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Identifying an Authentic Watch

While buying watches online and on the high street is safe as long as reputable suppliers are used, it pays to ensure you are buying an authentic watch.

Today, an authentic watch is considered a symbol of status and wealth. Their beautiful and varied designs, incredible craftsmanship and infallible reliability are all the marks of an exquisite timepiece.

However, whenever such a high quality product becomes available on the market – just as with clothes and colognes – fakes begin to appear. These shoddily crafted and unreliable watches say just as much about the wearer as an authentic watch.

Rather than a symbol of status, wealth and success they become a sign of gullibility or cheapness. Neither are particularly desirable traits.

So how does one avoid this pitfall? How do we tell a real from a fake? In this article we’re going to give you a brief rundown of some of the most basic precautions you should take to protect yourself from the peddlers of fake luxury watches.

The Golden Rule

First of all, the Golden Rule. This applies not only to deciding if you have an authentic watch or not, but pretty much everything else in life:

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

This point cannot be repeated enough and sadly we’ve probably all fallen for such a con at one time or another. Someone offers us a fantastic luxury watch for an unbelievably low price. We get caught up in the idea of an ‘opportunity not to be missed,’ an ‘unmissable bargain.’ Our hope blinds us to the little tell-tale signs we would normally be on the lookout for. Generally speaking, an authentic watch will not be sold for much less than £175.

The processes and craftsmanship involved in constructing a quality timepiece makes it almost impossible to find an authentic watch for less than this. However, beware that many fakes may sell for more than this if they are masquerading as one of the more expensive brands of luxury watches.

Look at Quality, Not Price

Of course a suitable price does not guarantee authenticity. If you paid full price for a fake watch then you’re even worse off. So how do we go about identifying an authentic watch? If you have the physical watch in hand then taking a close look at the craftsmanship can often reveal giveaways. On an authentic watch there will often be inscriptions and engravings; they will be perfect. A genuine timepiece will be put through extremely rigorous quality control.

The reputation of the watchmaker rests upon the fact that every single item they make is of the highest quality. If you are even a little hesitant that something is not correct, that the engraving of the name or serial number is slightly blurred or distorted then the watch is fake. The quality controllers have incredibly exacting standards and an intimate knowledge of the watch in question.

Another significant pointer is the ‘Cyclops,’ the small magnifying glass above the date indicator. Often on a fake this will not magnify the date a great deal but on an authentic watch the date should be very clear and well magnified. Note the quality of the painted numbers on the date indicator, they should also be flawless and this is often an area that is neglected by counterfeiters. If you think something is wrong then a quality controller would have too and the watch would have been discarded. Regardless, if you’re willing to fork over for an authentic watch, why accept anything less than perfection?

Know Your Watches

Try to familiarise yourself with the watches you are considering. Nothing beats a comprehensive understanding of the watch you are thinking of buying. Attempt to keep a catalogue handy that you can refer to. For example, often a fake Rolex watch has a ‘ticking’ second hand rather than a ‘sweeping’ second hand. However, some perfectly authentic models of Rolex break this general rule and have a ‘ticking’ hand.

The solution? Know your watch.

There are many forums dedicated to different watch collections and many list known faults in fakes. Such an exhaustive list is beyond the scope of this article but a simple Google search will provide a plethora of information.

Avoid the Impostors 

Another concern is the sale of ‘imposter’ luxury watches. Although not out and out counterfeits these watches are of poor quality and design but profess to be of luxury quality. Once again they often appear to be a ‘great deal’ but in actual fact are of poor design and shoddy workmanship.

So how do we tell the difference between a real luxury watchmaker and a company masquerading as one? Any true brand will have a great deal of information concerning themselves on the Internet and catalogues. The ‘imposter’ brands often have little information available other than advertisements.

They will use grandiose and over stated terms to describe their products and often choose impressive sounding European names, especially Swiss or German. Examples of this sort of company include “Klaus Kobec,” and “Montre Suisse.” Once more, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Reputation Makes the Sale

Finally, the easiest way to be sure that your watch is authentic is to buy from a reputable and well-respected source. Try to avoid buying ‘second-hand’ watches and auction sites like eBay where the reputation of the seller is even slightly in doubt.

By buying from a fully licensed dealer you receive many benefits. A 30-day returns policy ensures that if you are in any doubt of the watch you have purchased you can return it for a full refund. From a licensed watch dealer you will receive either a 1, 2 or 5 year warranty depending upon the manufacturer. Even if you are still in doubt of the legitimacy of a dealer you can call up the manufacturer themselves; they will confirm whether or not the retailer you are considering buying from is the real deal.

Most of the points discussed in this article will allow you to identify a fake watch, buying from a licensed watch retailer is the only way to be absolutely sure you receive an authentic watch.

To conclude:

  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • The craftsmanship of an authentic watch will be beyond question. Any flaws, however slight, suggest a fake watch.
  • Research the collections you are considering thoroughly. Ensure a sound knowledge of the watch you are trying to buy, forewarned is forearmed.
  • Beware of ‘Imposter’ Luxury Watches. Awareness of craftsmanship, price and the characteristics of the model you are trying to buy will save you from this pitfall.
  • Buy from licensed and well respected High Street retailers or better yet an established online watch retailer. Avoid eBay and second hand watches. In reality, this is the only way to absolutely sure you are receiving an authentic watch.

Knowing where to shop is key when it comes to buying watches. If you’re considering purchasing a new watch for yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact us and learn more about the watches we sell and our guarantees.

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