Fake versions of designer clothing and jewellery get better each year as knock-off artists learn from their mistakes and create versions of the original that appear almost perfect. But knowing some of their tricks can help you determine whether a Rolex is authentic before you buy it, as purchasing a fake Rolex means you might end up wearing a watch that performs to lower standards than a real one.
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Consider both the source and the price. If you're buying a watch at a reputable jeweller, it's much more likely that you're getting the real thing. If, on the other hand, you're buying a very inexpensive watch from someone off the street, it's very likely a fake.
Observe the minute hand and second-hand of the Rolex. They should reach all the way to the marks around the edge of the watch. If they fall short, it's due to poor cutting from a fake Rolex designer.
Also, look at how the second-hand of the watch moves. If it ticks, rather than glides, it's very likely a fake. Few Rolex watches were made with a ticking second-hand, and that was more than 15 years ago.
Remove the watchband and check between the lugs at the 12 position for an engraved registered design number. Also, check between the lugs at the 6 position; there should be a serial number for the case in that position. If these aren't present, then the watch is a fake.
Observe the metal on the watch carefully. The gold cover on the cheap metal of the counterfeit Rolex watches will often fade off. You should also weigh the watch in your hand, as real gold Rolex watches are much heavier than their fake counterparts.
Look for a crown etched into the crystal above the 6 position on the watch. It will be difficult to see, but it's present in all newer Rolex watches.
Newer authentication papers should also have watermarks on them, which should give you confidence in the piece you're buying.
Take the Rolex to a watch salesperson if you're still unsure. They should be able to tell you fairly quickly whether it's a real Rolex or a fake.
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