Can You Spot A High End Counterfeit Watch? Nope!


The counterfeit watch is out there, somewhere. “With continued advancements in tech, the quality of these fake watches is getting better and better,” Watchfinder & Co.’s intro to their “spot the fake” quiz asserts. How good are they?


Never mind all that stuff about “a fool and his money are soon parted.” High-end fake watches are more than good enough to fool dedicated enthusiasts

Unless you’re an expert amateur, and even if you are, buying a high end watch from anyone other than a reputable dealer runs the risk of putting a fake on your wrist. Funding cartels, terrorists and terrorist cartels.

A conclusion that suits Watchfinder & Co. – a reputable dealer whose experts inspect all their high-end pre-loved timepieces for authenticity, and back them up with a 24-month guarantee. And squashes fakes (not sure how owners who sent them in feel about that).

To drive home the danger – and increase sales – Watchfinder’s “spot the fake” quiz presents images of Rolex, Panerai, Breitling, IWC, TAG-HEUER, OMEGA and Hublot watches and asks you to decide whether they’re real or fake.

Ironically enough, it’s a fake quiz. Well, kinda.

Most of the “tells” are as obscure AF. Some rely entirely on hands-on examination; not the easiest process when contemplating a one dimensional image. For example, the IWC counterfeit watch above is detectable due to hand-setting (not possible) and the case back (not shown).

The faux Hublot’s dial is “smudged and messy” and the bezel’s knurling’s a bit rough, but there’s no way you can make that assessment based on the image provided.

You can tell this TAG HEUER is a fake because it’s the wrong color blue? Geddowdaheah!

Thanks Watchfinder for ID’ing the bad engraving on the Seamaster’s clasp – that we can’t see.

The “it’s too new to be true” is a good tip-off, but the ultimate tip-off is “price”too good to be true” price. It’s the same old song. Psssst! Hey buddy! Want to buy a watch real cheap?”

As for determining whether the Rolex watches highlighted are real or fake, there’s a simple answer there: assume they’re all fake. Rolex accounts for about half of all fake watches sold.

We’re talking a lot of fakes. In 2022, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry estimated that criminals produce some 40m counterfeit watches per year. That’s 25 percent more watches than Switzerland’s yearly output, generating around $1.08b for the bad guys.

There is but one lay-up in Watchfinder’s “spot the fake” quiz: the first Rolex.

It’s a POS quartz watch with the Rolex label slapped on. And you know what? That’s the kind of fake Rolex that sells in their millions, not the super high-end stuff.

That said, a high-end counterfeit watch is not a unicorn. Again, buy from a trustworthy source or pay the price.

Oh, and Watchfinder didn’t present fakes from the Holy Trinity (Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet). Rest unassured, they exist (Fake Patek Philippe: Three Ways to Spot One).

Leave a Reply