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How to Spot A Fake Rolex Watch

Rolex has been considered as one of the key players in the watch industry. For decades, Rolex has been synonymous to luxury, quality and has been a testament to one’s achievements in life. Because of the high demand of Rolex watches, it is expected that several manufacturers across the globe produce fake versions of these watches.

Buying a Rolex is no small feat. Each product costs hundreds to thousands of dollars. With this, you don’t want to end up purchasing a counterfeit version. To avoid this, you have to be knowledgeable about the different features to help differentiate a real Rolex from a fake Rolex watch.

In this article, we aim to break down the key aspects and features that will help you determine what a genuine Rolex is from an ocean of fake ones as follows:

With that said, let us get on with the discussion.

Background About Fake Rolex Watches

Rolex Watch

As mentioned above, several manufacturers produce fake and counterfeit Rolex watches. Unknown to many, a considerable percentage of Rolex watches sold in the market are false, without the consumers knowing. Most of these fake watches are being produced in China; however, over time, there has been a surge of counterfeit Rolex manufacturers in Asia and other parts of the world. The fake Rolex watches can cost from $25 to $200. What’s bothersome is that these counterfeit watches have become more and more sophisticated as we speak. The line between the fake Rolex and real ones have become narrower as we speak. Most of the counterfeited Rolex watches are from the DateJust and Submariner models.

The difficulty of differentiating the fake Rolex watches from the real ones can vary, but most sophisticated counterfeit versions are very challenging. An unsuspected consumer might not be able to discern the genuine ones accurately. However, after reading this article, we hope that you will be able to tell what’s real and what’s not. Read on to learn more about these features you need to take note.

Knowing Your Seller

One of the easiest, yet most effective means of knowing whether the Rolex you have bought is real or not is the legitimacy of your seller. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to buy a Rolex watch only from legitimate, trusted sellers and outlets. To do this, you can do a simple Google search to determine genuine sellers that are nearby.

Real Rolex Watch

Most online buyers get their products from eBay or Craigslist. While these platforms are well known, it is also a popular venue for fake sellers. This is because the platform is open for a lot of sellers and it is not accountable for the products being sold there.

We hear a lot of horror stories of people being scammed of faulty products or worse, not being able to receive their orders. With that said, you should do away with buying Rolex watches from these platforms.

Ten Features Worth Noting

As mentioned, there are prominent and less conspicuous features genuine Rolex watches have that counterfeit versions either don’t have or have a different, most likely, inadequate approach. We now will get into the nitty-gritty of the ten features and specifications you should be checking when buying a Rolex watch.

  • Serial & Model Number Stamping

Most watches come with a serial and model number which is usually stamped at the back of the watch head. For genuine Rolex watches, these numbers are correctly marked in great exquisite, beautiful details. These fine lines usually reflect light at an angle similar to what you will see on a diamond cut edge.

Most counterfeit versions usually have inferior markings at the back of the watch head. These markings are done poorly and are generally not as beautiful compared to what you will see in a genuine Rolex watch. This is brought about by a less sophisticated, often poor marking process and technology.

  • Stamping

Other than the Serial Number and Model Number, Rolex watches also have several other stamping embedded in various places of the watch. Some counterfeit manufacturers don’t even put any effort in placing the Rolex logo or the brand name on their observations.

  • Movement

Aside from aesthetic flourishes and features, another feature you should be checking out is the movement. Every genuine Rolex watch is equipped with exceptional movement, which entails excellent watchmaking skill.

These counterfeit Rolex watches are not able to mimic the level of craftsmanship, precision, and accuracy that is expected of a genuine Rolex watch. Each part of the movement is equipped with an exceptional finish and usually has a Rolex engraving on them.

Also, Rolex watches are equipped with mechanical movements. If ever you bought a Rolex with quartz movement, then chances are, you have purchased a fake one. Although, there is a tiny percentage of Rolex watches that have quartz movement; even so, having one is very rare and should be taken in as a red flag.

Most counterfeit manufacturers can get away with copying genuine Rolex watches because of the advent of modern technology which includes optical scanning and 3D printing. Because of this technology, deciphering the real ones have become increasingly difficult.

  • Dial

Another telltale sign that you have bought a fake Rolex watch can be seen in the quality of the dial. Most fake Rolex watches have clumsily manufactured dials and are often flimsy. This is a stark contrast from the more professional and high-quality ones from genuine products.

  • Cyclops

The Cyclops is a term used to describe the magnifying lens embedded right above the date portion of the watch face or head. Genuine Rolex watches usually have convex Cyclops which can magnify the date up to 2.5 times to provide better legibility.

Most counterfeit Rolex watches are not able to properly magnify the date placed on the cyclops. Genuine Rolex watches can increase the time up to 2.5x while the fake ones fare a lesser magnification.

  • Water Resistance

Most Rolex watches are sought after because of the excellent waterproof capabilities. While you can always do a water pressure test to determine if it is real or not, we do not recommend this, because you might end up with a soaked and damaged counterfeit that you cannot return.

Moreover, older and second hand Rolex watches might not be able to survive extreme water pressure test, despite being genuine. Because of this, we recommend not to do a water pressure test for yourself. If you are skeptical about the legitimacy of the product, then you can always refer to a professional watch repairer.

  • Weight

Another aspect that will help you decipher Real Rolex watches from fake ones is the weight. Most genuine Rolex watches have a hefty weight but not one that is too heavy. Most counterfeit Rolex watches, on the other hand, have lighter weight and usually feel clunky and flimsy to the touch. This is brought about by the inferior materials being used.

  • Clear Case-back

Currently, genuine Rolex watches do not have a transparent case back. It is worth noting though that some Rolex models manufactured in the 1930s have this feature. However, newer versions do not have such. If you recently bought a Rolex watch that has a transparent case back, then chances are, it is fake.

  • Case-back Engravings

Usually, genuine Rolex watches are not equipped with engravings on the case back. Whenever you see one that is placed in the case back, what you have is most probably a counterfeit.

There are, however, some exceptions when it comes to the case back engravings. Some Rolex models such as the Sea-Dweller, COMEX, military models and other older units have engravings on the exterior of the case again.

These engravings are usually the logo, the Rolex branding, and distinctive etching marks. Some markings include “Stainless Steel” or “Registered Design” which can be found in older models such as the Rolex Date-just.

If you have one that has engravings on the back, you should immediately have this checked to a reputable Rolex watch repairer.

  • Micro-etched Crystal

Way back in 2002, the company began to invest in more advanced micro etching technology. This led to subsequent models having a tiny crown logo seamlessly etched on the six o clock placement on the crystal face which also helps protect the dial.

With this, it is expected that models released after 2002 will have a tiny crown logo on the said placement. Take note of these markings as they are a sign of genuineness. However, you might have to use a magnifying lens since these markings are so small that they cant be seen with the naked eye.

Counterfeit manufacturers usually omit this fine detail since they don’t put any effort in some feature that is not immediately seen or not known by the casual consumer.

The Best Ways to Buy a New Rolex Watch

Now that we already laid out some of the groundwork on how to distinguish fake from genuine Rolex watches, it’s high time to give you some tips on how to secure an actual Rolex watch purchase.

New Rolex Watch

  • Official/Authorized Shop

Generally, the best way to buy a new Rolex watch is by buying them through authorized and official dealers or shops. Moreover, it would be better to go for an authorized dealer with a physical store so that you can get a clear view of the available Rolex watches. You can skim through the Rolex website to find the nearest authorized shop.

The caveat with buying through official shops, though is that you do not usually get discounts upon purchase. This is because the company discourages official shops from giving out discounts to buyers. At most, consumers can get only up to 5% discount.

Nevertheless, these shops give you confidence that you are buying a genuine watch and that you get a valuable warranty.

  • Online Buying Platforms

Most buyers get their products from online stores. With this, several online dealers sell genuine Rolex watches. However, some exist to grab hold of your hard-earned cash and then sell you with a fake one. With that said, buying through online stores can be risky but can sometimes be more rewarding.

We say rewarding because online stores mostly hand out discounts for their Rolex watches. With this, you get more from what you are paying. To make things more secure, you can always search for reviews of online shops to determine if they are selling genuine products, and if their customer service is worth the investment.

  • Parallel Import Online Shops

Aside from online dealers, there are also parallel import online shops. These are online shops that typically exist in the grey market. With this, you get the new models even before they are released in your country or state.

The only problem is that these parallel import online shops don’t usually have the approval or permission of Rolex. Therefore, you might be facing some issues, especially in countries that have strict import laws.

  • Parallel Import Physical Shops

Parallel Import Physical Shops also exist. They have the same premise with online import shops. However, you get to have a glimpse of the actual products through their physical shops. The caveat though is that the watches are expected to be more expensive because the dealer had to set up shop and pay the necessary tax and import permits.


Rolex is one of the most sought after brands across the globe. Their products have been thought of as a status symbol, or a symbol of the achievements and hard work one had to endure to buy them.

Once you get your hands on a Rolex watch, it’s hard not to be mesmerized with the sheer craftsmanship and skill being put into every detail of the watch; this is why you should be more discerning about the Rolex watch you might buy or have bought.

In case you have doubts about the quality and genuineness of the Rolex watch you just bought, make sure to check out all the features and details we have discussed in this guide. To be even more confident, you can always ask assistance from a reputable Rolex shop.

Now are you ready to order your Rolex Watch?

Will you identify the Rolex watch through movement?

Please comment below to tell me what you think.