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How to spot a Fake Rolex

Fake watches are something that is really frowned upon in our beloved watch world, but unfortunately is still a thing. There are plenty of Rolexes for sale on the ‘world wide web’ that have definitely not been produced by Rolex and sold to any of their customers, but have been manufactured elsewhere, mostly in Asia. None of those fakes can be bought on Wristler luckily for us, but we still want to warn and inform you about this occurrence. Let’s take a look at the different types and kind of fakes and how to spot and identify them!

Why are there Fake Rolex watches for sale?

Fakes are found in all kinds of markets and the watch market is no exception. Big brands like Omega, Cartier and Rolex have built up their reputation in the watch community for decades. Unfortunately, there are people with bad intentions who want to get a piece of the pie. There is a gap between production costs of watches, and the market price, which means that there are people who will make use of this. They decide to reproduce these popular watches and cut back on the quality control to sell them for way cheaper than they could possibly be. Same goes for other designer products, like Gucci bags, or Yeezy’s. These watches are mostly produced in Asia an make their way into the European market via suspicious web shops.

What kind of Fake Rolex watches are there?

Easy to spot: Bad fakes

Fakes usually categorize in three types and let’s start with the one that is seen the most. These are simply the ‘bad fakes’. There are plenty of bad fake Rolexes, that you might spot when you are on holiday, and are strolling across a little cozy market or these amazing sales guys on the beach. Next to the bags and hats you often see these watches. Generally speaking, the only ‘Rolex’ you can find in and on these watches is the word Rolex, and possibly a crown icon. The rest of these watches are straight up fugazi, and nothing like original.

Sometimes these fakes are so bad that they’ve decided to reproduce a Rolex without checking the official Rolex catalogue: they’ve produced models that aren’t even being produced. Models like the Rolex Day-Date without the day-window, a Submariner with a GMT bezel or even worse: a Daytona Chronograph with a rotating tachymeter bezel. If tachymeter bezels were able to rotate, they would completely lose its function. Wondering how tachymeter bezels work? Take a look at our Racing Watches page. Anyways. If you’re new to the watch market, just ask yourself the question: would Rolex make these mistakes? The answer is no. A new Rolex watch with spelling mistakes in the text, or the word quartz on the dial is definitely not real. Rolex only used quartz in their ‘Oysterquartz’ models, and not in any other of their other watches. 


(A fake Rolex Daytona with rotatable Tachymeter bezel)

All about the details: Good fakes and ‘superclones’

The second type of fakes are the better/good fakes or so called ‘superclones’ These watches are extremely well produced compared to the original product and sometimes you can’t even see the difference with the ‘naked eye’. But still, there are some giveaways like the lettering on the dial. Rolex is known for their excellence and the same goes for the typo: the words are lined out perfectly without any fading. So, whenever you spot a watch that says Rolex on the dial but the font is a bit off, you already know the answer. Note: on older, vintage pieces from Rolex lettering starts to fade, but that really depends on the dial, the wear and tear for the whole watch, not just the font, so please keep that in mind. 

There are some models with the well-known Cyclops-lens on the dial, making it easier for you to read today’s date. The given fact about this lens is that it always magnifies the date 2.5x on a real watch. This is so difficult to reproduce for (fake) manufacturers, that this could be an easy way to spot a fake Rolex. Next up is the font of the date (and day) window: this is very recognizable and you should always inspect this. If it looks off, it’s probably a fake.


(A real Rolex Datejust with correct font and magnification)

When it comes to modern Rolex watches, they always feature the Rolex crown (Coronet) etched in the crystal right above the 6-hour position. And that’s something that’s pretty hard to see, but a fake one doesn’t have this for sure since it’s pretty hard (and expensive) to produce. Sometimes the crystal on a real Rolex watch gets replaced with an aftermarket crystal, that doesn’t mean the whole watch is a fake. 

We’ve already mentioned it, but Rolex watches are expensive. And thus, expensive to produce. Rolex uses their own materials, such as metal alloys. The white & rose gold alloys that Rolex uses are unique and therefore not correctly replicated. So, the color, the look and feel of the material can be a giveaway on fake watches. It also means that these materials have a specific weight, which also goes for the movement. If you put the watch on a scale and the weight is off, that means that there are some parts missing or the watch is fake. End of story.

Another thing that’s a dead giveaway is when it comes to serial numbers. Rolex uses their own way of unique serial numbers. That’s the reason why we’re always blurring the serials online, since this needs to be as secret as possible so that the manufacturers from Asia can’t replicate them. The serial numbers on real watches can be found on the so called ‘rehaut’ of the watch at 6 o’clock. This should be perfectly centered and in the correct font. The same goes for the rest of the rehaut, with the Rolex crown at 12 (exactly in the middle). If these details aren’t on your modern watch, we’re sorry to inform you that it’s unreal. When it comes to older watches like (neo) vintage watches, Rolex puts their serials on the case, between the lugs. These can be seen when removing the bracelet. These serials are being done with laser, so it should be perfect as you might expect when it comes to Rolex watches. On these fake models? You’re right, the answer is that it’s done in a bad way. 

One of the hardest things to spot when it comes to real versus fake, is the movement. Fake movements stand out (in the wrong way) so that’s easy to see. On superclones, even the movements look like a real movement. Note: the identification of the movement should always be done by a professional in the business, so keep that in mind.  


(A real Rolex with correctly outlined rehaut)

Putting parts together: Frankenstein watches

The third and last category in the watch market (fake watch market) is the ‘Frankenstein’. These so called ‘Frankenstein’ watches are watches that consist of both genuine and fake parts, so some manufacturers actually take real Rolex watches and split them into different watches, making one or more fakes based on a real one. Keep in mind: watches with aftermarket dials, aftermarket bracelets and so on are Frankenstein watches as well, so please stay away from these pieces. A good example: a vintage Rolex Datejust in 36mm with a bright blue ‘Tiffany’ dial. The looks of a new watch, but with a vintage case, bracelet and movement. Please, don’t buy these pieces. Thankfully you can’t find these watches on our platform. 


(A real Rolex 1601 case with a fake aftermarket ‘Tiffany’ dial)

How to stay safe

As you have read, the world of fake watches is a very complicated one. But, we’re here to protect you from buying fake watches, since that’s the reason why we’ve started Wristler in the first place. Secondly, when you’re in the market for a luxury watch, always buy the seller, read reviews and ask for references. Buying from certified sellers will give you more certainty for your new watch. Preferably buy the watch through Escrow, since that’s the safest for both parties (both seller and buyer). Furthermore: please enjoy the hunt on your next treasure, find your beloved watch and wear it with pride.

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  • 100% Authentic watches
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