According to Forbes, Rolex is one of the top 100 most powerful, recognized brands in the world. Rolex is so famous and popular that it’s virtually synonymous with the luxury watch category, as well as a symbol of success itself. There is no wonder that Rolex is being copied in so many ways.
Over the years, predominantly overseas watch manufacturers have answered the demand for top-quality fake watches. Many Rolex replicas are even to trained eyes, nearly exact copies of their genuine counterparts. It is no longer possible to spot every fake Rolex by simply looking at it. The only way to know for sure is to take the watch into an authorized dealer, qualified watchmaker or high-end watch shop where they will remove the case back and see the movement inside. However, there are some signs of fake Rolex watches that can be caught by the naked eye.
The appearance of a Rolex: the case back of a genuine Rolex is usually plain metal and has no engravings, and the date really jumps out. If the watch has a glass crystal or engraved case back, or the date is too small and hard to read, it is likely to be a fake.
The sound of a Rolex: if you hear a loud ticking from the watch, it’s probably a replica Rolex. If the second hand’s tick jumps clearly, it’s definitely a fake piece. If it sweeps smoothly, it might still be a replica, so you will need further investment.
If you’re planning to upgrade your watch collection, it’s very important for you to know the ways to detect a fake Rolex. Given the increasing sophistication of fake Rolex watches, our experts tell us: How can we detect red flags at a glance when examining a timepiece? What do experts check for inside the watch? Keep reading our extended guide for further details and learn what it takes to spot a fake Rolex.
Case back – The simplest way to recognize a fake Rolex is to look at the watch’s case back, which is almost always plain metal. So if the watch you’re examining has a glass exhibition case back which allows the watch mechanism to be seen, it’s a fake Rolex watch, or one of the very rare 1030 see-through watches made by Rolex.
Engraving logos – Genuine Rolex model case backs are smooth, entirely free of engravings, so if you see one, you should be suspicious. With that said, you should note that Rolex made two watches with an engraved case back: the Sea Dweller which has “Rolex Oyster Original Gas Escape Valve” in an arc around the outside of the case back and the Milgauss model which has a similar design.
Metal quality – Rolex does NOT make 14k gold or gold-plated watches or bracelets. A real Rolex is stainless steel, 18k gold, or platinum. If you see a Rolex with faded gold or metal showing below the gold, it is a cheap replica Rolex.
Magnification – On real Rolex watches with a date, Rolex adds a magnification glass window above the date called “Cyclops”. The Cyclops lens on the face of the true Rolex will magnify the date by 2.5x the normal size, and this makes the date really jump out at you as the date should take up the entire glass bubble. The major part of the counterfeit timepieces will appear 1.5x or lower, making the date look small and more difficult to see. Additionally, The Cyclops’ date window in a real version is dead centered above the number, and it’s not always like that in a replica. So if the date through the Cyclops or from the side looks the same size or is difficult to see, it may well be a fake. It is important to note that there are some fake Rolexes that have a bigger font printed wheel to imitate this magnification appearance.