Fake Rolex?

How can I tell whether a Rolex watch is the real deal, or whether it’s a fake? Some of the fakes out there are pretty high-quality, so are there any sure-fire ways of knowing?

easiest is to just hold it in your hand. real rolex’s are heavy and feel real solid. the fake ones are pretty light.

second obvious way is to look at the sweep second hand. IIRC the sweep rachets instead of moving smoothy (eg, ticks off each second instead of sweeping). Been quite a while and I might have it backward.

By the price and the vendor I’d say. rolexes are neither cheap nor sold in the street.

The term ‘Quartz’ on the face is often a giveaway.

To clarify and earlier post: Rolex second hands ‘sweep’…or seem to sweep, as opposed to others that tick once per second.

Also, just about every other cheapo quartz watch will be more accurate than a Rolex, but it might take a few months to figure that out.

This site has a list of things to look for, including particular sounds, hand movements, serial numbers, etc.

This site seems to be about how to purchase the best fake Rolex, but there’s some useful information there too. It discusses differences between the different tiers of fake Rolexes.

I’m not certain it’s entirely accurate to say the second hand “sweeps.” At least not smoothly. At least not my Rolex.

Let me 'splain. On my Rolex, the second hand doesn’t move quite smoothly around the dial (like on a school clock, fer instance). If you look closely, it moves with a series of very small ticks, say 4 or 5 per second. These ticks match the watch’s internal ticking, if you were to care to listen while you watched the second hand. (I see that the first link that Kayeby gives does eventually say this as well, further down on the page). If you give the watch just a passing glance, I suppose this motion might appear as if the second hand was sweeping smoothly.


Rolex does make quartz watches as do other high end makers like Omega. They sell for less money than those with mechanical movements but much more than typical fakes.

We buy/sell used Rolex watches.

The quality of the fakes varies from the lightweight, poorly made ones that sell for $20 or whatever you can get, to the incredibly well-made, heavy fakes. These can make you look twice.

Does Rolex still produce the quartz watches? They truly are quite scarce. Probably we’ve had one in the last 10 years, in which time we’ve bought 250+ mechanical Rolexes.

Actually I don’t know if Rolex still makes quartz watches, it’s probably been 20 years since I saw an Oysterquartz in an overseas AAFES catalot. Couldn’t find any on the Rolex site. Omega makes quarts watches. I often see Seamasters for sale in Costco, both quartz and automatic models.

Oddly, there are lots of well made watches selling for $100 or less which keep better time than a Rolex. And, are about as durable, too.

Once you pay more than $500, you’re paying for the Name or precious metals.

I want to sell one of my Subs (c.1961 with the pointy crown guards and a “James Bond” NATO strap). I just need to get a good photo of it so I can post it on eBay. For some reason, the digital camera doesn’t do well with small subjects. The 35mm I shot were a little underexposed. I keep forgetting to take more 35mm photos of it.

Thanks for reminding me! :slight_smile:

Come on! With a name like JohnnyL.A., I wouldn’t trust him to be selling real Rolex watches!

So there **is ** one sure sign the Rolex is fake: The guy selling them has a name from a bad crime drama. JohnnyL.A. - yeah, I’d buy a watch from him!


Rolex has fairly recently (like within the past year) discontinued the Oysterquartz line. There are still a number of them out there in retail channels however. These are the ones where the seconds hand runs at one tick per second.
Modern Rolex automatic movements run at 28,800 bph (beats per hour) or in other words 8 ticks per second.

There’s really no telltale way to tell a Rolex fake.

There are a lot of obvious things that indicate a fake.
Chances are if it’s quartz it’s a fake. There just aren’t that many Oysterquartz
out there and they look quite different from the automatics. I think all Oysterquartz models have an integrated bracelet.
Also the only quartz models produced were Datejusts and Day-Dates. So a quartz Submariner is obviously a fake.

You’ll also never see a Rolex with a display back.

Rolexes also have surprisingly crappy feeling bracelets and clasps, so going by heft alone is not really an indicator.

There are lots of other shady Rolex scams not involving fake Rolexes.
Such as trying to pass of a common model as a valuable rare model through the use of fake dials. Commonly done with Red Submariners or Comex Sea Dwellers.

A good place to look for more info would be the Rolex forum on timezone.com
More tedious detailed info on Roli than you can shake a superlative chronometer at.

I’d take the “Rolecks” logo as a good indicator.

My digicam takes great macro pictures. Mail me the watch and I’ll take a pic for ya!

Johnny, it may not be the smallness but the shiny specularity that’s giving you problems photographing the watch. Send me an email off the board and I can give you some tips on some makeshift diffusers to photograph it more clearly.

Thanks, Padeye; but I don’t think it’s the specularity. My camera (an Olympus D510) just doesn’t seem to want to make clear pics. The 35mm camera is much better. I think the problem is that the digital can’t be focused manually.

I took some photos about a month ago. I put the watch on a nautical chart and set up two Lowel lights with diffusion. Then I found out the aperture on my zoom wasn’t working. I switched to the 50mm standard lens. I used the matchstick in the trusty ol’ OM-1, and also took a reading with a Minolta IV-F. The watch still came out too dark. Yup, the in-camera meter is going to read a small black area less than the large white-ish background it’s on. smack And the handheld meter is still going for the 18% grey. Now that I have a new zoom, I’ll have to set it up again and remember the exposure adjustments. (And be more agressive in my bracketing.)

Say, Lazlo, you’re all right! Should I mail the watch in a clear box, so that you know what’s in it? :smiley:

I recieved the oddest spam today, “Genuine Replicas watches” including rolex and just about any other high end watch for $160. The copy is hilarious, " ROLEX FOR YOU - ? Nice …huh ROLEX FOR YOUR WIFE OR GIRLFIREND ROLEX FOR YOUR KIDS." Emphasis mine I’m curious how a company can operate out in the open like that and not get shut down for trademark infringement.