missing on all of your replicas.
8. Rolexes have a micro-etched crown. Etched into the crystal just below the 6 o’clock position is a tiny crown. The mark is so small that it can only be seen under magnification. The detail on this micro-etching is perfect, making it impossible for the imitations to duplicate.
9. Knock-offs will usually have a glass, or “skeleton” case back. Genuine Rolexes will never have a clear or see-through case back. This should be a dead giveaway and will immediately tell you if the Rolex is authentic.
10. Rolexes have a face that is composed of sapphire crystal. Faux watches will usually use regular glass instead. Because of the extremely smooth surface, water dropped onto the sapphire crystal face of a true Rolex will always bead up. On a fake, the water will simply spread across the face and will not bead up.
So there you have it—a crash course on how to tell if a Rolex is authentic. If you’re really in the market for a luxury watch, always go to a reputable dealer or jewelry store. And remember, just because you see one in the display case at a pawnshop doesn’t mean it’s legit. Even pawnbrokers have been known to slip up from time to time.