Watches have become increasingly popular when it comes to being luxury items. As it is easily seen and noticed, it has grown from an ingenious device at telling time to a symbol of status and style. Currently there are a lot of brands that have established their place in the market.
However, this conception for watches is being exploited by counterfeits aiming to lure people into buying theirs for a “cheaper price”. Unbeknownst to the untrained eye, what they’re buying is actually fake.
Watches are not expensive just for the sake of it. There are a lot of reasons why they are priced as such. There is extensive research and development, usage of high quality materials, production costs, demand and supply, the now-common recognition through publicity, and a lot more factors that tend to justify the pricing. With all these qualities, it is not unusual to see a lot of counterfeits being produced nowadays.
To identify an authentic and a counterfeit watch is a challenge to even the most seasoned retailers. Though the easiest way to identify them is through having it tested by authorized dealers, there are still a lot of signs that are visible to the naked eye:
The watch should be heavy unless it uses titanium as its material.
Most branded watches use gold or steel for their materials and they are heavier than the metals used by counterfeit watches. The weight is a common sign to look out for in identifying a watch especially when you know what material it is supposed to be made out of.
The engravings on authentic watches are very clear and etched to perfection.
Another reason for the high price tag for branded watches is their engravings. There should be crystal clear etchings on the watch that even when viewed from a magnifying glass, will show how perfectly accurate and extremely sharp to the point they are made compared to counterfeits that may look sandy and smudgy when viewed from the same lens.
Special markers are sometimes placed on specific types of branded watches.
There are a lot of markers where you could identify to check if a watch is legitimate. Serial numbers, special marks, and other etchings are usually perfectly clear-marked compared to counterfeits that may look faint and when looked at a microscope may not be rough-edged. The case and serial numbers can also be checked by calling the manufacturer for clarifications on its authenticity.
Original watches have hands that move smoothly.
Most of the time, counterfeits have hands that do not move as smoothly as an original watch does. As branded watches are expertly crafted and delicately made to perfection, the hands on the watches are accurate and move very smoothly according to the time. Usually, the hands are good indicators of authenticity as fake watches have hands that tend to jerk when moving around.
Errors on spellings are not really uncommon for counterfeit watches.
Authentic watches are meticulously made so that everything is perfect from its casing, engravings, spelling, hands, and its various minute details. Counterfeits, albeit trying to resemble the original ones as accurately as possible, sometimes commit errors in their spellings. A careful watch and a keen eye is key because there are some brands that have different spelling depending on the region where it originates and that may be used as a tricky loophole for counterfeits.
All the buttons of the watch should have a purpose.
Another sign of an authentic watch is that all of its buttons are working well and that they work properly according to their specific functions. The dials, sub dials, helium release valves (for some dive watches), and other settings must be checked if they cover the functions necessary for the watch to efficiently work.
Watches have securely-sealed back cases.
There are certain brands of watches that have tight and secure back case seals. As most branded watches are waterproof, the back cases are oftentimes very tight and won’t easily budge. It takes experts a hard time to open the seal as they are designed to withstand pressure from being underwater for long periods of time.
There are a lot of noticeable signs that can tell whether a watch is authentic or not. As they continue to be sought after high-quality items, their prices will remain as such and the counterfeits will continue to exist as well. Though there are clear signs, some of them may be too hard to notice by the naked eye or even from microscopic examinations.
Although there are variations in some watches, not all change means that it is a fake. As a rule of thumb, if it seems too suspicious, then it might really be the case. However, when in doubt, checking the watch through its manufacturers and certified retailers is always the best course of action for a sure expert opinion and analysis.
The straps may not be of same quality.
The watch straps should also be checked whether it is of legitimate quality. Sometimes with wristwatches using leather straps, the quality may be a bit off. This should come off immediately as a warning sign because counterfeits may use plastic to replace the expensive leather in authentic watches.
If not plastic, other low quality materials may be used to imitate the appearance and texture of the strap to further confuse people into buying them.
Minor imperfections on the case and dial.
Sometimes errors on counterfeit watches are obvious under careful scrutiny. Authentic watches are expertly-crafted and their quality is top-notch so such imperfections should not exist. In some cases, the junctures of the watch are not as smooth and uncreased compared to the original ones and certain abrasions may be seen at different areas of the watch, mostly at the transition of the case and the lug.
The dial may also be different in little, yet noticeable ways such as slight misplacements to the left or right, and may not create perfectly straight or right angles when the hands should be aligned as such.
For more detailed tips on spotting fake watches, check out this article from Watch Ponder!