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How To Spot A Fake Rolex

Decades ago, a seasoned watchmaker told me if a watch “says Rolex but it’s not perfect, it’s a fake.” Back then, I thought that this was both bold and presumptive. However, now, it is the very first thing I say when asked how to spot a fake Rolex.

How To Spot A Real Rolex

The counterfeiters have long challenged Rolex with endless attempts to dupe consumers and steal away from what the brand creates. Rolex has always been able to stay several steps ahead with their unique capacity to produce some of the highest quality wristwatches in the world.

We take a close look at the following:


spot a fake rolex


How To Spot A Fake Rolex?

A real Rolex watch will pass the highest scrutiny of parts and performance. Most fake Rolex watches will reveal themselves quickly, especially if they are being sold at a price too good to be true. Some better ones can temporarily deceive but will eventually reveal their faults.

They control the manufacture of all parts that go inside their watches so even the smallest screws are designed to last and function at least a century. These are standards of detail and quality that are difficult, if not impossible to recreate without the same commitment, machinery and capital.

Here are some important Rolex product facts to be aware of to help weed away the fakes:



Every detail on a Rolex dial is purposely chosen and placed. When looking to spot a fake Rolex, pay close attention to the small details as red flags may be visible to the naked eye:

  • Fonts and sizes: On a real Rolex watch, the fonts and sizes are exact and all logos, names, descriptors and markers are aligned and spaced perfectly.
  • Model number and serial number: All Rolex watches have had both the Rolex model number and unique serial number permanently stamped on the case frame as far back as the 1920’s.
  • Model number location: The model number is typically found between the case lugs, where the bracelet attaches, on the 12 o’clock side.
  • Serial number location: The serial number is found between the lugs on the 6 o’clock side. Since the early 2000’s Rolex has been able to permanently print the serial number in a visible spot inside the watch on the inner bezel ring near 6 o’clock on the dial.


how to spot a fake rolex


Materials Used

There are only 5 different materials used to create their cases and bracelets and they are all precious and pure:

  1. Rose gold
  2. Yellow gold
  3. White gold
  4. Platinum
  5. Stainless steel

While stainless steel is not considered a precious metal Rolex currently produces a grade (yes, they produce their own steel) that is steps higher than anyone else and has properties of high longevity and strength.

Only Rolex owns the tooling and machinery to work with steel of this kind, the counterfeiters do not.


Original Box And Papers

Original box and papers are important for all brands and it is especially so for Rolex. Rolex watches will always originate with a branded box and official paperwork, such as a warranty, with numbers that match both the model and the serial number found on the watch.

These documents are often lost or misplaced, and counterfeiters will try to fake these too. But having them alongside their corresponding watch adds greatly to the credibility of what you see.


spot a real rolex


Sapphire Crystal

Beyond the high quality of materials and production there are specific anti-counterfeiting elements that Rolex has designed into their watches, some more known than others.

A good example of a purposeful anti-counterfeiting design built into a Rolex watch is found inside the sapphire crystal, the glass that is the window into the dial. There, on all new watches since the early 2000’s, you will find a ghost-like micro-crown at the bottom near 6 o’clock.

It is nearly impossible to see without a magnifying glass, and difficult to find even if you do have it. When you finally discover the image it is like you found a hidden code in a great piece of art: It is a small Rolex logo. It is not etched on the surface of the crystal nor is it etched from underneath. It is, in fact, created inside of the crystal.

In one special room at the brand’s main factory, all Rolex sapphire crystals must go through a process, one at a time, that brings them within the reach of three industrial robotic arms fitted with high-precision lasers.

Two robotic arms will stand above the new crystal while the third rests below. The machines then brand the crystal by simultaneously triangulating heat points inside the thin wafer creating a pattern of dots that form a barely visible crown.

Once formed it cannot be removed, more importantly, it cannot be reproduced without using the same level of expensive technology. The fakers will often etch this small Rolex crown onto the top of the crystal, which does not work to their advantage. It is a tell-tale sign: a quick and easy way to identify a fake Rolex watch.


What Are Rolex “Super Fakes”?

Another experienced watch specialist recently said that present day Rolex has “perfected the mastery of high-quality and high-volume manufacture like no other company in the world, in any industry.” This standard and commitment to manufacturing excellence keeps counterfeiters at bay, but it has not stopped them from trying.

In many ways, though leagues behind, the pretenders get better and their “super-fakes” can easily fool anyone that is not a trained Rolex watchmaker. Therefore, to spot a fake Rolex, the modern Rolex customer must keep eyes wide open, analyze what they seek to buy, and especially know who it is that they are buying from.


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How To Buy A Real Rolex

To buy genuine Rolex watches at the best price, shop pre-owned luxury watches authenticated by a team of experts at myGemma.

How To Sell Rolex Watches

At WP Diamonds, we buy your Rolex watches in as little as 24 hours, for the best prices. Our simple, streamlined process is designed with convenience in mind. We purchase your items directly: there are no fees or commissions deducted from your final offer. From Rolex to Tag Heuer to Omega, we specialize in purchasing luxury watches.

As an A+ BBB rated luxury buyer with over 1,000 customer reviews, we pride ourselves on our exceptional customer care. We believe in providing a transparent service, with honest quotes and strong prices. We believe that selling luxury items should be a luxury, enjoyable experience.


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535 5th Avenue, 11th Floor,
New York, New York
10017, USA

Berkeley Square House
Berkeley Square, Mayfair
London, W1J 6BD, UK

212 JQ Modern
120 Vyse Street, Hockley
Birmingham, B18 6NF, UK