It's becoming increasingly difficult to identify fake Tag Heuer watches from the genuine article. During the past five years, fake Tag Heuers have flooded the market. Some Swiss fakes are remarkably good counterfeits, while Japanese fakes have improved in quality. Poor quality replicas from Asia, such China, are easy to spot. The key to avoiding fakes is not so much telling the real Tag from the counterfeit, but steering clear of street vendors, flea markets and nonauthorized sellers.Tag Heuers should be purchased from an authorised dealer. Tag Heuer does not sell watches on the Internet.
Visit an authorised Tag Heuer watch seller. Tags may be found at independent jewellery shops, but they should be avoided because Tag Heuer may not honour the warranty since the watch did not come directly from the factory and is not sold by an authorised dealer. Use a jeweller's loupe to inspect the Tag's watch dial, the watchmaker's logo, dial colour, the dial hands, case back and bracelet or strap.
Examine the movement, which is the mechanical device that operates the watch, through case back exhibition window if the watch is an automatic. Look for the Tag Heuer name etched on the movement.
Compare the Tags from the authorised dealer's colour brochure with the Tag Heuers sold at flea markets and from street vendors. Note the bracelet from a flea market vendor is probably ill-fitting with a clasp featuring rough edges that dig into the wrist. The vendor's version may feature a watch dial that lacks the lustre of the real thing. Note that the hands may not match the same watch featured in the brochure. These watches are likely Asian replicas.
Consider that the movement may not feature the Tag Heuer logo on the flea market version. Note the weight: a phoney Tag is considerably lighter than the real one.
Copy photos of Tag Heuer watches from online auction houses if you decide to purchase a watch from an independent Internet seller. Enlarge the photos and compare them to the authorised dealer's brochures. Any differences in dimensions, technical data and appearances signal a counterfeit.
Examine vintage Tag Heuer watches in the same manner as new models. Vintage models are less likely to be faked. However, the number of Internet vintage Tag dealers selling watches cobbled together from different model Tags or even other brands is increasing. These timepieces are called "Fankenwatches" and have no resale value.
Internet sellers of new Tag Heuer watches may claim the watch comes with a thee-year factory warranty, but Tag Heuer takes a dim view of Internet sales and may not honour it.
A typical Tag Heuer in 2010 cost a minimum of £520 to £585. If you find a Tag with a price that seems too good to be true, it is. It's probably counterfeit.