Would you every buy a fake or replica watch? I sure as hell hope you don’t, but just in case a high quality fake watch comes your way, I’m starting this video series to help you spot them!
Over time, you’ll get better and better at distinguishing real from fake watches and will significantly decrease your chances of ever getting screwed by someone trying to sell you a counterfeit piece.
The model that I’ll be comparing on this video is the 44-mm Queen Elizabeth II Cup from Audemars Piguet. You’ll notice that the fake version of this AP that I showcase on the video is actually a very good quality replica, one that would easily fool the untrained eye.
Here are five things I look at to know if a watch is real or fake:
1) Check out the watch’s “silhouette.” Just like you become familiar with certain products of your favorite brands and just know how they’re supposed to look and feel, the same happens with watches. What’s your first impression? Are the proportions right or do they feel off? The actual manufacturer of the fake AP on the video actually did a really good job, so that it at least gives you a good first impression.
2) Check the watch’s specifications. If you know the case diameter of a specific watch model is 40 millimeters and the watch that you’re looking is at 42 mm, then you know that you have a replica in your hands. How about the weight of the watch? Most gold luxury watches are made out of 18-karat gold. The more gold, the heavier the watch. When you pick the watch up, does the weight feel right or too light? A watch that isn’t as heavy as it should be, is more than likely fake. When it came to the real and fake AP watches I used on the video, there was about a 30 gram difference (188 vs 159 grams) between the real and replica one (more than likely because of the amount of gold that the real AP has).
3) Analyze the dial. The dial is a very delicate and intricate part of a watch. On a real luxury watch, the attention to detail is usually higher, as was the case with the Royal Oak Offshores I compared on the video. The base of the hands on the fake Queen Elizabeth were fatter or wider than that of the real model. The real AP also had fine, concentric circles around the dial, but the replica didn’t. The counterfeit watch also did not have as much magnification on the date as the real version. It also had a lower quality version of the AP logo.
4) Look at the movement. This is easier to do on a watch like the Audemars Piguet on the video, which has a clear caseback that allows you to see the internals of the watch. However, on a watch that does not let you peek inside, you’ll have to open the watch. First of all, the real AP on the video had rich, blood red colored rubies, whereas the replica rubies looked pinkish. After looking at the rotor, bridge and other parts of the watch’s movement, you’ll see that there are obvious differences. The feel of the chrono buttons on the watches were also different, with the ones on the replica AP feeling as if they were going to pop out when pressed!
5) Look at the stampings. Most luxury watches have stampings. When you’re dealing with gold watches, they’re going to have what is called a “stamp of quality” that speaks to the authenticity of the watch. One example on the video shows a tiny stamp of a dog’s head (possibly a St. Bernard) on the real AP, but a totally different and simpler stamp on the fake one. A reason for this is that steel is much more difficult to engrave or stamp than gold, which is a lot more malleable.
So what do you think of my five tips to spot fake watches and distinguish real ones from replicas? Do you have any other rules of thumb that you like to use? Let me know in the comments.
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