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How to Spot a Real or Fake Rolex Watch?

Everybody wants a Rolex.

People just love Rolex wrist watches. Sadly, so do other watch companies because almost all of them copy Rolex’s style.

There are Rolex knockoffs in just about every watch line in every jewelry store across the country. Whether it’s the Oyster Perpetual, Date-Just, Datona or Submariner, it’s bound to be duplicated.

With Rolex wannabes and fakes everywhere, it’s hard to tell the difference between a real Rolex and a fake Rolex watch.

If you happen to walk the streets of New York city, you’ll probably hear someone in a trench coat yell “Hey, you wanna buy a Rolex?” But before you buy, consider this:

There are 3 types of fake Rolex watches:

A bad fake, a good fake, and a genuine Rolex watch.

Which are you looking for?

What are you willing to spend?

Bad fake Rolexes have some quick signs that everyone points out that distinguish them from a real Rolex.

First on the list:


On a real Rolex, the second hand sweeps around the face smoothly (Although it still ticks very quickly at 8 ticks a second). On a bad fake, the second hand will tick one second at a time. It ticks a second at time because it’s a quartz movement (battery operated… But then again, Oysterquartz are quartz movements also. Go figure. They’re just rare to run across). Usually the ticking is a dead giveaway.

Good counterfeits have almost mastered that ticking clue though. They have second hands that sweep more smoothly, but still a little jerky and more obvious that it’s actually ticking. The general rule of thumb states, that if it ticks, it’s more than likely FAKE!

Bad fake Rolex signs:

Bad fakes (see picture) have a piece of glass as the watch face instead of a sapphire crystal. Good fakes have gone so far as to put in a sapphire crystal. Sapphire crystals are durable and scratch resistant. Water tends to bead up on sapphire crystals. Glass will dull quickly and show signs of wear and tear like scratches and chipped edges. Besides, glass faces sound differently when tapped versus sapphire crystals.

Bad fakes have cheap hands, most are squared off and shorter. Good fakes have hands that are nearly identical to a real Rolex.

Bad fakes are lightweight and feel cheap. That’s because they’re made of base metal instead of gold or steel. Gold is much heavier and solid feeling than cheap base metal. Good fake Rolexes are made better, heavier, and are harder to tell their difference in weight. Usually the band is one of the biggest giveaways to a fake Rolex. Fakes tend to have hollow links, where as a real Rolex has solid links. Fakes have pins holding the links together, a real Rolex has screws. Some of the better made fakes are implementing screws now also. It’s just getting harder to spot the differences.

Cheap fake Rolexes are missing serial numbers. If you remove the band from the case, you’ll see serial numbers that identify the watch. All Rolex watches have these. And since you have the band off, if you look closely at the fakes, most of the time you’ll see where the gold plating is chipping or wearing off to reveal the white base metal behind. And on top of that, if you run your hands over the edges of the band, a fake one will have hard, sharp edges. A real Rolex will have clean lines and smooth edges.

So what are the top ten signs your Rolex is a fake?

Good fakes are getting so good they’re even fooling the experts…

The details in fakes are scary.

Little things like the Rolex crown etched into the sapphire crystal at the six position. Good fakes will also have model numbers on the link tabs and a clasp that has a nicely engraved Rolex emblem. Good fakes are even coming with one of those brand new green stickers on the case back (Even though the real sticker has a hologram that’s almost impossible to duplicate. But I’m sure if you look hard enough on eBay, you’ll find some stickers for sale).

The date bubble:

Some people say you can tell a fake Rolex from a real Rolex by the date bubble. The date bubble is the little magnifier that covers the date to make it easier to read. That bubble should magnify 2.5 times the actual size. Cheap fakes will normally only magnify about 1.5 times.

Is the watch grainy?

On most fakes, good or bad, the etching of the serial and model numbers will look grainy, sandy, or rough. If you loupe the letters and numbers with a 10x jeweler’s loupe, you’ll see jagged lift marks on a fake. That’s because the engraver has gone over the lettering with a couple of amateur passes and left uneven and jagged channels. Genuine Rolex watches have perfect lettering that’s clean, crisp, and smooth.

Rolex is even fighting counterfeits with its newer Rolex watches by providing an inner bevel that’s hard to reproduce. Inside the face of the watch, all the way around the inner edge, you’ll now see the word “Rolex” repeated over and over again. It’s cute and clever, but I’m sure it won’t be long before this is copied too.

10 fake Rolex signs to look for:

So here are 10 big signs that can help identify a Rolex:

  1. Does it tick? If it does, it’s probably fake.
  2. Are the 9’s in the dates, open or closed? If they’re open, it’s FAKE!
  3. Does it feel lightWeight and cheap? If it feels hollow and flimsy, it’s FAKE!
  4. Are the letters and numbers rough and jagged? Real Rolexes are very detailed and precise.
  5. Are any of the words misspelled? Fakes often misspell words like “Rollex“.
  6. Are the hands short or squared off? Rolex hands are rounded and long at the ends.
  7. Does it come in a plastic bag? Don’t laugh, fakes normally won’t come in a Rolex box.
  8. Does it have a warranty? Fakes usually skimp on anything official looking like a warranty.
  9. Does water bead up on the crystal? Wipe water across the face and see what it does.
  10. Are the edges of the band hard, sharp or jagged? Rolex links are smooth and perfect.
  11. Does it have proper serial numbers and model numbers on the links? If not, it’s FAKE!

The bottom line:

Only buy a Rolex watch from an authorized Rolex dealer. Because if you bought a Rolex watch for under $2,000, chances are very good it’s FAKE. Rolexes hold their value. That’s the coolest thing about them. You can get them refurbished and cleaned up and they’ll look brand new again. That’s why they will sell for a lot of money, even USED! Used Rolexes will probably sell for about half their regular retail price. And that’s not a bad investment.

(Pre-owned Rolex watches

So if you get a deal to buy one for $50, I’m telling you, it’s not REAL. Even at $300, it’s just not going to happen (It may be a great knock-off though). Rolex watches don’t sell for bargain-bin prices. If you’re looking for a cheap watch, look elsewhere! I would suggest you NOT buy them on the streets. That’s a scam waiting to happen. Be careful buying from pawn shops… You never know what you’ll get there. Because you really do get what you pay for. A $50 watch is still $50, and still a $50 FAKE! It’s not going to fool anyone!

The only good thing is that a fake Rolex will probably keep better time than a real Rolex (You can’t beat a quartz movement for accuracy). Rolexes are known for losing about 2-3 minutes a month.

But then again, if you have the money to buy a real Rolex watch, then time probably doesn’t matter to you much anyway.

After all, it’s a showpiece, not a timekeeper.

Check out these pre-owned Rolex watches at Amazon HERE!

Cheers! :)

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter 10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner
Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit
Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter
10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope


  1. Samantha Lawrence // June 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm // Reply

    Very helpful, thank you.

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