The NY Watch Market team presents to your attention a detailed checklist on how to distinguish an original watch model from a fake and not fall into the hands of scammers. After reading our article, you will be able to buy any wristwatch without fear of running into a fake.
Fake, duplicate and replica – finding out the differences
First, let’s define the basic concepts:
- • A fake (class A or AA) is a cheap and low-quality copy of an original watch, produced from low-grade materials in factories with a dubious reputation;
• A replica (AAA class) is an almost exact copy of the original watch, but only on the outside: it completely replicates the appearance and functionality of the original, but the watch mechanism itself is often much cheaper.
• A duplicate (class AAA+) is a complete copy of the original watch, starting from the case and ending with the position of each small gear in the mechanism, its cost is equal to the price of the original. A duplicate can be made only if the original model is available and with the consent of the watch owner (by individual order of a wealthy buyer or collector);
Original high-quality replicas are created by watchmakers who have undergone training in Swiss production. Most often at the enterprises of the Belgian or Hong Kong Watch Partnership. Duplicates are produced exclusively in private workshops in the Schaffhausen region (Switzerland) by highly qualified craftsmen engaged in the production of leading brands.
Important! To summarize: duplicates are equivalent to the originals, they can be made to special order (for example, to insure the original against theft or damage) and cannot be bought in a regular store. A replica is a quality product for the masses of the population, but it is not recommended for anyone to purchase a fake.
Types of fake watches
There are two main types of fake watches:
- 1. Rough copies – these can be identified at first glance. Most often they are produced in China, at a factory where everything is put into production. On their dial you can notice numbers and indices of different sizes, a lack of engraving, the coating on the case on such watches begins to peel off after just a few days of wear, and the mechanism fails after a couple of months;
2. “High-quality” fakes are a little more difficult to identify. The best option would be to compare such a fake with the original, having it in hand: compare the quality of the case coating, the clarity of the indices, the size of the hands, the type of mechanism and the appearance of the strap.
Important! No watch brand is 100% protected from counterfeiting. All types of watches are copied, expensive ones – more often and a little better, budget brands generally do not try to copy with maximum accuracy. This hits very hard not only on the buyer’s wallet, but also on the image of watch houses with a long history.
Detecting counterfeit watches: main rules
We invite you to read the detailed instructions that will help you distinguish a fake watch from an original:
Check out the inscriptions on the dial
All inscriptions and symbols on the dial must be engraved, easily readable, and clear. In fakes, relief elements are often simply painted on with regular paint, sometimes with the addition of shadows for volume. Hour and minute indexes should also be bright, prominent, with the same distance between them;
Study the case material
Original watches most often use stainless steel or high-quality polymer (in sports models) . The manufacturer required to indicate this in the specifications. The steel case has a noticeable weight; if the watch is too light, it is most likely a fake. The polymer case should not have an unpleasant smell – a pungent odor is produced by cheap rubber from a low-quality copy;
Rate the strap
For an original watch with a leather strap, the stitching on the product will be even, the same color, without protruding threads or knots. The metal bracelet should be even, smooth to the touch, without scratches, nicks, irregularities or bubbles. Also, pay attention to the clasp: some original brand manufacturers put their brand logo on it;
Evaluate the quality of glass
In fakes, the manufacturer can replace sapphire glass with mineral or even simple plastic. Unfortunately, it is impossible to visually distinguish sapphire glass from mineral glass. Since the latter is often used in the production of budget brands. But the absence of an anti-reflective coating is very easy to notice – it makes the watch look as if there is no glass on it at all;
Examine the back of the watch
The back cover of the original indicates the country of origin, logo, article number, reference (model name in the form of letters and numbers, the same as the name on the tag), type of mechanism, water resistance and other parameters;
Check the functionality of the mechanism
In fakes, very often all the declared functions are just for decoration and a big name, and do not really work. Before purchasing, be sure to read all the additional characteristics of the watch and check its operation;
Availability of original packaging and warranty card
All original models are in branded packaging, equipped with standardized instructions and an international warranty card of the established type. If you are missing some item, it is likely that this is a fake;
Compare the official price and the price in several watch stores
There is the concept of a recommended retail price set by the manufacturer. It denotes a single cost per model throughout the world and may differ only taking into account the peculiarities of the taxation system in a particular country.
Of course, we all always strive to find the best deal, but if the price is much lower than the market price, think about it: you may have a defect, a fake or a smuggled product. In the latter case, you will receive the original, but without a receipt and warranty card – if something happens to the watch, the service center will not accept it;
Chat with the seller about the watch
In official retail outlets, sellers have as much information as possible about their product – ask them about the type of mechanism in the watch, ask about the set of attached documents and the warranty receipt. Also find out about the location of the nearest official service centers and in what cases the watch is not subject to warranty service. If they cannot or do not want to answer you, it is better not to buy the product.
How to spot a fake: shortlist of popular brands
Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you distinguish an original from fake using popular brands as an example:
Casio – take a look at the warranty card. At the moment, Casio provides a minimum 2-year warranty and confirms this with a proprietary hologram. Another way is to check the model number with the manufacturer’s official catalogue;
Casio G-Shock – check the module. It must be affixed to the box, tag and back cover of the watch. Displayed in the secret menu (it opens by pressing three buttons simultaneously).
Tissot – look for the Swiss Made inscription, which should be at the bottom of the dial. And at the top of the dial there is always the Tissot 1853 brand logo. The same inscriptions should also be on the back cover of the watch;
Frederique Constant – these watches have special indicators that are visible only under ultraviolet light;
Armani Exchange – This watch has a protective film for transport with a red stripe on the back, an eagle engraved on the crown, and the model serial number on the back of the case.
Guess – inside this watch there is a Japanese Miyota movement, as evidenced by the Japan Movt inscription on the back of the case;
Fossil watches always have a protective film covering the glass, case and bracelet.
Why you shouldn’t buy a fake
The miser pays twice – fake watches quickly fail and lose their attractive appearance; their case and strap may contain hazardous and allergenic alloys of lead, nickel, zinc, and so on. In addition, owning such a watch simply does not bring any satisfaction to the owner – after all, he knows that they are not real, and wearing a fake accessory is a sign of poor taste and illegibility.
A short checklist for checking a watch before purchasing
Let’s summarize all of the above and highlight the key points that you need to consider before buying a wristwatch:
1. Inspect the watch dial, all marks, divisions, hands and other symbols;
2. Inspect and feel the strap or bracelet;
3. Inspect the glass, check its surface;
4. Study the model information on the back of the watch;
5. Familiarize yourself with and check the functionality of all watch functions;
6. Ask the seller to show you the packaging, documents and warranty card, they must be real;
7. Talk to the seller about the watch and its warranty service.
Important! Buy wristwatches only in official stores from certified brand representatives – this way you will definitely protect yourself from buying a fake, save money and nerves, and the new accessory will bring you only positive emotions. NY Watch Market is an authorized dealer and direct supplier of wristwatches from the world’s largest brands, operating for more than 10 years and having an excellent reputation. We value our customers and provide them only with the highest quality accessories. All our products are certified and have a manufacturer’s.