Rolex has been know for its high standard of quality and top luxury reputation in the watch industry for decades. Annually, Rolex produces approximately 600,000 timepieces, however the number of fake Rolex watches made yearly is nearly 10 times that. Counterfeiters are creating replicas that are nearly identical to real Rolex models, making identification of fakes more difficult than ever. Identifying signature characteristics of the brand can assist in determining if a ladies Rolex watch is authentic.
Examine the case back of the watch. Authentic Rolex watches do not have a clear glass case back, or "exhibition back," with the exception of two vintage models made in the 1930s. Additionally, true Rolex models do not have an engraved case back, with the exception of the "Sea-Dweller" model and limited ladies pieces manufactured in the early 1990s.
Inspect the hologram sticker or decal on the case back. Real Rolex models manufactured since 2002 will possess a 3D hologram decal on the back of the watch. The trademark Rolex "crown" and case reference numbers should be easy to see. Some counterfeit watches will not have the sticker, while others will not include the 3D effect or "crown" image.
Look at the front of the watch. Since 2002, all new Rolex models have a micro-etched "crown" logo on the crystal face of the watch, located at the six-o'clock position. Fake watches will have a low quality etching or will not have this characteristic at all.
Locate the engraved case reference numbers, found in between the "lugs" or brackets that attach to the watch band. Reproduction watches will often engrave the numbers too closely together or lack these number entirely. Additionally, counterfeiters tend to use the exact same reference number on several different watch models, unlike Rolex, which implements different numbers for each model.
Study the date feature on the front face of the watch. Genuine Rolex timepieces include date magnification or "cyclops" that magnify the date display 2.5 times. Fake watches will usually only expand the date number to 1.5 times and are frequently attached incorrectly and misaligned.
Observe the motion of the second hand. Real Rolex second hands sweep smoothly across the face of the watch. Replicas tend to "tick" five to eight times less per second, creating rigid movement, unlike true Rolex creations.
Rolex watches should be purchased from a reputable jewellery dealer.
The quality of counterfeit watches has improved over time, so consult a professional jewellery appraiser if in doubt.