Rolex watches are probably one of the most copied watches in the world, according to the antique collector's website Horologist. Founded in 1905, Rolex has secured its position as one of the world's most prestigious watch brands. Spotting a fake can be notoriously difficult, especially if the watch is a Submariner copy -- the most popular fake Rolex model. However, there are some simple ways to help you determine if your Rolex is real or not.
Remove the watch band. If you check between the lugs at the 12 o'clock position, it should have an engraved "registered design" number. If there is no number, it is a fake. You can also check between the lugs at the 6 o'clock position. There should be a serial number for the case, if the watch is real. If there is no number, it is fake.
Look for signs of wear on the lug ends and look at the case back of a gold watch. A fake Rolex will usually have an area where the gold has worn off, exposing the white metal beneath it. If it has glass or crystal on the back of the case allowing you to see the internal movement, it is also a fake.
Pay attention to the clasp. Genuine Rolex watches have an Rolex emblem engraved on the clasp, which appears on both the gold and stainless steel varieties.
Pay attention to the weight of the watch. A genuine Rolex (gold in particular) is very heavy in comparison to a fake. This is due to the cheap materials used to make a fake Rolex. A stainless steel Rolex is also heavier than a fake, due to a higher quality base metal used in the construction.
Watch the hand movement. A Rolex trait is the movement of its second hand, which glides around the dial chapters. Many fakes use a quartz movement, causing the second hand to tick every second as it steps around the dial. Be careful, though, as Rolex has released a few models that use a quartz movement.
Look at the bezel. The bezel on a real Subarmariner Rolex turns only turns counter clockwise. A watch bezel refers to the ring around the face of the watch that holds in place the glass or crystal face. The bezel on a fake is often bi-direction, turning both ways.
Listen to the bezel click when it is rotated. A genuine Rolex will click 120 times on a full circle; an easy way of counting these is to turn it a quarter turn. You should count 30 clicks.
If the Rolex has a green bezel, it is a 50th Anniversary Submariner or a copy. To help determine whether or not it is real, you should check the case for lug holes. Rolex ceased making lug holes on the Submariner model cases before it began creating the 50th Anniversary Submariner. If it has lug holes, it is a fake.