How to Tell if a Rolex Is Real or Fake

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Rolex is one of the leading brands in luxury watches. Rolex was the first to include designs and innovations such as water-resistant cases, quartz movement and displaying of different time zones.

Because of the expensive price of the watch, some people sell imitations and claim them as authentic. There are a few different ways to identify an authentic Rolex.

Locate the case back on the underside of the watch. Some fake Rolexes have clear case backs that allow you to see the inner workings of the watch. Other fakes have engraved logos, hallmarks or designs on them. The case back of a genuine Rolex watch is smooth and free of any such designs.

Search the back of the watch for a hologram sticker. A genuine Rolex watch comes straight from the factory with a three-dimensional hologram sticker on the back, similar to those on credit cards. The sticker has Rolex's trademarked crown logo positioned directly above the watch's case reference number. Fake Rolex watches will also come with the sticker, but it is merely an image rather than a true hologram and will not change its pattern depending on the angle at which you hold it. The use of the hologram sticker is relatively new, however. It was not introduced until 2002, when the sticker was redesigned and the reference number lettering was changed from gold to black.

Take a close look at the watch magnification. A genuine Rolex watch has 2.5-times magnification. Most fake Rolex watches will be magnified only by 1.5 times. This may seem like a small difference, but when compared with a real Rolex watch, the difference is clear. Look closely, as some fakes are now made with a larger-font date wheel to give the illusion of 2.5-times magnification.

Unscrew the Triplock crown seal. You can identify this seal by three tiny dots positioned under the crown logo; it is engraved in the winding crown. Some fake Rolex watches have a similar looking crown, but it is nonfunctional and merely cosmetic. Once you unscrew it, you will be able to tell if it is functional.