How to spot a fake Rolex
The old adage about a fake Rolex still holds – “if it ticks, it’s fake”. But what are the other signs you can look out for to ensure your investment stays just that, an investment?
One of the easiest ways to spot a fake Rolex is by its clear caseback (or “skeleton” caseback) which allows you to see the watch’s inner workings. Bonafide mass-produced Rolex watches do not have such a feature.
Rolex do not engrave their watches. On a genuine Rolex, the caseback will be smooth, whilst fakes might feature engraved logos and other designs. There are rare exceptions, including a pre-1990s ladies' models, which had "Original Rolex Design" (or similar variation) engraved on the back of the case, and a Sea-Dweller display that has "Rolex Oyster Original Gas Escape Valve" engraved around the outside.
Real Rolex watches are shipped with a 3D hologram-encoded sticker on the caseback. This sticker features the watch’s serial number in gold lettering. For post-2002 models, this sticker features a Rolex crown above the serial number, which is in black lettering not gold. A fake usually features a non-hologram sticker which repeats the Rolex pattern and does not change when viewed from other angles.
Micro Etched Crystals
After 2002, Rolex introduced a tiny crown logo micro-etched onto the crystal of some watches at the area around the six o'clock mark. This should not be present in earlier models.
Real Rolex watches with a current date display feature a Cyclops lens that magnifies the tiny aperture 2.5 times. Fake Rolex watches only magnify by 1.5 times, although some fakes offer a larger font on the date to give the illusion of higher magnification.
Case Reference Number
On real Rolex watches, the serial and case reference numbers are engraved in such a way that they feature very fine lines, which catch the light, similar to a diamond cut edge. Some fake Rolex watches feature a sandy “acid etched” appearance. On fake Rolexes, the numbers can appear too close together, and most counterfeiters tend to use the same numbers on their watches.