How to Spot a Fake / Counterfeit Rolex watch – Top 10 Ways

October 20, 2011.  Imitation – they say – is the highest form of flattery.  Nowhere is that more true than in the luxury watch business, especially watch brands like Rolex.  Being one of the best Rolex watch repair shops in New York, NY, I have occasion to see many fake or counterfeit Rolexes as well as to advise my customers on how best to spot a fake or counterfeit Rolex before they buy.  Buying a knock-off Rolex is one thing (if you know that is what you are doing); buying a fake or counterfeit Rolex (and thinking it’s a genuine Rolex) is another.  Buying from an authorized Rolex dealer is your best bet.  But what if you inherited a Rolex, or were given one?

Here is my blog post with my Top Ten Ways to Identify a Fake or Counterfeit Rolex watch.


A customer of mine travels overseas and he sometime brings me counterfeit Rolex watches. Some of them are so good that the only way to tell if it is real or not is to open them up and see what movement is in them. It is usually an ETA 2824 or Chinese ETA 7750.  (For more information on counterfeit Rolex watches you can refer to The Rolex Report, An Unauthorized Reference Book for the Rolex Enthusiast (

Here are my Top Ten ways to tell if your Rolex is counterfeit of not.  Even better, contact me about your Rolex watch repair in New York, NY, and I can help you repair or select a genuine Rolex watch.  Nothing speaks luxury like a genuine Rolex!

Top Ten Ways to Identify a Fake Rolex

  1. Open up the watch, if it’s a Swiss ETA, Quartz or Chinese movement then it’s not a genuine Rolex watch.
  2. If it is a snap open back, it’s fake.  Rolex does not use this.
  3. If the watch is gold plated, it’s fake.  Rolex never made a gold plated watch.
  4. Clear case backs. Rolex never made these. There were only 2 produced and they were both vintage models from the 1930’s
  5. Date bubble, or “Cyclops” attached to the crystal, positioned over the date. Its purpose is to magnify the tiny aperture and does so at 2.5 times magnification On counterfeit models the date magnification is more like 1.5 times.
  6. Engraved case backs; on Genuine Rolex models they will have a “smooth” case back, and are free engravings.
  7. The hologram Sticker on Genuine Rolex models are a Hologram-encoded (3-dimensional) sticker on the case back. Counterfeit stickers are not holograms at all, but rather simply a repetitious “Rolex” pattern, which does not change in appearance when viewed from different angles.
  8. Case Reference numbers The engraving between the lugs of a genuine Rolex feature very fine lines, which actually catch the light similar to that of a diamond cut edge. However, (some) counterfeits will feature a sandy (acid) etched appearance, the spacing on these numbers is often too close together. Also counterfeiters use the same numbers on the watches.
  9. Triple Lock Crown. On a real Rolex the black o-ring gasket can be visible when the crown is open, on some counterfeits it will be merely cosmetic non functional
  10. Micro Etched Crystal In 2002, Rolex has started micro etching a tiny “coronet” (or crown) logo into the crystal, at the 6 o’clock position. The difference between the real and the fake is the balls on the tip of the counterfeit crown are too small.

Rolex Watch Repair in New York City

I service Rolex watches in New York, NY.  So if you have a Rolex and want it repaired, let me know.  If you are reading this from outside New York City but have a Rolex that needs repairing, I can help.  I can also help advise on how to buy a genuine Rolex or how to tell if that Rolex you inherited from Grandma  or Grandpa is a real Rolex or a fake / counterfeit Rolex. – Ron Gordon

Ron Gordon, Master Watchmaker

About Ron Gordon Watch Repair

Ron Gordon Watch Repair is located at 280 Madison Ave, Ste. 510, New York, NY 10016.  We provide watch repair services throughout New York City, Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan, Downtown and the boroughs of New York, NY. Read our Google Places, Insider Pages, and City Search Reviews, online.