3 Steps to Authenticating A Cartier Santos Watch

He asked her what she desired most. ‘Cartier’, she answered with a smile that said ‘what else could it be?’

The timeless house of Cartier, founded in Paris in 1847, is one of the brands that defines class and style.

Being a big name in luxury however, came at a price for Cartier. The house has one of the highest rates of counterfeited products. For Cartier watches, some counterfeits are easy to detect, others require a close inspection of the movement while lastly, A grade counterfeits can only be detected by experienced watch specialists.

Recently I had on hand a fake Cartier Santos which was more or less easy to detect. I will share with you three authentication steps that will allow you to detect whether your watch is the real deal or not.

Step 1: The Front 

First we need to start with the visible parts such as the front and dial.

Cartier Santos Watch

At first glance it is a normal Cartier watch with a well-polished bezel and a brush finish stainless steel bracelet. It comes with all the classic Cartier details: screws, blue indicators, the Cartier inscription, the blue gem on the crown, Roman numerals and a dial decorated by a symmetric ‘Guillochage’.

Fake Cartier Santos Picture

  But when we take a closer look with a x10 magnifying glass, we can see that some details are not particular to Cartier.

Just look beyond the scratches that are totally justified as it is a used watch, you will see that the screw designs are random and that each screw is different and this is definitely not a Cartier characteristic. In the same image you will see the edge of the dial plate and this is also not common in a Cartier watch. Remember that some fake watches come with high quality manufacturing to cover amateur mistakes.

Fake Cartier Santos Picture 3

Although some details are easy to cover, other details are tricky, like the Cartier X at 10 o’clock visible with a x10 magnifier. In this particular watch you can see that if you look directly at the face, the ‘Swiss Made’ mark is almost not visible.  When looked at from another angle you can see that the letters are printed in very low quality with a difference in the font of the letter “S”. On a genuine Cartier both letters are usually very clear and the quality of the printing is much higher.

Step 2: The Back

Let us move on to the back of the watch. If we look closely, we will detect some anomalies in the printing, and you do not need to be an expert to say ‘Hey something is wrong here!’

Fake Cartier Santos Picture 4 Authentic Cartier Santos Picture

On the left you will find the fake watch, whereas the right image shows an authentic Cartier timepiece.

So let’s start with what is identical. “SWISS MADE” is well printed, the Cartier logo is almost the same although the ‘C’ on the left watch is slightly lower than the rest of the letters. What gives the watch away is first, the “Sanlos” typo instead of “Santos” and second, the uneven letters of the word “Sanlos”. You can draw a line under taking the first and last S in “Sanlos” and you will see the low quality engraving.

Step 3: The Movement 

Finally after inspecting the watch front and back it is time to open the watch and check out the movement within; it is a quartz movement so the person making the counterfeit might even be able to buy an original movement but the tricky part would be fitting it correctly and engraving it.

Cartier Santos Movement


On the left picture we have the fake movement and on the right the genuine one. This is it is where even the best fakes would get revealed. The real movement is well fitted in the case while the fake one does not. There are clear Cartier markings on the original while the fake shows different markings. You can also notice that the wires in the fake watch are lightly coated while on the right they are well coated to prevent erosion. The original movement has jewels that help in preventing wear on the moving parts while the fake has none.

It might sound appealing when someone comes to you and says ‘hey I have a Cartier inventory stock, the watches are at 90% of the original price’ but always remember to be careful and ask a professional to make sure of the authenticity before committing. On the other hand, you can always rely on The Luxury Closet to make all your authentic discounted Cartier Purchases!


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