Casio Fakes – CPB Seizes 10.5k Illuminators


“During an inspection of an arriving shipment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville uncovered 10,500 counterfeit Casio watches worth more than $680,000.” That’s from the official press release. A little back-of-the-envelope math reveals that’s roughly $64.76 per watch. That estimate is a bit high for a watch that sells on Amazon for . . .

Casio A168W-1 Casio Illuminator Watch

$20.49 (Casio A168W-1 Casio Illuminator). Granted, I couldn’t find a Casio quite as crappy as the fake.

But even if we value the faux Japanese digital timekeepers at a more realistic $10 a pop, the haul’s still worth over a hundred grand on the street. Here’s how the bust went down:

On September 29 a CBP officer in Louisville held a shipment, manifested as Abs watch, watch material, metal for timing. The parcel was inspected to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations.

CPB logo

When the shipment was opened Casio watches were found inside. The items were inspected by an import specialist who determined the items were counterfeit.

In all, 10,500 watches were seized. If these items were real, the total MSRP for these would have been $682,500. The packages were coming from Hong Kong and were going to one recipient in Laredo, Texas.

Just so you know, the CPB confiscated some 27,599 shipments last year. “Watches and jewelry represent 15 percent of all [Intellectual property rights] seizures, and continue to top the list of all seized IPR materials.”

It’s important to realize that not all fake watches are as easy to spot as the horrific Casios. In fact, ALL watches have fakes out there, including the highest of high end pieces.

Fake watches are a big problem, and not just for you. Their sale funds the worst of the worst criminal gangs (including terrorists) and it’s getting worse.

ebay Authenticity not for Casio

Hence eBay’s new Authenticity Guarantee. Which is limited: no smart watches, vintage watches, timepieces under $2k or watches that aren’t bought and sold in the United States. The seller sends the watch to eBay, who then authenticate it and send it on (if it’s the real McCoy).

The bad news: this process delays the sale. Ebay Authentication does NOT make any kind of determination on the watch’s condition. Just whether it’s real or fake.

As someone who bought a fake $2500 Ball Brotherhood pocket watch (the logo was a sticker) from a dealer who refused take responsibility, I can tell you that eBay is excellent at putting things right. This new plan is a major step forward.

Chrono24 inspector not inspecting a Casio deals with the fake issue by putting your money into escrow. If you don’t reject the sale and return the watch within 14 days, the money goes through to the buyer.

If you do, will “help you find the best possible solution together with the dealer. In the unlikely case that one can’t be found, you’ll receive a refund.”

If you’re not buying from a completely trustworthy source (e.g., an authorized dealer or well-known gray marketeer), it behooves you to have your purchase inspected immediately upon receipt.

Time is money. Even if you are able to recover your money after buying a fake, it won’t be a quick or easy process. You have been warned.


  1. A little back-of-the-envelope math reveals that’s roughly $64.76 per watch. That estimate is a bit high for a watch that sells on Amazon for . . . Casio A168W-1 Casio Illuminator Watch $20.49

    They didn’t stipulate that they were all the same (fake) model. There may have been higher value models (not pictured) in the mix. I’ve learned that nearly all the popular Casio models are counterfeited. A lot.

    So far, so good for my own experience buying from various online sources. But, yeah… it’s a big problem out there. Do your homework on the seller.

  2. 9/11 hijackers:

    Saudi Arabia: 15
    UAE: 2
    Egypt: 1
    Lebanon: 1
    China: 0

    There are a number of good reasons not to buy fake watches, but terrorism is not one of them. Many of the cottage industries churning out fake watches are the same ones churning out no-name/Chinese branded watches. I try to a certain extent to avoid Chinese made goods since it is a fascist, anti-democratic country. But it is not, within generally agreed terms, a terrorist country. And if it is then many things in Walmart are funding terrorism, not just fake watches on eBay and Alibaba.

    The big reason not to get a fake watch is what brands are supposed to do. Not serve as intellectual property, but protect consumers. If the brand is fake then the quality will likely be poor. It is quite possible the watch will contain lead and other toxic substances.

    Another reason not to buy fake watches is that a person will not fool anyone worth fooling.

    And the final reason is that Seiko and Swatch Group make great real watches for what the fake watches cost.

    I’m pretty skeptical of anything coming from the CBP. It’s anti-counterfeiting efforts are backed by phoning it in government employees and the same big business interests that would have Vortics destroyed as fakes.

    I’m also skeptical of eBay authentication and would like to see it be optional. There is not a lot of transparency around it. Supposedly a lot of it is being done by Stoll & Co in Dayton Ohio. Which does not appear to be a factory authorized service provider for Rolex, Omega, or Cartier, the top luxury watch brands by revenue.

    Buy the seller, especially if you are not a sophisticated buyer. Remember that some websites are not retailers, but “marketplaces” full of sketchy, untrustworthy third-party sellers. If you want to make sure you are not getting something counterfeit deal with an actual retailer, not a “marketplace.”

      • As an intervention skeptical libertarian leaning individual that saw the US create an opening for ISIS by deposing Saddam Hussein I tend to tune out whenever a generic terror threat is the call to action. I did watch the video, keeping in mind it was by a Tommy Hilfiger (fake Ralph Lauren?) employee with industry bias. The terror link was weak. Sure giving people in the Middle East money for fake branded goods funds terrorism because of the power vacuums that allow terrorist groups to operate freely in the region. But that has more to do with the region than the specific transaction. If that was the only issue the solution would be to buy direct from China and avoid the middleman.

        He buried the lede. 36,000 people have died in car accidents due to counterfeit automotive parts.

        I am against fake watches full stop. The ones where the consumer is in on it for the reasons I reference above, and the ones where the consumer is not in on it because I don’t like fraud. But fake medicine, food, car parts, car seats, and other critical components are the real issue.

        The problem is Amazon. eBay and other sites I think get reasonable people into a caveat emptor mindset, but people treat Amazon like it’s Target when in many ways it is closer to a back alley flea market:

        If I had to guess based on the quantity and the fact these are counterfeits of a relatively low price brand these fake Casios were headed to an Amazon seller and buyers not in on it/getting defrauded.

    • Not saying Chinese people are or are not terrorists, but “China didn’t do 9/11, so therefore they are not terrorists” only makes sense if you have serious head trauma.

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