How to Tell if a Tag Heuer Is Fake

Written by nicola gordon-thaxter
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How to Tell if a Tag Heuer Is Fake
Use a magnifying glass to identify a fake. (Keith Goldstein/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Tag Heuers are luxury Swiss watches that can cost anywhere between £390 and up to £52,000 for the Tag Heuer Monaco V4, which is the most expensive model. Because they have a reputation for the highest quality and are associated with top celebrities such as Brad Pitt, many people want to own one. As a result, a large number of replicas or fakes are produced each year. With careful examination it is relatively simple to spot a fake, especially if it is one produced in Asia.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Loupe (a small magnifying glass usually set in an eyepiece)

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  1. 1

    Determine where the watch was purchased. If it was purchased for you, ask where it was bought. If it wasn't bought from a reputable jeweller, it is more likely to be a fake.

  2. 2

    Examine the links, hands, detail and clasps with the loupe. If they are obviously poorly crafted, the watch is likely to be a Japanese or Asian fake.

  3. 3

    Check the dial for dirt and fingerprints. If you find any, this is an indication it is fake. Genuine Tag Heuer factories have strict quality control procedures, unlike the replica factories.

    How to Tell if a Tag Heuer Is Fake
    Closely examine the dial for dirt. (expensive swiss watch close up image by Nikolay Okhitin from
  4. 4

    Use the loupe and examine the dial and date wheel if the watch has one. If the writing is fuzzy and undefined it is likely to be a fake. On a genuine Tag Heuer, the print would be sharp as any imperfect watches would be rejected at the factory.

  5. 5

    Look at the dial in the dark and check how luminous it is. If the watch is genuine, you will be able to read the time in the dark as most Tag Heuers use a substance called LumiNova to make the dial glow in the dark. Fake Tags will not glow brightly or at all.

  6. 6

    Listen to the ticking mechanism, and count how many ticks you hear in a second. Fakes will tick about once per second while a genuine Tag Heuer will tick about eight times a second.

Tips and warnings

  • There are two classes of fake: Swiss and Asian. It is much harder to differentiate a Swiss replica from the genuine article.
  • If the watch looks genuine and you want to be sure it isn't a fake, take it to a jeweller who can examine the inside of it in detail and tell you if it is a Swiss replica or a real Tag Heuer.
  • If you want a genuine Tag Heuer, buy from a reputable jeweller and make sure it is authenticated.

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