Question Time: Can You Identify A Counterfeit Rolex Watch At 20 Paces?
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Question Time: Can You Identify A Counterfeit Rolex Watch At 20 Paces?

Question Time: Can You Identify A Counterfeit Rolex Watch At 20 Paces?


Owning a Rolex comes with one huge caveat. People may assume that your model is fake

Fake Rolex watches have become very common in today's fast paced timekeeping industry, totalling around 50% of the counterfeit timepieces made per year. It’s even been brought to our attention that in 2021, Rolex topped the online search engines for fake models, with “Fake Rolex” reaching around 228,0000 online searches a year. 

This surpassed other major luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci who averaged 118,800 and 87,600 respectively. Whoever said the horological world wasn’t a big player in the counterfeit luxury industry? 

So, with the increasingly common threat of potentially owning a fake Rolex, we completely understand if you need to be categorically assured that your model is not a dud. Now, we entrust you horophiles aren’t vain and purchase a counterfeit Rolex for the looks alone!

Rolex is a stunning brand both physically and technically since Hans Wilsdorf created the Genevan giant in 1905. While the fake watches may closely mirror the dial style and bracelet finishes, they can never match the superior power and superlative accuracy of each piece. James Brown’s slogan of “Often imitated, never duplicated” comes to mind with these oh so common counterfeit models…

If you are a seasoned collector or a fresh faced buyer looking to spend your Christmas bonus on something that’s eternally valued and instantly recognizable, we wholly recommend you buy a Rolex. After all, for over a century, they have been at the forefront of horology, pushing the boundaries of horology through their ascent of Everest on the wrists of Edumund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. How about the release of the Deepsea which joined James Cameron in 2012 on the deepest solo dive of all time into the Mariana Trench?

In the current era, Rolex remains top of the top luxury brand leaderboard, topping the brand value at around £8 billion amazingly, they release 1 million watches per year but are still yielding waitlists that stretch as far back as 5 years for collections like the Daytona and 8 to 24 months for the Sky-Dweller

Considered the highest level of wealth, prestige and lavishness, a timepiece from this brand will last you quite literally a lifetime. For a brand that's so exceptional and revered, we can only anticipate the counterfeit market to take note. So, without any further ado, let’s get into the specifics of what makes a fake Rolex, what the counterfeit watches lack, and the benefits of purchasing a real Rolex as opposed to a fake. 

Hold on Hans a tick…let’s get straight into it.


Things To Check Before Buying A Rolex Watch


Chrono Hunter understands that time is always of the utmost importance when it comes to bagging a great deal when you buy a Rolex. However, you must check a number of essential factors as you may end up with a very common counterfeit piece. We shall run through this section by section below;

  • How To Check The Quality Of The Rolex Watches
  • Ensure The Watch Is Up To “Rolex Standard”
  • The Key Things To Remember If You Want To Spot A Counterfeit Rolex

The above should give you the clearest view into deciphering how fake your piece is, including build quality, the precision of the movement and how reputable the source is. Without blowing our own timekeeping trumpet, we have a fantastic Trustpilot reputation for delivering outstanding service, a quick turnaround and the most competitive prices because we are the go-to site for all your buying and selling needs. 

Not every platform can demonstrate this or provide the best possible prices when making a purchase or sale. We can though. 


How To Check The Quality Of Rolex Watches


Checking the quality of the brand is essential to determining whether or not you are in possession of a fake Rolex. 


Rolex Emblems 

Genuine watches as opposed to fake models do not beat around the bush. 

Source - Rolex Magazine


They like to boast their storied history, including the legendary crown icon that tends to reside at 12 o’clock on the dial. Fake models may negate completely any reference to the iconic crown emblem, including the famous coronet or miss out on “Rolex” on the dial altogether. This is a sure fire sign that you are in possession of a fake!


The Quality Of The Dial

Most of the common fake watches display poor finishing throughout, including the dial, case and bezel. Genuine watches are finished to the highest standard possible. Putting a counterfeit side by side against a real model is one of the most determining factors to spot the difference. 

Source - Phigora


Depending on the model, your watch may feature a date aperture along the dial at 12 o’clock. If it’s a fake, you may spot sizable gaps between the lettering, inconsistent text that isn’t clearly designed like classic pieces, and in some cases smudging and even bad grammar on the dial. Some have even had “Folex” inscribed on the dial. Oh, how terrible!

Take the time to really look deep into the dial. This means checking the hour markers, including the quality of the printing and how the hands are designed e,g are they beautifully tapered. Fake ones are deemed to be blocky, peeling and generally not designed very well.

For those watches with classic date apertures on the dial at 3 o’clock, they are famed for using a Cyclops eye since 1953 to help magnify the function. This emblematic feature offers around a 2.5 times magnification zoom. However, a fake model will offer a lesser degree of zoom and be much flatter along the dial in comparison to the slightly domed Cyclops' eye. 

We recommend you do thorough research into your desired brand, including checking the photos on the site in comparison with the photos provided by your source. If you choose us, you can be guaranteed zero fake Rolexes, no questions asked! This is down to our close-knit relationships with vetted luxury retailers or authorised dealers who have all been carefully curated to ensure customers buy the smart way when using Chrono Hunter.


How Water Resistant Is Your Rolex Watch?

Since Hans Wilsdorf created Rolex in 1905, he had a vision to produce waterproof watches that would be perpetually running and wouldn't require any winding of the crown. He swiftly patented the Oyster case in 1926 and stated “Like an Oyster, it can remain an unlimited time underwater without detriment to its parts”.

Mercedes Gleitze - Source - Moonphase


When Mercedes Gleitze swam the English Channel in 1927 with an Oyster in convoy… she didn’t expect it to come back working!

The Genevan watches, from the dressy pieces to the utility collections, all have a competent level of water resistance. Below are a few models which yield various water resistance levels:

While we would opt for leaving the 1908 away from the seas and keeping it solely for a bit of me time in the shower, they are still capable of dealing with a low level of water. However, watches like the Submariner are perfect diving companions. 

They stringently test their watches in order to ensure an impeccable level of water resistance. However, If your edition is fake, there is next to no chance that the creators will have the skill to ensure the same ratings as the genuine brand. Why would you want even one of the commonly produced fake dive watches like a counterfeit Deepsea that is incapable of being worn in water?

If you want to have it checked, we recommend you send it to a reputable professional who can perform a water pressure test. If your piece fails, we hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are in possession of a fake. No matter what you paid for it, it can be a scary time for some owners. 

That being said, sometimes genuine older models which have technical faults may fail, so if your model is vintage, bear that in mind before discarding it


What Is The True Weight Of Your Rolex?

Genuine watches are built with the finest materials, founded in their own production halls. It’s time for a quick glance at what you can find in genuine watches;


Everose Gold 

Their own blend of pink gold that’s more resistant to scratches and other effects. Everose Gold is used on a range of models that stem from The Day-Date 40mm 228235 to The GMT-Master II 126715CHNR.



This is a combination of gold and steel such as 904L steel case and outer links combined with gold centre links. Examples include The Submariner Date 126613LN to the Daytona 126503. 



They released Cerachrom as a new type of ceramic for the bezels. This is more durable and resistant to UV rays, plus it offers a great finish.



 Typically seen in their hairsprings, Parachrom took 5 years to create and is phenomenal against magnetism. 



Used to promote luminescence throughout the hands and hour markers on the dial, this is Rolex’s own proprietary luminescent material that offers a brilliant blue glow.



Rolesium is the combination of both steel and platinum. One such example includes the stunning Yacht-Master 40 126622 which has a beautifully darkened dial, a lightning blue seconds hand and prominent dot and baton hour markers. 

You can expect a certain level of weight behind the Rolex, but it shouldn’t be excessively heavy, nor exceptionally light. If they are, I am afraid it’s a fake!

Hard at work at HQ! - Source - Rolex Magazine


Below are just a few of the weights behind their specific collections:

  • Datejust - 100g - 185g
  • Sky-Dweller - 174g - 210g
  • Day-Date - 200g - 225g
  • Daytona - 141g - 282g

Fake watches tend to be much lighter than genuine pieces as they are made with cheaper metals which fail to match the same level of weight as their real timepieces. Unfortunately, it appears that if your watch feels surprisingly light, it’s not because you are the next World’s Strongest Man, The Hulk or even Arnold Schwarzenegger…it's a fake!


The Style Of The Caseback

We know that complications like skeletonisation and tourbillons have become popular within the realms of horology. But exhibition casebacks are perhaps the number one go to style for avid horophiles. Subtle, elegant and effortlessly understated, they give a direct view into the movement of luxury watches. 

1908 - Source - ATimelyPerspective

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However, they prefer to keep their collections classical, meaning the dials are solid just like the casebacks, unless you own the fresh 1908 or the latest Daytona collection which has an open back. There are a few watches from back in the 1930s which have open casebacks, but the general consensus is that a genuine edition has a solid caseback. If yours is open, it may be worth performing a few checks to see if it's fake.  

Either you have nailed the vintage jackpot and landed yourself a classic model with a sapphire caseback, or more likely, you’ve unfortunately landed a counterfeit Rolex. Furthermore, the casebacks rarely feature engravings, unless you are in possession of a fake, or a genuine Sea-Dweller, Milgauss or a few other rare pieces. 

You can have the back of your piece professionally engraved with something meaningful like a graduation date or the name of a loved one, but most will be completely clear unless fake. 


How Is The Crystal Designed?

This is a very specific niche which only impacts their modern timepieces.

Source - Forums

Best Place To Buy A Luxury Watch  Best Place To Sell A Luxury Watch


After 2002, they decided to include a very small crown that was micro-etched at 6 o’clock onto the sapphire crystal. This etching is almost impossible to replicate in a counterfeit piece without it being done by a seasoned professional. This means it's a fantastic identifier for deciphering if your Rolex is fake or not. Remember, it has to be from 2002 onwards in order to be applicable. 


Ensure The Watch Is Up To “Rolex Standard”


“Rolex Standard” is an almost impossible level of quality to match, if you don’t closely work with the brand or have happened to have studied every book and document ever released from the brand like hardcore Genevan groupie John Mayer. Therefore, there are a few pointers which you can look for in order to check whether it is fake or genuine.


The Quality Of The Movement

In 2015, Rolex cemented their position as one of the best horological brands with the release of the Superlative Chronometer certification that covers every release from that point onwards. 

Source - Petite Geneve Petrovic

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Essentially, this meant that they were able to reach an average of -2/+2 seconds per day, destroying COSC certification of -4/+6 seconds per day,  Omega’s highly lauded Master Chronometer status of 0/+5 seconds per day and Tudor’s Metas movements which equate to around 0/+5 seconds per day. 

For the physical movement, it should be engraved with “Rolex” text and the movement should be finished to an exceptional standard. Typically, their watches tend to be powered by mechanical movements. So, while there are a few quartz timepieces out there, it’s unlikely that you will own such a piece. 


Average Design Codes Of Each Collection








Partly domed and fluted bezel

39mm case in either yellow or white gold

Rolex and serial number rehaut

Exhibition caseback

Combination of baton and Arabic numeral dial


Cerachrom bezel with tachymetric scale

40mm case in a variety of precious metals and steel

Daytona text and serial number rehaut

Combination of exhibition or solid caseback

Baton hour markers with chronograph functionality on dial


Fluted - Ring Command bezel

42mm case in a variety of precious metals and steel

Sky-Dweller text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback edged with fine fluting

Baton hour markers and 24 hour scale on dial.


Graduated rotatable bezel

41mm case typically in Oyster steel

Submariner text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback 

Baton, dot and triangle hour markers on dial. 


Fluted bezel

41mm case size precious metals

Datejust text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Baton hour markers, cyclops date at 3 o’clock on dial


Fluted bezel

36mm case size precious metals

Day-Date text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Roman numeral hour markers, cyclops date at 3 o’clock and 12 o’clock on dial. 


Bi-directional rotatable 60 minute graduated bezel

42mm case size precious metals

Yacht-Master text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Dot, baton and triangle hour markers, cyclops date at 3 o’clock on dial. 

GMT-Master II

24 hour scale AM and PM bezel

40mm case size precious metals 

GMT-Master II text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Dot, baton and triangle hour markers, cyclops date at 3 o’clock, extra hour hand for 24 hour function on dial. 


Cerachrom 60 minute bezel 

44mm case size steel

Deepsea text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Dot, baton and triangle hour markers, cyclops date at 3 o’clock on dial

Explorer II

24 hour bezel 

42mm case size steel

Explorer text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Baton, triangle and Arabic numerals on dial. 


60 minute diving bezel

43mm case size steel

Sea-Dweller text and serial number rehaut

Solid caseback

Dot, baton and triangle hour markers, cyclops date at 3 o’clock on dial


Does Your Model Have A Serial And Model Reference?

The serial and model numbers are one of the most important parts in confirming the legitimacy of your timepiece and determining whether you have a fake on your hands…or not. 

Source - Forum

Best Place To Buy A Luxury Watch  Best Place To Sell A Luxury Watch


The serial number allows you to authenticate your Rolex as unlike most fake watches, the genuine version comes equipped with a serial and case reference number. Typically, a serial number is made of up to 6 or 7 digits, usually starting with a letter and followed by a series of numbers. 

However, these crafty fakes can sometimes include serial numbers which adhere to the above criteria. In that instance, you can check out how the reference and serial number are physically engraved into the timepiece. 

They like to make the serial number very clear on the side of the case between the lugs. It’s cut deeply into the material and precisely engraved so there are no inconsistencies or any chance of it being illegible. Fraudulent versions tend to be poorly engraved and appear rather grainy as it’s low quality. 


Quality Of The Materials 

The brand’s gorgeous watches are available in a variety of materials, all of which are made in-house and even some which are the brand's own proprietary materials. 

Chromalight - Source - Armbanduhren

Best Place To Buy A Luxury Watch  Best Place To Sell A Luxury Watch


For example, Rolex only deals with the highest grade materials possible. This includes only using 950 platinum for their platinum watches, 904L stainless steel to achieve the Oyster steel effect and 18K gold when dealing with white, yellow or Rolex’s own Everose gold material.

Both inside and out, Rolex opts to create their own metals to provide the best performance possible. The multi-billion pound company does not cut corners when it comes to manufacturing their models, meaning making an exact replica is extremely difficult. 


The Strap Types

The strap type is paramount to the brand and discovering if you have a reproduction. 

Jubilee bracelet - Source - Rolex

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Not only are they very unique, but they are also extremely hard to replicate, especially since they are all uniquely designed for every single collection. 

For example, collections like The Submariner utilises the iconic Oyster bracelet which is built into a 3 link construction, The Datejust utilises a Jubilee bracelet which is made up of 5 links while The Day-Date uses The President bracelet, a 3 link bracelet that utilises semi-circled links. 

Rolex utilises all manner of straps, including alligator leather straps, Oysterflex band, a titanium blade coated with black elastomer, that was released in 2015 and utilised in the Yacht-Master and The Godfather of luxury watches, The Daytona


Where Are You Buying Your Rolex?

Deciding to buy a Rolex is a big decision that has no doubt taken considerable time to cogitate over. At the end of the day they do not tend to be cheap. Be it an emotional purchase or simply wearing for pleasure (like all watches should and not for investment purposes), you should ensure that you source your Rolex from a reputable site. 

For example, you may find an exceptional deal in a stall at your local market. However, you can not be certain of the quality, nor the legitimacy of the timepiece, because you cannot confirm if the dealer is certified, experienced nor has your best interest at heart.

You should be comfortable with your decision to buy a Rolex, not jumping in to a fast deal by a seller or a retailer that seems to be pressuring you into a quick deal. It may not be the best deal or price leading to wild inaccurate market valuations where you may pay over the odds. 

Take a moment, Timelords! Platforms like eBay similarly have their drawbacks, namely because you are not dealing with a large platform with a secure reputation. You are directly liaising with one member of the public who may just be wanting to pass a counterfeit “Rolex” watch off as a real piece. 

This can cover a range of forums and marketplaces. In particular, open marketplaces and Facebook sites which prioritise transactions from anyone in the public are open to risks of dodgy deals and scams as it’s impossible to certify each seller.

Platforms like Chrono Hunter connect you with a rich list of luxury watch retailers who can source your desired timepiece. Be it purchase or sale, pre-owned, second hand or used, speak directly to them and then accept a deal which suits you best. 

Buying from an inexperienced seller for a cheap price is risky. When using Chrono Hunter, they offer stellar service from our experienced team with a quick turnaround and can let you hunt down the deal that makes you happy. 

After all, we understand that watches can range from being collectors items to treasured heirlooms. Therefore, we respect that you wouldn’t want to buy a watch that is fake or in poor condition from an inexperienced seller. Chrono Hunter avoids the chances of raw deals by operating with only the best dealers around, and we use our incredibly secure platform and experienced team to help you navigate the horological world. 


The Key Things To Remember If You Want To Spot A Counterfeit Rolex


We’ve given you a lot to think about so far when it comes to identifying a fake Rolex. For the gentleman on the fly, we’ve concisely included the key things to remember when you’re trying to spot a counterfeit Rolex. 

  • Check The Model And Serial Number Of The Watches - This is the most important part when it comes to spotting a counterfeit model. Every Rolex comes equipped with a model number located at 12 o’clock and a serial number at 6 o’clock. The serial number is unique to each Rolex references the year it was made and authenticates the piece. 
  • How Good Are The Materials - They should not be weightless as an astronaut in space, nor should they be poorly finished. Rolex takes great care in using the finest and purest components possible, so make sure your novelty is made to a brilliant standard, or be aware that it may be one of the many common counterfeits. 
  • Technical Performance - Their watches in the modern era are Superlative Chronometer certified, ensuring a great power reserve and a great level of accuracy per day. If your watch stops ticking after a few hours or the second hand appears to be static, you have a common fake. Furthermore, the second hand should demonstrate a smooth sweep around the dial whereas you may hear a subtle yet suspicious tick emanating from a fake movement. 
  • Aesthetics Of The Watch - You want to keep your eyes peeled for things like poorly printed hour markers, poorly finished bracelets and serial numbers which look like they’ve been scrawled on! Remember, for the older models, The Rolex watches have smooth rehauts, while on the newer models, the rehaut may include the name of the collection. Don’t be alarmed if your rehaut features either, but ensure you check that it’s the right variant.
  • Watch Features Emblems And Correct Text Styles - Ensure that they feature the Rolex crown emblem at 12 o’clock. Furthermore, if they come with date apertures, ensure that the numbers are clearly defined and aren’t poorly printed, alongside full date text which should be evenly spaced out and not crammed together like they are in counterfeit pieces. 
  • Your Rolex Should Be Water Resistant - Most of the brands watches are at least 50 metres water resistant. You should be able to at least wear your watch in the shower without harming the timepiece. If you find that water gets in exceptionally easily, your Rolex is a fake. 
  • Ensure You Buy a Rolex From A Reputable Source - It’s common to come across inexperienced sources that can offer cheap prices for counterfeit watches. It’s best if you choose a highly reputable platform that offers only the best service, a unique platform with real time offers where you can buy and sell with ease, not to mention vetted retailers who put your best interests first…Someone like Chrono Hunter perhaps?


Frequently Asked Questions


Are Replica Watches Legal In The UK?

Owning a common replica watch is not illegal in the UK and has become very common in today’s society. However, trying to sell or import counterfeit watches is wholly illegal. You will likely have your goods seized and could possibly face a prison sentence. Let that be a warning!


How Can I Verify My Rolex?

You can certainly undergo checks! Simply check the serial number on your watch. The serial numbers for Rolex are completely unique, meaning you can authenticate your watch and find out a few helpful facts like the year it was made and its potential value. 


What Does The Back Of A Real Rolex Look Like?

The casebacks of real Rolex watches tend to be solid, unless you are the proud owner of a rare, vintage timepiece with an exhibition caseback, or own a fresh one such as the new 2023 Cosmograph Daytona or 1908. In some instances, they may also have some engravings, but typically Rolex case backs are completely clear. They feature model/serial numbers which are essential to understanding more about your timepiece. 


Is Wearing A Fake Watch Illegal?

Absolutely. We wouldn’t advise buying or selling a counterfeit watch. If you try to sell it, that is a crime that's punishable by fines or imprisonment. On a personal level, owning a fake watch shows you do not respect the craftsmanship of legitimate watchmaking and will likely be wearing a timepiece of poor quality. 

Did you know that actually importing counterfeit watches is a serious offence? Generally, the purchase and import of counterfeit watches are prohibited, but in some places, it can cost you! In some cases, you could be fined £20,000 and in others, you will have all your goods sized.


Why Do People Buy Replica Watches?

People buy these very common replica watches because they are much cheaper than their legitimate counterparts. However, these counterfeit pieces come with the caveat that the quality is reduced significantly and is more likely to break. You will also not yield any value upon resale as it’s not a counterfeit and not a real timepiece from the brand. Is it worth erring on the side of cheap?


What Is The Most Faked Watch?

The most faked watch in the world is surprise, surprise Rolex. Totalling around 50% of all faked watches currently in circulation, you have to be extremely careful when you seek to buy a Rolex, as fake models are very common.

Big luxury brands, especially in the horological world, have the potential to jump in value, even after resale. While this makes them exceptional investments, it also makes them a prime target for counterfeiters who want to make a quick buck. 

When it comes down to the design elements, the best watch brands have an incredible level of complexity both internally and externally. This means that while owning a genuine piece means you will own it for a long time and it will operate perfectly, a fake version is done poorly, and will likely fail very quickly. The trained eye will also spot these faults so these fakes can't fool everyone!


Can A Rolex Watch Be Fake?

Yes, they definitely can. Due to it being such a popular brand, there are a lot of terribly done common imitators producing extremely convincing watches which allow people to own the brand at a much cheaper figure. However, they will never have the same quality or longevity as a genuine timepiece, including the same value upon resale but remain highly persuasive to inexperienced buyers. 


What Is The Easiest Luxury Watch To Fake?

The easiest watch to fake is from Rolex. As counterfeit techniques have improved over time, they can closely mimic the finish and dial styles of the legendary brand. Since the brand is so popular, these counterfeit companies need only include the iconic coronet and feature the title of an iconic collection in order to draw the public’s eyes. After all, everyone is so desperate to own such a storied line, even if it’s at a suspiciously cheap value.

However, there are also many other brands which are commonly replicated. These include models from brands like Omega, with models like the storied, lunar landing Speedmaster, TAG Heuer with their iconic Carrera collection, Cartier with their stunning Tank collection and Patek Philippe with collections like the Calatrava.


Can Stolen Rolex Watches Be Traced?

If you have decided to pursue a life of crime and feel compelled to steal a Rolex…Don’t!

Most owners have made the clever decision to register their beloved model via its serial number. This serial number is then recorded, allowing the possibility of it to be traced if it is stolen. Furthermore, they have a scheme called The Rolex Protection Plan. 

This scheme is available for those watches which have been registered. Furthermore, it's important that if your collection is stolen, you should file a police report which means the police can keep an eye out for your timepiece. 

We must draw your attention to The Watch Register which is an international database that combats crime by allowing dealers, jewellers and auction houses to record watches which pass through them that have been stolen. 

It allows them to see all sorts of models that have been reported stolen or been prone to the subject of fraud. Brands like Audemars Piguet have gone one step further by launching a scheme to help find and replace stolen Audemars Piguet watches. Essentially, if you have an Audemars Piguet from 2022 onwards, you can register them, but must provide a valid police report and some key stats about it such as the serial number.


Top Fake Watches Facts


Below are a few facts that made our horological tickers skip a beat!

  • Did you know that watches are the fifth most commonly faked thing in the world? That’s right! Sitting behind electricals, leather items and clothes, watches have a huge presence in the fake world.
  • There are over one million fake watches that are circulating in the UK alone
  • There are an estimated 400 million fake watches that hit the market every year
  • Did you know that the global cost of the fake watch world is about £900 million?
  • Counterfeit watches run as far back as the 18th century, including fake clocks being sold by the Swiss in order to compete with English and American releases.



Top Tips On How To Spot A Fake Rolex - Recap


Listen For The Sound Of Silence

Understanding the inner functioning of a high-quality luxury watch will help you to determine whether a Rolex is real or fake. Rolex watches are powered by automatic movements, which means they don’t tick. If a Rolex is ticking, this would indicate the presence of a cheap quartz movement. Ultimately, this would indicate that the watch is a fake. Avoid!


Consult The Case Back Of The Watch

Unless you’re purchasing a Rolex Sea-Dweller or a vintage Rolex dating back to the 1930s, your watch should feature a smooth metal case back. At present, the market is known to be flooded with a sizable share of replica Rolex models, many of which feature clear case backs instead.

Rolex is a brand known for refinement, and as part of its commitment to quality, it almost always insists on the smooth polishing of the case backs of all models. You’ll never find transparent glass on the case back of a genuine Rolex - just a stunningly smooth metal finish.


Carefully Ponder The Crown Etching

Rolex goes to considerable lengths to deliver the finest possible craftsmanship - and particular detail is given to the signature Rolex crown laser etching. Since 2002, each Rolex model has featured a tiny crown etching at the six o’clock position on the dial (not to be confused with the larger, standard crown logo at 12 o’clock). This delicate, ornate and meticulously crafted flourish requires a magnifying glass to be properly enjoyed. It’s another impressive length Rolex will go to in order to prove its mastery of the art of watchmaking.


Check The Weight

This is arguably one of the easiest ways to test the authenticity of a Rolex. It may sound simple, but Rolex watches are made of complex and often precious metals - which is why they feel quite heavy.

Lightweight bracelets on fake products are often a dead giveaway, too - even on well-constructed counterfeits. If it feels too light to be the genuine article, it probably is.


Check the Engraved Official Rolex Serial Number

All genuine Rolex products contain an authentic serial number, which is unique to each watch. While there’s nothing stopping a seller of a replica Rolex watch from copying a serial number from an official timepiece, it’s nigh-on impossible for even the most skilled of charlatans to copy the complex ways in which Rolex engraves its serials.

A genuine Rolex will contain a serial with numbers which have been perfectly and precisely engraved. Cheap copies tend to have serial numbers “etched” into the watch instead. If this is the case then don’t waste your money: it’s a fake.


Cyclops Quality Check

Many Rolex watches include a date display. The crystal usually contains a small magnifying portion which enlarges this display by 2.5 times. This magnifying portion is known as the “Cyclops”. A legitimate Rolex will feature a Cyclops with a smooth and polished quality to it. If it seems bumpy or slightly off-kilter, you could be dealing with a fake timepiece.


High-Quality Face Texts

Even older Rolex models tend to stand the test of time and will contain smooth, correctly-spaced texts. Counterfeit Rolex watches are easily identifiable by rough, bubbling and unevenly-spaced texts. In some instances, you might need a magnifying glass to appreciate the quality craftsmanship of real Rolex text work, but once you’ve compared the real thing to a fake, the signs are obvious.


Price Too Good To Be True? It probably is!

Rolex is famed as the world’s most prized manufacturer of luxury timepieces. While it’s possible to get a great deal on a Rolex through a trustworthy vendor like Chrono Hunter, it’s worth remembering that the price of a watch should reflect its overall quality.

In many cases, peddlers of counterfeit Rolex watches will attempt to pass a low-quality watch at a high price - but you should be aware of the opposite, too. If the price seems too low, be certain to consult with an expert or cast an eye over this checklist once again for good measure.


Check The Interior

This isn’t always advisable, and you’ll almost certainly need an extra pair of hands to help. Opening a Rolex is always a risky endeavour, but sometimes it’s necessary to prove the authenticity of the watch. If need be, arrange to do this via a trusted vendor.


Observe The Quality Of The Second Hand

On many Rolex models, the second hand is used to indicate the current time in a secondary timezone. To ensure the smooth rotation of this hand, Rolex uses a large number of mechanical parts. If it behaves in a jerky manner, you could be dealing with a fake Rolex which only uses the bare minimum of parts in its construction.




So, can you answer the posed question today; could you spot a counterfeit Rolex? We hope it is a resounding yes. By now, you should be well on your way to spotting what to look out for while avoiding the perils of what comes with fake watch territory. 

To lay it down, the steps to checking the authenticity of watches are summed up in a few simple steps;

  • Check the serial number to see if the watch is a part of Rolex’s portfolio and not a fake version.
  • Check the quality of the text on the dial, the quality of the print and how well the bezel is engraved
  • See if the caseback has any strange engravings 
  • Check the quality of the finish on the case and bracelet, and that the materials themselves are of the highest quality.

Remember, Rolex is an illustrious brand that is given the best craftsmanship possible and powered with fantastic, Superlative Chronometer movements. Now, where should you go to buy such a storied piece of horological history at the most competitive prices?

Hang on a second and Chrono Hunter will show you the horological path to first rate service, a close knit network of luxury retailers and multiple offers, giving you the best possible buying and selling experience. 

By following these guidelines, you should now have a much more informed idea of how to spot a fake Rolex watch. In the luxury watch market, it’s important to stay safe and protect any investment you make - and the best way to do so is to only purchase authentic Rolex watches from a trusted vendor. You can do this by relying on Chrono Hunter’s dedicated network of buyers and sellers. If you’d like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today.



Can't wait to buy a Rolex? Want to be the most stylish gentleman in the office sans dummy timepiece? We recommend you contact Chrono Hunter here for the genuine article. With such a vast array of established luxury retailers, view our Trustpilot reviews to see why we are your essential source when you want to buy a watch or sell a watch

No scammers, time wasters or fraudulent watches as we have partnered with only the best retailers and authorised dealers in the business. Take advantage of our dedicated app on all platforms, receive offers in less than 24 hours and start saving money the smart way.


Further Reading: 

The Pros And Cons Of Selling A Watch On Consignment


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