Knowing how to tell if a Rolex watch is fake can come in handy when assessing other people's honesty as well as generosity. This can also be a valuable skill to help avoid being swindled by someone selling Rolex watches. Spotting a fake requires a basic understanding of Rolex design. There may still be some quality replicas that can fool even the most keen eye, but any knowledge is better than not knowing at all.
- Turn the watch over and observe the back of the main watch piece. This area is known as the "caseback" and on some fake Rolex watches, this part is clear. Rolex does not make watches that have clear casebacks, which ideally are meant for viewing the inner-parts of the watch. If the caseback is clear, it is definitely a fake.
- Observe engravings on solid casebacks to help spot fake Rolex watches. With the exceptions of ladies' Rolex watches made before the mid-1990s that were engraved with the words "Original Rolex Design" or some variation of this engraving and the Sea Dweller Rolex watch that says "Rolex Oyster Original Gas Escape Valve" engraved around the edge of its caseback, Rolex watches have smooth backs. Engraving is a fair giveaway of a fake Rolex watch.
- Observe the face of the watch for a magnification bubble over the date. With the exception of the Sea Dweller, all models of Rolex watches have a bubble over the date to magnify the number. Some fake Rolex watches will also have a magnification bubble, but at a smaller magnification. True Rolex watches typically magnify 2.5 times.
- On watches believed to be Rolex watches made after 2002, observe the face of the watch near the six o'clock (or 30 minute) position. There will be a tiny etched crown in the crystal watch face cover at the lower edge right above the 30. Not all Rolex models contain this etching, but the company has been incorporating it in their watch design since 2002 and 2003.
- Remove the wristband from the watch, and observe the edge of the watch piece for the reference number. This is believed to be among the most accurate ways to assess a real or fake Rolex watch. The engraving of the case reference numbers are delicate and designed to catch light at certain angles. Additionally, fake Rolex watch makers often use the same numbers over and over again.