For anyone thinking that fake watches were the easy to spot domain, we will demonstrate that it’s harder to spot a fake than you might think.
In an age where rapid prototyping is something you can do as a hobby in your own home, it’s unsurprising that the replication of high-end watches has become more advanced. We’re way beyond glued on hands and a movement that will last until the first serious shake. The price you pay for a watch usually corresponds to just how much skilled human interaction has been involved in its production, with hand finishing being the bastion of the very best.
Pretty much every watch, however, starts life in the same way, in the milling machine. Cases, movements, bracelets, they all begin as blanks that get shaped by machine to a rough approximation of the finished product. Trouble is that rough approximation has become less and less rough as technology improves. Hand-finishing still applies to get the very finest of tradition and perfection, but as far as the factories that make the fakes are concerned it’s close enough. This means that clone watches are a one-to-one replica of the real thing, not close not near, it’s exact. To hold one replica Rolex in one hand with the genuine in the other is a disturbing experience. All it takes is a distraction and you might forget which is holding 10,000 dollars worth and which is holding 1000 dollars. Yes that’s right the best replica Rolex watches can cost a thousand of dollars with this specific Rolex Daytona 116500LN, because it uses real 904L steel for the case and bracelet, real ceramic for the bezel, has the same intricate locking mechanism in the clasp and it even has a replica caliber 4130 inside as well.
This is most concerning because the movement check was the last bastion of the collector in determining what was real and what was not. What it amounts to is a watch that could quite easily fall not just your average Joe on the street but also a seasoned enthusiast.
Let’s take a closer look.
Normally at this point, we would move in closer to assess the quality of a watch, now we’re doing it to determine what’s real and what’s not. You really do have to scrutinize every last detail in order to distinguish out the fake, so let’s try and do that.
An expert might distinguish the delicacy of the finishing. The mirror finish of the polished dial furniture lacks the luster of the genuine, slightly dulled by the Machine application over the finer hand polished gloss of the Rolex.
Edges are a bit coarser, losing the catch of light they should have when the watch is angled at a specific angle.
The print on the dial is as close as it gets, although under close inspection with a magnifier we can see that it is lacking the final detailing that needs to get the thin crisp lettering the genuine watch wears on its dial.
The coloring of the Daytona script might miss the mark by a shade, as does the dusting of gray paint in the ceramic bezel. The genuine watch glitters with the fine platinum dust is treated with, the fake glitter slightly less.
The precision of the fit looks perfect in the fake as well the bracelet end links not showing any significant gaps. Under closer inspection, with the magnifier glass of course, the intricate detailing between the knurls of the crown and pushers, don’t reach the same level of application found in the authentic Rolex.
There are tells, but only if you really know what you’re looking for, and it’s virtually impossible to spot the fake, without deep knowledge of Rolex and an authentic piece by your side to compare details under magnifier glass.
Let’s inspect the caliber.
Previously, a watch like this would have carried a replica ETA 7750 or a Chinese Seagull Chronograph or something like that, but not anymore. This isn’t a movement made to look like a 4130, it is a replica 4130, right down to the last detail.
There’s a balance bridge, a column wheel, the trademark purple reversing wheels, even the select use of gold screws have been matched. In some areas, the finish is not holding up to the original. The replica might lack the finesse of the straight and circular graining.
For easier set up the fake also has a regulated balance instead of the correct free sprung. But bear in mind, this comparison was all side by side. Imagine experiencing a watch like this in isolation. It’s come to a point where any ordinary person with ordinary equipment can no longer trust their eyes to determine the truth.
The bottom line is, the replica Rolex manufacturing came a long way, and it is here to stay and give you the opportunity to own a watch you desire, without breaking the bank, but it definitely is not here to be sold or promoted as an authentic Rolex. We encourage our clients to wear the watch of their dreams but discourage them to try to sell them as an authentic piece, this is one of the reasons the replica watches will never be exactly the same, even if they could.