How to Authenticate a Rolex: Part 1

Rolex Authentication Tips

Rolex is the brand that should be available in every watch enthusiast’s collection. It is the first watch a successful manager should acquire; it is prestigious, classic yet fresh, recognizable, and has an excellent resale value. Carrying a Rolex on your wrist isn’t simply wearing an iconic timepiece… it emits rays of success, opulence, and seriousness.

The traveler in you will come along fake Rolex watches being sold at both high and low prices, depending on the level of detail put into developing the inauthentic pieces. A true Rolex is always worth a great deal, and a cheap Rolex is only a fake one, whether it’s being sold for “emergency reasons” or it’s a “great deal”.

In Part 1 of the Rolex Authentication posts, I will give you some tips to check out the authenticity of a Rolex without even looking at the dial. We will take a closer look at the small details of authentic watches: the back case, interior, lugs, bracelet, and the mechanism.

When you disassemble a Rolex and open the back case, you will notice the following differences between fake and authentic watches:

 

1- Back Case Cover

A real Rolex has a blank back case cover, while fakes can hold a stamped, embossed, or engraved logo or other pieces of writing, such as “Made in Switzerland”.

1 - Original IMG_0005 copy copy1 - Fake IMG_0003 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2- Inside of the Back Case Cover

A real Rolex has engraved on the internal side of the case cover; it is usually in the following order, as you can see on the photo:

Rolex (engraved)

Geneva (engraved)

Switzerland (engraved)

Case Material (stamped)

Rolex Logo (engraved)

Case Model # (engraved)

After “Switzerland”, the case material is written, and can be, as seen in this case, stainless steel. Engraved below the material are the logo and the model number. Any Rolex missing one or more of these attributes or features a different type of writing (engraved or stamped), then there is a high possibility that it is a fake.

2 - Original IMG_0004 copy copy

2 - Fake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3- The Lugs

Between the lugs at 6:00 o’clock, you can clearly see engraved Original (or Orig.) Rolex Design and the model number. In the fake ones, however, there is usually no engraving, a wrong model number, or a different font.

3 - Original Final

3 - Fake IMG_0023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4- Embossed Crown

The crown in an original Rolex is just right in size, not too big and too small. The embossed design the crown is clear with correct detailing at the edges and a uniform height, followed by a line under the crown.

On the other hand, a fake features a crown with a much lower quality, with lack of symmetry, inaccurate embossing, and with three dots below the crown instead of a line.

4 - Original IMG_0024 4 - Fake IMG_0022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5- Bracelet Link

The link that joins the bracelet to the lugs should be robust and strong with clear-cut edges to fit perfectly with the case.

However, as you can see in the photo, a fake would be less sturdy, having feeble steel edges that are a bit wider than the bracelet. This is done in order to provide them with more space for inaccuracy when designing the link size, resulting with bracelets that would fit into the lugs whether they are a bit bigger or smaller than originally intended. This makes the link fragile and weak.

5 - Original IMG_00135 - Fake IMG_0009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6- The Clasp

The clasp in an original Rolex usually has a laser-engraved Rolex logo, ensuring that the logo is done at the same level and at the utmost quality. Other engravings include “Steelinox”, “Geneva”, “Swiss Made”, “Rolex SA”, and a Crown embossed on the outer side of the clasp with high quality details. The crown has high detail, a unique color, and high quality of embossing.

On the other hand, the fake Rolex clasp usually has an embossed Rolex logo on 2 sides instead of on one only. It also has a stamped “Steelinox”, “Rolex SA”, and “Swiss Made”. The embossed crown is also at a lower quality, with a fading color, different detail, and no symmetry. This also has visible holes that are not cut properly to a just size.

6 - 1 Original IMG_00166 - 1 Fake IMG_00106 - 2 Original IMG_00176 - 2 Fake IMG_00116 - 3 Original IMG_00186 - 3 Fake IMG_0012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7- Internal Movement

The movement is without a doubt the biggest difference. The original movement must first have a movement calibre that is specific to the model, a rotor clear of any markings. It has window openings in the rotor that fit exactly to the gold engraving underneath it to show Rolex and Geneve Swiss while turning. The rotor is joined to the movement by a turning link, rather than a screw. There are specified gold- and red-plated gears to each calibre, and the overall movement is free of scratches that can result from the use of the watch or the rotation of the rotor.

Meanwhile, the fake have very low quality mechanism and even grade “A” fakes can be differentiated from the original. They lack the special high quality windows that provide a view of the engravings, as they are usually placed on the outside rather than under the rotor, and are usually not gold-engraved. Their calibres have random numbers that are not designed for corresponding models. They sometimes lack the plated gears and leave friction marks on the internal parts of the watch over time, which negatively affects the watch’s precision.

7 - Original IMG_0020 copy7 - Fake IMG_0019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Those are details that can uncover fake Rolex watches even without looking at the dial, we will discuss printing, bezel and dial details, sapphire and inner engraving on a future blog.

See you then!

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