The majority of high-quality, authentic timepieces that are frequently copied are produced in Switzerland. These timepieces are expensive, frequently costing thousands of dollars, and require years to make. Since authentic luxury timepieces are quite expensive, fakes are widely available. They are often produced in China’s sweatshops, are offered for sale by dubious merchants, and nearly never weigh as much as the original they are meant to copy. One indication of a fake watch is when the typeface used for the business name or the emblem differs from the genuine one (most luxury Swiss watch brands display both just below the 12:00 mark on the dial). Sometimes neither the firm name nor its emblem can be seen on a fake, and other times the company name is misspelt.
Here are some brand-specific recommendations to help you assess if a Breitling, Panerai, Rolex, or Patek Philippe watch you were told was authentic or not:
Only the numerical day of the month (i.e. 20, for November 20th) is displayed in the calendar display on a genuine Breitling. Many fakes, however, also show the day of the week, so this isn’t always the case.
The Bentley Mulliner is the only model made by Breitling that still allows you to see inside the watch. Be mindful if your Breitling has this characteristic, often known as an “open-heart” or “skeleton” design, as it is a rather uncommon model.
The second-hand moves continuously in the majority of Breitling models, therefore if you notice or hear a distinct “ticking” noise or motion for each second, your watch is likely a fake.
If the strap is made of metal, the Breitling serial number is always visible on one of the links; if the strap is leather, it is visible on the back of the watch. Every Breitling serial number is distinct to a particular watch, therefore if you were to enter the serial number of your watch into a search engine, the identical model would come up in the results. You can conclude that your watch is a fake if your serial number yields different or no results, or if it is not visible anywhere on the timepiece.
The Breitling name will always be intricately carved on the buckle if the watch is still on its original strap. This characteristic is absent from many fakes or, if it is, it is not sharply carved. (Picture)
Speaking of straps, if yours are made of leather, the phrases “cuir veritable” or “Croco veritable” should be visible whether they are made of traditional (bovine) leather or crocodile leather, respectively. If any of these is missing from your Breitling’s leather watch strap or the label is inaccurate, it is probably a fake. If your Breitling was purchased used, you may omit this step because the strap might have been changed by the previous owner.
When exposed to light, the crystal genuine Breitling watches have a very faint bluish glare, if any at all, whereas fakes have a dazzling white glare. The Sapphire crystal found in the majority of the more recent Breitling models is to blame for this. Fear not if your antique Breitling has a crystal that feels plastic or has an acrylic dome; the majority of vintage Breitlings had this sort of crystal when they were first produced.
Additionally, always be sure to request the certificate that comes with all new Breitling models if your watch is brand new. In this situation, if your dealer is unable to provide you with the certificate, you may often presume it’s a fake.
Panerai always has a sandwich dial, which simply means that the green numerals’ luminous material is sandwiched between two pieces of black velvet, giving the dial its name. If you examine carefully enough and notice that this element is absent, you may conclude that your watch is a fake.
In a genuine Panerai, the left subdial is present at 9 o’clock in its place. On the other hand, a fake Panerai will often have the 9 o’clock marker and the left subdial will be located further to the right.
A genuine Panerai will always have hands that are on the longer side and reach the dial’s edge. However, the hands of a fake Panerai are often shorter.
A genuine Panerai watch will have all text carved clearly and deeply into the watch’s casing. These words will be acid-stamped on a fake, making it harder to read them.
Most imitation Panerais lack this particular design, which makes their crowns always flat and broad. In addition, the handle on the genuine version of the crown protection will properly fit along it and be fastened to the case. These characteristics are typically absent from fakes, and the handle will frequently be either too long or too short.
While imitation Panerais sometimes have straight lugs, all genuine ones have angled lugs. Every Panerais comes with a hand-stitched leather strap, and as a result, the stitching is quite evident. But fakes typically lack visible stitching, if any (sometimes the strap is just kept together with leather glue in these instances). A genuine Panerai will also always have the brand name and reference number stamped on the buckle. If the reference number is present at all on a fake, it will be impossible to read.
An authentic Rolex’s serial and model numbers are always sparkling and prominently displayed on the side of the watch, directly behind the 6:00 hour. If a fake watch has a serial number, it will be acidly etched, making it look duller, and/or it will be located somewhere else on the watch.
The brand name is etched on the movement of a genuine Rolex, as may be seen by opening the case back. This information cannot be found in a phoney.
On a genuine Rolex, the little, convex magnifying glass located above the date display is referred to as a cyclops. On a fake, if it exists at all, this feature typically seems straight or less enlarged.
All Rolex watches are waterproof, in contrast to how fakes are sometimes not. We do not advise submerging your watch to check its authenticity, though, as you will still need to return it to your dealer in working order if it is a fake.
A fake Rolex can contain engravings on the back of the case, but a real one won’t.
A genuine Rolex will always have the company’s emblem micro-etched into the crystal if it was created after 2002. It is essential to see a reputable jeweller check for the presence of this characteristic because it is quite difficult to perceive with the unaided eye.
Subdials on your Patek Philippe model will always be proportionally positioned, useful, and have the right details on a true version. In a fake, this won’t be the case.
A genuine Patek Philippe will feature a pusher that is easy to use and will be smooth; most versions have just one. If any are present, they will usually be rough, slanted, and/or have multiples on a fake.
Swiss watchmakers take considerable care while creating their timepieces, which often do not include fakes. In light of this, if you want a luxury watch, please, if you can afford it, get the genuine article.