How can you tell if a Rolex is fake?

Posted by Suzie Kidger-Clarke

on 26th April 2022

It comes as no surprise that Rolex watches are one of the most sought after luxury items that money can buy. Simply owning Rolex watches is a status symbol in itself.

But when you’re new to Rolex watches, or a particular deal seems too good to be true, how do you tell the genuine Rolex watches apart from the fakes?

The trouble is, where there’s great demand – such as a Rolex watch – coming across a counterfeit watch isn’t uncommon. But, while it can feel a little daunting investing your cash into (what appears to be) an authentic Rolex… There are some things to look out for to put your mind at ease.

Only buy from a reputable seller

The Internet is filled with Rolex replicas, but before we dive into how to spot a fake Rolex, it’s first important to mention the key move you can make when browsing for your next Rolex watch purchase.

Before committing to buy, spend a little time doing some research on the shop/individual/dealer you’re buying from. After all, you’re parting with your hard-earned cash, you need to have faith in the person you’re buying from. This doesn’t mean you have to do hours of searching high and low, but a quick Google search will show both the good and the bad.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when choosing to buy, as any reputable Rolex dealer will be able to answer any queries you might have. Expect an in-depth knowledge of a genuine Rolex watch and nothing less.

It doesn’t matter what Rolex model you’re looking to buy, online shopping via unverified deals is often best avoided, especially on websites like eBay. Not only is it difficult to determine authentic Rolex watches from a fake Rolex watch without seeing the item in person, but sites such as eBay do not enforce proof of authenticity.

Now we’ve covered online buying and verified dealers, let’s take a closer look at how to spot a fake Rolex, ensuring your watch’s authenticity.

signs of fake rolex

How to spot a fake Rolex

These days, many counterfeit watches can appear as believable as the real deal. This can make easy to flog fake Rolex watches to those who are relatively new to these luxury timepieces. But when you’re clued up on what to expect from real Rolex watches, you’re far less likely to get caught up with a replica watch.

Second hand stuttering

This is one of the easiest ways at a glance to determine if the watch you have in front of you is a real Rolex watch. One of the many genuine Rolex features includes the seconds hand’s ability to tick seamlessly around the watch face. On real Rolex watches, the seconds hand will move in tiny ticks, appearing smooth at a glance. on authentic Rolex watches, this hand will move effortlessly without pausing.

However, on a fake Rolex, it’s highly likely you’ll see (if you look closely) that the seconds hand ‘stutters’ around the watch face, quite visibly jolting from one second to the next. If you find it difficult to determine the watch’s authenticity from this feature, and feel unsure on working out if it is a genuine Rolex by eye – put it to your ear.

The seconds hand on a fake Rolex can be heard much more clearly, ticking as it moves. Unlike a real Rolex watch that is near enough silent in its movement.

Pay attention to weight

Genuine Rolex watches are made with the highest quality materials, which means that their weight is quite noticeable. One way to spot a fake Rolex is to simply hold it. Does it feel heavy or light?

Real Rolex watches use high-quality metals, so if it’s feeling a little light, the chances are it’s a fake Rolex watch that has been made with cheaper metals.

This tip is particularly prominent in newer Rolex watches, which have bracelets made from links that are solid stainless steel. While the weight of a Rolex watch is a great feature to look out for, it’s worth bearing in mind that older Rolex watches, such as the Rolex Submariner reference 16610 have hollow Oyster bracelets, making them lighter than some of the newer models.

However, the face of any Rolex model should still feel heavy and sturdy.

Take a good look at the crown

All Rolex models deliver exquisite craftsmanship and detail. A true Rolex spares no detail, from every angle, including its signature crown logo. Rolex’s incredible level of detail is often most appreciated by the small piece of metal on the side of the watch, known as the crown.

Pay attention to the crown, especially if you’re trying to work out if you have a potential fake Rolex watch in your hands. If the crown is smooth (with intricate detail) or seems plain, or very much like an afterthought, this is a huge red flag.

A genuine Rolex spares no detail, especially when it comes to showcasing its crown logo. If the crown doesn’t look the part, the chances are you have a fake Rolex on your hands. If there is a lack of detail in this area, it is highly likely they have used low quality metals instead.

how to tell if rolex is fake

Pay attention to the date

If you’re unsure how to spot a fake Rolex, pay close attention to the date on the dial of the watch, which is seen on many Rolex watches. As you run your finger across the crystal glass, do you feel a substantial bump? If you do, it’s likely to be a genuine Rolex.

If it feels flat, this is a huge red flag that it’s a fake Rolex. In addition to the feeling of the glass, the convex lens will magnify the number of the date, making it easier to see. No magnifying glass? It’s likely it isn’t a genuine Rolex.

Note: The Sea Dweller and Deepsea Sea Dweller do not have the cyclops lens, despite having the date function.

Text on the watch face

The text on the front of a Rolex watch is always crafted to perfection. Fake Rolex watches on the other hand often feature text that is improperly spaced, appears unsmooth and as though it is bubbling.

If you are concerned about any of these fine details not appearing as crisp and clear as you’d expect with authentic Rolex watches, don’t buy it. Rolex replicas can be quite convincing at a glance, but knowing the finer details to look out for is key to knowing how to spot a fake Rolex.

The watch’s serial number and model number

Every Rolex watch is marked with a serial number and model number, which can be found on the inside of the watch. On more modern Rolex watches, this is found on the inside, on the six o’clock side, while on older models, it is typically between the lugs.

While of course, fake Rolex watches can try to cleverly replicate the serial number and model number like a genuine Rolex, there are some differences to look out for.

On genuine Rolex watches, these numbers (both serial number and model number) are engraved deeply in the metal, clear to see by the naked eye. If you tilt the watch towards the light, it should catch the light and be even clearer – revealing a symmetrical number.

On a fake Rolex, however, these numbers can look etched, as though they’ve been made with multiple tiny dots, compared to one clear engraved stamp. If it looks grainy and unclear, it’s likely a replica Rolex.

The price seems too good to be true

If the price of a Rolex watch seems too good to be true, it probably is! While there are certainly great deals to be found, most counterfeit timepieces won’t quite deliver the quality you’d expect, even if it’s a pre owned Rolex.

If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to compare watch prices with another source before purchasing.

Our conclusion

The thought of purchasing a fake Rolex can be pretty scary, even to seasoned Rolex buyers. However, with the tips above, knowing how to spot a fake Rolex can become a lot easier.

Remember, it’s important to know the difference between a real Rolex and fake, replica watches. Here’s a recap:

  • Pay attention to the second hand – if it judders or appears jerky, you’re looking at a fake Rolex
  • Pay attention to the weight – Rolex watches are made with the highest-quality metals, adding noticeable weight to their structure
  • Look at the Rolex crown logo – both on the side of the watch and on the clock face. Are the details there?
  • Pay close attention to the date – can you feel the bump on the glass? Does the date’s number appear magnified?
  • Watch text – if the text on the watch’s face appears irregularly spaced or blurry, steer clear!
  • The serial number and model number – these should appear as a deeply engraved stamp, anything else is likely to be a counterfeit watch
  • Price – if the price seems too good to be true, it likely is

Looking to buy your next Rolex?

Here at LH Watch Trade, we take great pride in offering Portsmouth’s best collection of pre-owned luxury watches. From Rolex watches to Omega, RM and Cartier, we have luxury second-hand watches at competitive prices.

Looking to make your next purchase? You can get in touch with us online or give us a call on: 023 9270 4396. Or why not visit our Portsmouth showroom?