Updated: May 6
Counterfeit Rolex watches are purchased by consumers every day, causing them to needlessly spend money and causing Rolex to lose profits. However, with the proper research, buyers can learn the differences between an authentic Rolex and an ersatz one.
One of the key differences between a fake and a genuine Rolex can be observed with the illumination markings. In authentic Rolex timepieces, illumination markings on the hands and hour markers glow for an extended period of time once charged, though the time the chemical glows is shortened in vintage and older models due to age. In cheap replicas, the illumination does not even take place while in higher quality faux watches, the illumination markings may not glow for as long.
On a genuine Rolex, the winding crown is smooth and noiseless as it is unwound and the second hand moves by 2-3 second markers when the time is being set. In an imitation Rolex, the winding crown is not as smooth and the second hand jumps forcefully. An interesting difference is that the Rolex crown is engraved on authentic models while it is merely glued on fake ones. In addition, every Rolex model featuring a Triplock Crown has an additional seal that can be observed when the winding crown is completely unscrewed.
There are some functions seen in authentic models that are not seen or don’t perform as well in faux models, such as the hack feature, which is not seen in faux models; the quick set feature, which jerks and jumps in an imitation watch; subsidiary dials and registers like those found on the Daytona, which do not function in fake timepieces; the extra 24 hour hand found on the GMT and Explorer models, which can barely be seen in counterfeits; and the gas escape valve found on the Sea Dweller.
Another area in which to search for signs of an ersatz watch is the bracelet. Unauthentic timepieces will have bracelets that fit tight and have kinks, have poor gold plating, unevenness in the links, scrolled lines accompanying the Rolex stamp seen on Jubilee and Oyster bracelets, a stamp of the coronet that is not copied very well, and clasps that look like a cut piece of metal.
There are many deficiencies to look for in order to ensure a Rolex watch is authentic. One thing to remember is that Rolex strives for excellence, quality of functionality, quality of appearance, and reliability. If a consumer purchases a Rolex timepiece with a physical or functional defect, there is a chance it is not a genuine Rolex.
Bert Levi Family Jewelers is not affiliated with Rolex SA, and nothing
in this content should be construed as an endorsement by Rolex. We
are not an Official Rolex Dealer, and if you are searching for a new
Rolex, you should visit Rolex.com in order to find an authorized
Dealer. We buy and sell pre-owned Rolexes only.