How to Spot a Fake Rolex Explorer

Written by david hicks
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Rolex is one of the most famous Swiss watch manufacturers, best known for incredible attention to detail and clean and elegant presentation. The Rolex Explorer is an iconic example of Rolex beauty and simplicity, and it has been a popular model for many years. Because a real Rolex can have a retail price of more than £3,250, fake Rolex Explorers are common.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Watch case back remover
  • Jeweller's loupe

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  1. 1

    Check the price of the watch you are considering against typical prices for a Rolex Explorer. If the price is significantly below the current market value of the watch, ask why. A deal that is too good to be true very well may be.

  2. 2

    Examine the case and case back. Rolex is known for practically perfect lettering and machining, and any sort of error in manufacture will usually indicate a fake. Rolex also does not decorate the back of the case, so any case engraving beyond words indicate a fake.

  3. 3

    Ask the seller for the original box and papers. These are rarely reproduced with fakes, and they give the watch a traceable background. A local Rolex dealer can trace the original sale paperwork and determine if the Rolex is real.

  4. 4

    Use the jeweller's loupe to examine the face of the watch. Any imperfections in the printing or hour markers will usually indicate a fake watch. Look for smudging or light printing.

  5. 5

    Check the watch movement, the set of mechanical gears and springs inside the watch that make it run. This is the most accurate way to authenticate the watch, as very few fake watches have reproduced the Rolex movement within the watch. You may use a watch case opener to check the watch, or ask a local Rolex dealer to help you authenticate the movement.

  6. 6

    Locate the Serial and Case Reference numbers. These are often located underneath the watch band on the case of the watch, but vary by year and design. Once found, the number can be used to track the watch (and see if it is a number often used by counterfeiters).

Tips and warnings

  • The users of the Rolex Forums will often be able to help authenticate a watch. See the link in the Resources section.

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