One of most commonly counterfeited items on the planet is the Rolex sport watch– we call them “Fauxlex”. Here’s a counterfeit of the Rolex Ladies DateJust that we recently examined. Our first impression was that it was not genuine- the outer bezel is set with low quality diamonds and looks out of synch with the dial– Rolex would never use this grade. We’ll show you how we proved it was a fake.
First, looking at the watch case outside, we saw three things that set off the alarm bells.
Rolex sport watches have a model number engraved on the watch case between the lugs at the 12:00 position and a serial number indicating year of manufacture engraved between the lugs at the 6:00 position. As you can see from these photos, no model or serial number.
Next, we saw the 18K mark on the backside of one of the lugs– didn’t look right– not stamped into the metal, just laser etched. We double checked- the case didn’t test to be karat gold with our AuRacle gold tester.
We opened the watch case– the manufacturers name (not Rolex) and case content, stainless steel, is clearly marked on the inside. And the movement was obviously not a Rolex movement– no markings, no name.
Even though this watch is obviously a fake, it’s better than some we see. Fauxlex watches range widely in quality. We see ultra cheap ones that feel and look flimsy and have a plastic window on the back of the case so you can see the self winding movement. At the other end of the scale, high grade fakes manufactured in Italy are challenging and can be very difficult to distinguish from the real thing– we described one of these in a previous blog.
This one is in the middle– the case is solid stainless steel that has a similar weight to the genuine stainless model. The mother of pearl dial is well executed– the lettering is crisp compared to some we see, and the diamond settings are very similar to the real Rolex settings. The crown is made with a pretty good rendition of the Rolex logo– not as crude as some we have seen.
In our experience, the ultra cheap fakes aren’t meant to be taken as the real thing, just something a consumer can buy for a few dollars and show off to friends. On the other hand, the better quality counterfeits are meant to deceive and to sell for high dollars– they’ll often be presented as a distressed sale. The seller shows the price for the real thing, then tell a sad story why the watch is being sold for so much less.
The moral of the story- If you are looking to buy a Rolex, know your source. Rolex watches retain a good portion of their original price and are frequently sold used. Be sure your vendor has the skills and knowledge to know what they are selling and will guarantee the identity and quality of the piece..
Our mission as professionals and members of the American Gem Society is consumer protection through education and ethical business practices. Our appraisers maintain their skills by following trade publications and constant reading and practice, and are tested annually to maintain their AGS certifications. If you have items for sale or if you have items that need appraising or identification, stop by the shop or give us a call. Regular business hours are Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 – 5:30 pm.