Fake Rolex - How to spot one

fake rolex watch

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?

Clear Caseback

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.

Hologram Sticker

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.

Cyclops Lens

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.

You might also be interested in how to spot a fake Cartier watch.

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