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Ways to Spot a Counterfeit Rolex - Part One

Updated: May 6, 2022

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT-Master II Batman ref 11671
An Authentic Rolex GMT-Master II "Batman"

The counterfeit industry has taken away money and customers from Rolex, therefore raising concerns as the amount of damage simple imitation watches can cause. Though low quality fake timepieces are easy to perceive, higher quality fakes can trick even those who are trained in spotting dissimilarities between fake and real wristwatches. However, there are differences between the two that average consumers can notice.

The most noteworthy difference between an authentic and a counterfeit Rolex watch is the weight variation. Because genuine Rolex watches are crafted with solid gold, steel, or platinum, they tend to have a heavier weight than ersatz watches that use cheaper metals. Counterfeit Rolex watches are lightweight and are not as durable as their authentic counterparts.

The case back is another area to check to ascertain whether or not a consumer is about to acquire a counterfeit timepiece. It has been noted that many faux Rolex watches exhibit a clear case back. This is rarely displayed in true vintage Rolex models and never seen in modern ones. There are also some counterfeit watches that have incorrect case back markings, to include the famous Rolex crown logo, model numbers, serial numbers, and other reference numbers. Genuine Rolex watches do not contain these alone; instead, they present a hologram-encoded sticker containing the reference number of the watch with the Rolex crown above it. There are a few exceptions to this. Some ladies’ Rolex timepieces have the words “Original Oyster Case by Rolex” engraved on the case back while Rolex Sea Dweller models have “Rolex Oyster Original Escape Valve,” “Rolex Patent,” and/or “Patent Pending” engraved on the case back. Authentic Sea Dwellers made for COMEX divers also exhibit the Rolex and COMEX names and an identification number.

Another simple way to differentiate between an authentic and a counterfeit Rolex is by the motion of the hands. In genuine Rolex watches, except for the Rolex Oysterquartz, the second hand presents a sweeping motion as it ticks at a rate of 5-8 times per second. Counterfeits usually have a second hand that only ticks once per second, though higher quality imitations have a sweeping motion that is not as smooth as it is on an authentic Rolex.

The crystal and finish used for ersatz timepieces are different than what those used for authentic ones. Every Rolex model released after 1991 is crafted with synthetic sapphire crystal with a clear white appearance. Faux Rolex models present glass or acrylic crystal that displays a milky white appearance. When it comes to the finish, stainless steel imitations are much more difficult to identify as fakes. However, it is easy to identify whether a gold watch is a true Rolex or a faux with a brass cover-up.

The Cyclops lens is another identifying factor. An authentic Cyclops lens magnifies the date by 2.5 times. However, a fake can only magnify up to 1.5 times if it’s effective. Also, the Cyclops lens is positioned incorrectly in many counterfeit Rolex watches.

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 in order to find an authorized

Dealer. We buy and sell pre-owned Rolexes only.


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