Difference Between a Real & Fake Cartier Watch

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

There are telltale ways to distinguish a real Cartier watch from a fake one. If you familiarise yourself with some of the characteristics of a genuine Cartier watch, you may save yourself from being ripped off.

Of course, the best way to guarantee that a Cartier watch is real is to buy from a Cartier store or a reputable, authorised merchant.

Logo Details

Spelling errors are common on fake Cartier watches. There are fake watches that omit the first “r” in Cartier, and when inspected closely will read “Catier.” Familiarize yourself with the way that the real Cartier logo looks: two “C’s” facing away from one another and touching at their rounded backs. The logo on real watches will appear on the watch’s wristband, the back of the watch and on the face.

Watch Band

The shininess of the watch’s band is also a good way to tell the difference between a real and fake Cartier. Fake watch bands are often dull. Flex the watchband. Real Cartier watchband links will move freely on their own, without bending or friction between the links. Fake watches can have bands that are tight and stiff.

Authentic Mechanisms

Take the watch to a reputable jeweller. The jeweller will open up the case to see what type of movement is in the watch. According to John Schildt of Arnold's Jewelry, Cartier doesn’t use Japanese movements. If there are Japanese parts in the watch, the watch is either fake or the parts have been replaced with non-Cartier mechanisms, which will render the watch less valuable than completely authentic Cartier watches.

Serial Numbers

Real Cartier watches have serial numbers etched on the back of the watch in clear, distinguished script. Fake ones may either not have a serial number at all, or may have a fake or copied one etched on the back in light etching, according to Schildt. You can cross-reference the serial number with an authorised Cartier merchant or Cartier retailer to authenticate the watch.

Type of Screws Used

Fake Cartier watches often use Phillips screws to secure the case. Look at the back of the watch. Real Cartier watches never have Phillips screws in their watches. Fake Cartier watches can weigh less than genuine Cartiers, as the fake watches often contain aluminium, which weighs less than the quality metals used in real Cartier watches.

Face Glass and Winder

Real Cartier watches are made with high-quality glass, which will make water bead on its surface. The glass Cartier uses is scratch-proof and clear. Every real Cartier watch will have a cabochon stone set in its winder, Roman numerals with a small Cartier signature written on the VII and X and a winder that turns smoothly. Genuine Cartier watches glow in the dark brightly and for a long period of time, according to Schildt. Fake watches will either not glow at all, glow dimly and hazily or glow for a few minutes and then fade.