Quill & Pad’s 6 Ways to Spot A Fake Watch

Quill & Pad, a notable online resource for journalism on fine timepieces published an article with some advice on spotting a fake watch. Gathering some additional tips and tricks from across the web, we offer a summary of their 6 ways to spot a fake, and add our own advice on buying and selling a pre-owned watch and not getting tricked!

1. It was a gift.

IWC Schaffhausen Mark XV

We sometimes get customers who come in to sell a gift, but they have the box, papers, and maybe even the receipt, and everything goes smoothly. Items with no box, no papers, no history of where it came from, or from little known acquaintances or relatives are most frequently replicas.

However, valuable watches are commonly given to dear loved ones, one of our favorite being a wedding gift or anniversary gift. As an old saying goes, watches are given to loved ones to represent time spent together. Always keep the original box and papers that come with your watch! We do have watches that don’t have their box or papers, however we have to take extra measures to ensure the quality and to re-sell those items.

2. You got the deal of a lifetime.

Image from Watchreport.co: it is true that replicas are often spotted because something looks... "off". Nothing too obvious, but it looks different than how you feel it should. Checking the color of the hands is a big way to tell if a piece is a replica or has been altered.
Image from Watchreport.co: it is true that replicas are often spotted because something looks… “off”. Your gut says something is wrong. It looks cheaper (gold plated, different finish, wrong materials) or weighs too little (different material or movement inside). Checking the color of the hands is a good way to tell if a piece is a replica or has been altered.

If it looks odd then find out why. If it feels lighter than it should, take a look at the movement. There are many dead giveaways that you might be able to spot just by instinct.

3. Unnecessary indications and functionless push pieces.

Image from Quill & Pad: Note the excessive descriptors, the “CQSMQGRAPH” spelling, and that it doesn’t look like a Daytona at all…

Luxury watch brands usually don’t feel the need to push the sales of their watches by obviously stating on the face, terms like “certified” “minutes” etc. So be sure to check online and know what the face of the watch you are buy should look like.

Also check the spelling! Replicas are often made in other countries and often they cannot be bothered to spell check!

4. Trust your Dealer

2003 Rolex Lady's Mid Size Stainless Steel DateJust

Remember that for high end purchase, you are also “buying the seller”. You have to trust and essentially ‘buy’ the seller of the watch, if you do not trust the seller, then you should be in doubt about the item as well.  If he deals with a lot of high end items, has a good rapport and client referrals, it is more likely that you can be at ease.

Look at our yelp reviews and the items we have for sale- we have many high-end items and many happy customers. We ensure you’ll feel comfortable with purchasing, or selling, with us!

5. Rust and Scratches

Image from JCR. "But its light weight made the watchmaker suspicious. Then he noticed some quality issues that suggested deception. Upon opening the watch, he found that the movement was not by Patek - and that everything else with the Patek Philippe name on it was also counterfeit. The skeleton case back had been specially made to conceal areas that would indicate fake parts."
Image from JCR. “But its light weight made the watchmaker suspicious. Then he noticed some quality issues that suggested deception. Upon opening the watch, he found that the movement was not by Patek – and that everything else with the Patek Philippe name on it was also counterfeit. The skeleton case back had been specially made to conceal areas that would indicate fake parts.”

Luxury watches utilize proper assembly and high quality materials, if it looks cheap, it probably is.

6. Too unique?

If you are looking at piece you’ve never seen before, heard of, and is touted at “unique” be wary – perhaps you’ve never seen it because it shouldn’t exist! Talk to your retailer, check the brand’s website, find any information to prove that this item is indeed what it says it is.


This watch looks like a Rolex replica- but it is heavy solid gold and decorated with real diamonds and rubies- still quite valuable and gorgeous.

Borris from exitwatch24.com added into the comments on Quill & Pad’s article that many fakes today are very good and can fool a trained eye. “I have seen aftermarket 18k gold watches made of real gold,” Borris writes. Some replicas are indeed made of real quality materials and assembly, although it is not the brand that it looks to be.

Be sure to read the fine print, words like “style” “inspired” and “similar to” in listings are so that you can find a similar style, not the real thing. A real Rolex made of solid gold and diamonds would probably sell for much much more than this unknown brand watch, but it still made of real gold and diamonds.

The biggest take-away from Quill & Pad’s article that we think you should note is

Trust Your Dealer


Be sure to look at our shop and see what items we have in inventory!

https://www.hawaiijewelrybuyers.com/product-category/luxury-watches/