Ten rules for spotting watch fakes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by armscye, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    1. Most of the time, fakers fake the same brands. 95% of fakes are Rolex, Breitling, Cartier, Patek, Piaget, Vacheron. If you find a nice old Tissot chronograph, you have a much better chance of it being the real thing. Then again, I got fooled by a superbly faked Corum Admiral's Cup once-- because I never heard of anybody faking a Corum.

    2. Quartz movements sweep the second hand with a jerk, automatic movements sweep it smoothly. Since Rolex, Patek, and (most) Cartier do not make quartz watches, the jerky second hand is a good quick test. But remember, there are fake automatic movements, too.

    3. Fakes with stainless bands almost never use solid band links. You'll see folded edges, plus screw pins with slots. Real Rolexes and Breitlings have solid band links. Then again, there is so much Rolex fakery that there are now even fake solid Rolex bands.

    4. Fakes often lack serial numbers, or the serial numbers are all the same. If it does not look individually rollmarked, beware.

    5. Fakes use crummy leather band clasps with a tubular hoop, and often do not repeat the maker's mark on the clasp. Then again, I've seen Cartier fakes with Cartier clasps.

    6. Almost nobody fakes half a watch. If it's fake it's all fake. There are no ready supplies of real Rolex cases or movements waiting to be combined with a fake case or movement.

    7. If the movement is not marked, chances are it's a fake. Real makers almiost always add an engraved bridge or rotor. And if there is no rotor, it's almost certainly a fake, since manual wind mechanical movements are nearly extinct.

    8. Look at the crown. On a Rolex or recent Breitling, it should be marked. It should show no wear through the plating, and no discontinuity of color with the case.

    9. Your best friend in examining a watch is an 8 power loupe. You'll see plating peeling at the edges, the crudeness of a poorly silkscreened dial, a plastic crown jewel, a mismatched crown. Use a loupe on a couple of good watches to get a sense for what you're seeing.

    10. Don't buy online and especially not on Ebay. Repeat, don't buy on Ebay. It truly is "E-prey" when it comes to watches. There are a hundred reasons even a legitimate watch might be a poor value, and a thousand ways it might be fake. As Obi-wan Kenobi said, it's a "hive of scum and villainy."
     
  2. offshore observer

    offshore observer Active Member

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  3. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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  4. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    Mr. Offshore,

    I'm a bit disappointed by your post. You seem horologically knowledgeable, but instead of using that knowledge to guide other members, you struggle to point out the inevitable rare exceptions to a group of sound rules, thereby sowing mass confusion.

    I think many members would be eager to see you use your superior knowledge to guide us. So let me request: please, give us all a clearer guide to recognizing fakes, with rules that are unexceptionable and ironclad, yet clear and non-technical.
     
  5. William Massena

    William Massena Well-Known Member

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    Dear Armscye,

    Let me explain the major flaw in your argument. Anyone who has a very good understanding of watches will point out to you that there are no rules when it comes to fake. Mr. Offshore Observer, knows much more about watches that you will ever want to know, was politely pointing these to you.

    Your rules are based on unsophisticated knowledge of what is considered a fake. Unfortunately it is far from being that easy.

    Excellent fakes are extremely difficult to recognize. Affordable technology has made it nearly impossible for experts to spot these fakes. This is especially true for high end vintage watches because many manufactures have no good records of past production. Very rare vintage rolex can easily be made using components find in other models and modified.  You can easily find these watches at auction houses and some reputable dealers. You would be amazed what a skilled watchmaker can do. Often, a watch can increase tenfold in value because of a dial or a case metal color.

    Furthermore, there have been recent scandals in Switzerland about impossible to spot fakes in the current production high end wristwatch. These were created by a supplier to a major brand using genuine production parts, that they were producing themselves combined with parts that were stolen at the manufacture by some employees and some bought in Russia and China. We are talking industrial quantities here. The "Franck Muller scandal" while not widely known among the general public, has created shockwave in the industry. These watches are fake, made from some genuine parts, but still fakes and sold at the real retail price.

    I am sorry to tell you that your "sound rules" are as naive as the gentleman who just bought a "genuine" Patek.
    Asking for "clearer guide to recognizing fakes, with rules that are unexceptionable and ironclad, yet clear and non-technical", is like asking for a peace plan for the Middle East that would satisfy everyone.

    Regards
    William Massena
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I believe it was that Muller's partner, who is reputed to be part of the Armenian mob, used Poljot movements. Muller is suing from France I believe.

    If one were to take note of the current ads of the watches, some of them are minus the "Swiss Made."
     
  7. William Massena

    William Massena Well-Known Member

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    Hi LabelKing,

    You are absolutely correct, but the scandal now involves Jacquet SA, a supplier to Franck Muller, and many others such as Ulysse Nardin, Corum, etc... Its CEO, Mr Jacquet was arrested nearly a year ago, when it was discovered that he had organized some major robberies at Rolex, Franck Muller, etc.. and had established an illegal manufacture producing watches from many brands using these genuine stolen parts and creating dials and assembling movements. Very Scary stuff.

    William
     
  8. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Hello,

    Does the company have any association with Jacquet-Droz?
     
  9. William Massena

    William Massena Well-Known Member

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    None whatsoever, Jacquet-Droz is owned by the Swatch Group. Jacquet SA is mostly a supplier to the industry, they manufacture for many brands, and are the owner of British Masters (which are sold under the name Graham and Arnold & son).

    Jacquet, like Favre or Piguet, is very common last name in Switzerland.
     
  10. offshore observer

    offshore observer Active Member

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  11. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    Ah yes, the standard diatribe from offshore: "There are no certainties. Dark and powerful forces of incredible subtlety manipulate us, and only my sophistication can guide the ignorant unwashed. Do not question me, obey me..."

    Haven't you "sophisticated" Europeans bought into that nonsense a few too many times in the last century?
     
  12. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    It's too bad finding a genuine watch has to be such a complete hassle. I guess I'll rely on my cellphone to tell me the time (since we often have them out so often here in Korea. You guys are JUST getting cameras, neener neener neener)
     
  13. coatandthai

    coatandthai Senior member

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    While fakes are often sold on eBay, there are many fine and reputable dealers who use eBay as a medium of commerce. eBay has a major advantage over every other internet source -- feedback. I rely heavily on reputation when buying and eBay provides easy access to reputation via the feedback rating. Thus, I have purchased (and sold) many high-end pieces on eBay and have never had a problem. I wish I could say the same about other internet sites. Some traditionalists would say brick-and-mortar is the only way to buy, and for them, this is probably true.

    As for the $75 Patek that started this discussion, that buyer and seller knew exactly what they were doing, and they deserve each other. Trademark infringers and counterfeiters flock together.
     
  14. William Massena

    William Massena Well-Known Member

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    I am flabbergasted, you just received a polite demonstration on how naive and unsophisticated your "ten rules" are and you feel the need to pull the nationality card?

    Yes, it is not all black and white or "us vs them". It requires some sophistication, a small degree of finesse, no ego but a small dose of intelligence.

    William Massena
    Proud to be an American
     
  15. mistahlee

    mistahlee Senior member

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    How can one tell if a particular Franck Muller piece is a hundred percent, or any percent, genuine?
     

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