Experts share tips to tell a fake watch from a real one

Look for the cost, accuracy of movement and finer details of the watch
Last Updated 21 September 2022, 02:17 IST

Recently, Central Crime Branch officials arrested a vendor selling fakes of watches from international brands, in the city. Watches worth Rs 4.32 crore were seized. In light of this incident, Metrolife quizzed watch experts on how one can identify a real branded watch from a fake one.

The Bengaluru market has fakes of brands, varying from Titan to Rolex. Many counterfeit products don’t even compromise on the style or feel of the original. Then, how can one differentiate?

Start with the prices. “If the price is too good to be true, then it is not true,” says Vikram Narula, founder and CEO of Ajwain Watches, a premium watch brand. One must also focus on the finer and small parts of the watch. A professional watch made by a high-end brand, charges money for the perfection they provide.

“With these brands everything is precise — the typeface, statement shape and straps don’t change. They also include crisp, high quality lettering,” explains Narula. The dial of the watch is an easy giveaway in counterfeits, points out Nirupesh Joshi, co-founder of Bangalore Watch Company. “Most often, the printing of the manufacturer is not clean, there will be dust under the top crystal, and minor misalignment of text or applied indices. Sometimes, there may be an intentional misspelling. Like, instead of ‘Rolex’, some fakes carry spellings like ‘Rotex’ or ‘Rodex’,” he says.

However, there are also high-quality fakes that are hard to tell apart, he adds. Alignment is another thing to look at. “An original will always be precisely aligned, the index will be exactly at 12, not a minute before or after, while a duplicate will be misaligned,” adds Narula. The lume behind the index is also always precisely round and perfect.

The watch’s movement is another important aspect to check. Victor Solomon, service head at Swiss Watch Company, located in Malleswaram, says, “Fake watches will most likely use quartz movement, which is a battery-powered movement. Real watches use automatic movement, which means they wind themselves automatically from the movement of the needle.”

The top of a fake will likely be covered with glass, which easily gets scratches and becomes hazy.

“Original watches use sapphire crystal on the top. As far as testing this, just put a drop of water on it. If it’s an original the drop will not flow easily and will retain its round shape, even when you tilt the watch slightly, whereas on mineral glass the drop will scatter,” says Narula.

About logos on watches, Narula points out that in an original, the logo is always engraved.

“It is never a sticker.” Joshi adds, “Check for manufacturer’s logo in small places that are easily missed — like a signed crown and on the buckles. Most fakes don’t carry a logo on the buckle and crown.”

Many counterfeiters duplicate the box, warranty and papers too. To avoid falling for these dupes, “Do your homework, study the original dial and its small nuances. “Take references, and go to an authorised dealer only. Get it vetted by an expert who could check, certify and assure that it is a genuine watch,” advises Narula.

(Published 20 September 2022, 19:06 IST)

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