How To Spot A Fake Rolex

how to spot a fake rolex
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For a very long time, Rolex has been the gold standard for luxury watches, rising to become identified as the largest manufacturer of Swiss made certified watches.

For well over a century, Rolex has been known for its high-end style and matchless elegance. Wearing a Rolex wristwatch is a sure way to draw attention to yourself and give testament to your taste in quality. Despite its reputation as one of the most expensive watches on the planet, Rolex still turns out well over 500,000 watch pieces each year. What that tells you, is that it is a luxury watch in very high demand. 

Of course, with that level of customer demand on Rolex watches, comes the widespread availability of counterfeit Rolex watches from glaringly obvious rip-offs to very high-end counterfeit watches. (Fact: Rolex is the most counterfeited timepiece on the planet). It has now become very difficult to know how to spot a fake Rolex.

These fake Rolex watches are quite ubiquitous and some of them are as close to the originals as they can be, no thanks to the availability of cheap labor and equipment particularly in Asia. 

Many luxury watch enthusiasts will tell you that the only way to be a hundred percent assured that you have an authentic Rolex watch is to visit a Rolex watch expert. This even proves more daunting when you consider that even the most experienced experts might not be well-informed about all the specifications and special features of all Rolex models. One will have to find an expert in specified Rolex models to ascertain the authenticity of the model of a Rolex watch.

Another way to limit the chances of wasting hard-earned money on a fake Rolex watch is to ensure that you buy from the right sources. Verify your merchant and be sure the watch pieces are directly from Rolex. This also implies that buying Rolex watches off the internet, especially from certain e-commerce sites might be a terrible idea.

First off, it is important that you actually see what you are buying. Some e-commerce sites have mastered the art of deceptive photographic presentation of online items. It will be wise not to fall victim. You will be better off going in person to a dealer and getting a feel of the watch yourself.

Later in this article, we will highlight those things you must look out for in order to spot a fake Rolex work and be as sure as you can be, that you have an original item.

Things To Look Out For To Spot A Fake Rolex Watch

Any Rolex enthusiast will tell you that there is a plethora of things to consider to know how to spot a fake Rolex. Yet, some of the finest details escape even the most meticulous watch experts. Nonetheless, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. 

Counterfeiters hardly have the patience, expertise, and resources to pull off these exquisite timepieces, as Rolex itself will do. The key to spotting a fake Rolex watch, is paying attention to details. Here are a few things to look out for:

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Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Rolex watches are very expensive timepieces. There’s hardly any such thing as a bargain price when it comes to Rolex watches. You pay for what you get. A ridiculously cheap Rolex watch is a definite red flag. 

The lowest grade Rolex in the current market is the Oyster Perpetual 30 and it starts around $5500. That should convince you that any ridiculously cheap Rolex will be fake. 

That said, the fact that the price of a watch is high does not automatically confer authenticity. There are very expensive fake Rolex watches. So, spotting a fake Rolex will involve a combination of many other indicators. 

Surface Quality And Finishing

If there is anything Rolex is known for, it is its impeccable quality and surface finish. An authentic Rolex is flawless. If you can spot any flaw in the quality of a ‘Rolex’ watch, it is fake. 

Rolex watches have a clear and perfect mirror finish. The glass cannot be cloudy or misty. In modern Rolex watches, the bracelets should fit properly within the watch case and align perfectly. There should be no looseness or gaps between the bracelets and the watch case. 

However, note that vintage and older Rolex models might have tiny gaps between the bracelets and the casings but new models will not. 

The fonts on the watch face should be crisp and clear. There should be no irregular alignment or bleeding of the printing ink. In some cases, you might need a magnifying loupe to spot this. 

Moving Parts

Consider the feel of the crown of the watch. Pull it out and reinsert it. If it is loose or does not feel firm and ‘solid’, that is a red flag. Test the crown and see how the hands or dates respond. There should be no lagging. It should feel crisp and precise. 

Study the movement of the second hand. In some Rolex watches, the second hand does tick. However, if the Rolex watch in consideration has “Perpetual” written on it, this indicates an automatic movement. The second hand is expected to sweep across rather than tick. If it does tick when it shouldn’t, it is most likely a fake Rolex. 

Material Quality

Rolex watches are typically made of high-quality steel. When a Rolex falls to the ground, the chances of scratches being developed are not high. A Rolex watch whose bracelet is covered in scratches cannot be authentic. 

In cases where other materials are used, such as gold, then they will be made of pure gold. If the gold parts of the watch are scratched, then you should not see an underlying layer of steel. If the scratches on your Rolex watch reveal an underlying layer of steel, it is most likely a fake watch.

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The Cyclops

The Cyclops is a characteristic feature of Rolex watches. It is a magnifying glass portion placed over the date display on the watch. This glass magnifies the actual date font about 2.5 times. If this is not the case on your Rolex watch it is a fake one. This feature is somewhat difficult to replicate by fake watchmakers, so you should look out for it. 

Serial Number

Every Rolex watch comes with a serial number engraved on the sides of the watch casing. The quality of the printing of this number could give it away. It must be clean, crisp and consistent. Any shabby looking serial number most definitely indicates a fake watch. 

More importantly, each individual watch has a unique serial number. So, you can look up the serial number on the internet and get the manufacturing history and specifications of your watch. However, if it comes to light that another watch(es) has that same serial number, the watch is most likely a fake. 

The only way it is not a fake, is if the watch happens to be the one whose serial number was stolen by its counterfeiters. Although, the chances of this happening are low. Rolex guards the serial numbers of its watches jealousy. 


Rolex has an iconic and easily identifiable logo. However, it has been abusively replicated on many fake items. Some careless counterfeiters, however, make mistakes on the logo, nonetheless. 

To spot a fake Rolex watch, look closely at the logo and compare it with an original logo pulled from the internet or a physical one, if possible. Pay attention to its orientation and finishing. 

The logo is the crown jewel of the watch. It must be precise and in pristine condition. There should be no smudges on it or visible imperfection. Even under the examination of a magnifying loupe, the logo must be in pristine shape.

Laser Etching of Rolex Logo

Rolex introduced an authenticity feature on their watches a while back. It laser-etched the logo over the six o’clock position of its watches on the sapphire glass. Examining this is one sure way to determine fakes. 

The logo is laser etched with dots at varying depths into the sapphire glass. This logo is barely visible to the naked eye when one looks straight on at it. It only becomes visible when tilted at a specific angle so that light is allowed to shine through the sides of the etching. 

Some counterfeiters have made the blatant error of inserting the Rolex logo at the six o’clock position, but they make it obvious and visible to the naked eye. That’s a clear red flag. 

Watch Movement

Another way to easily spot a fake Rolex watch is to open the casing and observe the movements in the watch. A lot of effort goes into the finishing of the movement of Rolex watches. Anything that looks shabby within the movement is a clear indicator of a counterfeit piece. 

The font print on the watch movement must be precise and clean. Any misalignment of fonts is another red flag. Look out for color bleeds in the fonts. Any of such indicates a fake watch. 


This could be a bit tricky as Rolex has played around with their fonts over the years. In this case, it is best to compare with an original to determine authenticity. Nonetheless, as already pointed out in the previous point, any irregularity with the fonts indicates a definite fake watch. The spacing and alignment of fonts must be precise and equal. 

Look out for the markings on the watch as well. If you notice any irregularities in spacing between the minute markings, you have a fake watch.

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Comparing An Authentic Rolex Watch With A Fake One

What we have discussed so far are the certain things to look out for in a Rolex watch. However, as earlier said there are high-end counterfeit Rolex watches in the market. These watches can almost never be identified just by mere observation of quality and consistency. Watches such as these, can only be identified through meticulous comparison with a certified original model of the Rolex watch. 

In this section, we discuss things that should be compared between watches when trying to spot a fake Rolex watch. It must be said, however, that this requires a very keen eye for details. Here is a list of seven things to look out for:


Rolex watches are quality tested and quality controlled. This means that the thickness of two watches of the same model cannot differ by up to half of a millimeter. So, in comparison, you should check the thicknesses of the watches. Any discrepancy between the two indicates a fake watch. 

The thickness test is a rather important one. This is because counterfeiters often find it difficult to assemble the movement within the watch casing while maintaining the accurate thickness of the original. It’s clearly a difficult thing to do because, well, they are not Rolex. 


This is probably even more difficult for counterfeiters to get accurately than the watch thickness. The weight of the watch is a function of material size and property. Any fake material used by a counterfeit maker could affect the weight of the watch. 

To do this comparison, it is beneficial to use a highly sensitive chemical weighing balance. You simply can’t go wrong with it. So, do we have to say it? Well, any discrepancy in weight between the tested watch and the original indicates a fake watch. 

Case Back

The case backs of Rolex watches are clear and clean. Any imprint on it, and you know what it is – fake. 


Compare the colors of the watch, the bracelets, the hands, and the case. There should be no difference in brightness and sharpness. The colors should behave the same way in poor and good lighting. 

Also, pay attention to how the colors of the watch reflect the light rays from the sun. When substandard paint is used, for instance, for the hands of the watch, the difference is always clear to see.

Font Prints

Directly compare the font prints on the dial of the watch. Consider the spacing, size of the fonts and alignment. They must be the same. As earlier seen, look out for color bleeds. Inspect the finishing of the prints, it must be of the exact same quality with the original Rolex. The fonts must be clean and crisp. You might need a magnifying loupe or a magnifying glass to clearly spot any differences. 


A feature often ignored by counterfeiters is the river on top of the second hand. You will need a magnifying piece for this. The rivet must be in pristine condition. There should be no scratch and no dent. It should have a solid finish and no indication of fragility band looseness.

Case Interior

If you can, or with the help of a watch expert, open the case of the watches. Compare each feature one after the other. Look out for quality in finishing and sturdiness. Every component must be exact. Every font and character must match the authentic Rolex watch. This implies the alignment and spacing of the fonts must be the same.

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If you will go out of your way to buy a luxury watch with the style and substance of Rolex, then you deserve to get an original piece. While it is true that high-end fake Rolex watches are getting more difficult to spot by the day. We are confident that following every piece of advice we have given will give you a much higher chance of getting that original Rolex type piece. 

If you’re considering getting a Rolex watch and are wondering how much that would cost, click here to read our article — How Is A Rolex?

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