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Fake watchesImitations of brand watches

According to current surveys, roughly 15 percent of the watches offered on the internet are imitations. Among all brands, Rolex is the most requested one: More than 90 percent of the searches on the internet concern imitations of Rolex, followed by Breitling, Cartier, Omega and Tag Heuer. Today there is a well organised, criminal industry behind the imitations, which benefits from the profitable high margin business.

Alarmingly, the imitations are becoming more and more perfect. Complicated three-dimensional logo engravings, engraved serial numbers and model numbers are counterfeited professionally and without problems. To identify an imitation by the poor manufacturing quality is not easy any more. Even three-dimensional dials and special matte surface coatings are not a problem for counterfeiters today. Also writings on uneven surface, applied numerals and luminous dots, frames for display windows etc. are counterfeited perfectly. Furthermore, there is the problem of so called “marriages”. In that process, original components are “mixed” with counterfeited ones. That way, two marriages can be produced out of an original watch and an imitation.

Rolex Plagiat Plagiat Plagiat

Identification of imitation

Today, nobody has to be a victim of counterfeiters any more, for the top brands of the industry protect themselves now against fraud with more and more sophisticated methods. Even for a layperson there are certain features which distinguish an original watch from an imitation:

  • Designer watches are not offered on the streets or on the beach.
  • Numerous labels on the dial or the bracelet, such as logo engravings etc., possibly of poor quality indicate an imitation.
  • Please be careful with tempting low prices.
  • Brand and designer watches usually have manufacturing documents with safety features. Original certificates, original guarantee cards, original package, tags, seals and other accessory were and are NO proof of authenticity of the watch since everything is available separately in blank and original on certain auctions etc.
  • When it is badly packed or when several features of different brands are mixed in one packing then these are evidences of an imitation.
  • German and Swiss brands give their special attention to the “finish” of the components. Poor quality in detail is evidence of an imitation.

Is it a risk to buy a watch in the internet?

If you want to buy a watch on the internet caution is explicitly advised and you should check the offers very carefully. Specifically on the online-platforms such as Ebay, a good deal of the offered watches are imitations. This precisely is the reason why luxury brands forgo the trade on the internet completely and distribute their watches solely through authorized specialist dealers. One positive aspect that should be noted is that there are more and more respectable providers of designer watches on the internet now. These providers normally also have a retail shop and use the internet only as an additional channel of distribution. Also the first manufacturers are beginning to offer their watches in their own online-shop. This trend is going to accelerate in the next years and is definitely the best option for the consumer, since he can be completely sure he will acquire an authentic watch.


Buying a watch, especially a luxury watch is a matter of trust. But even so, you should at least observe the basic safety rules and not be careless and overcredulous due to avarice. If you should have acquired an imitation, or you are not sure, if it is an imitation, we advise you to go to an appraiser or to the police. The trade with imitations is not a trifling offence but fraud.