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Fat_Bibendum

How do you spot a fake?

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Talking with a few colleagues in the office about watches, one of whom has a Tag and another a vintage Breitling.  The guy with the Tag has been chided that his is fake (I think because he bought it on holiday) - all good natured banter but it got me thinking on how, as a newbie, do you spot a fake, especially if buying privately secondhand.

 

:)

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Do a lot of research on the interweb looking at genuine examples.  The smallest details.....literally dotting of i s and crossing of Ts on the face looking for any deviation at all.  As an example I have seen fake Tissots where the T on the crown crosses right over the downstroke, fake.

Buy the buyer, reputation, papers the lot.  If you can handle one in a shop if buying online.

If it seem to be too good to be true, it usually is :)

Look at the movement if in doubt, or get a watchmaker to if possible.

Edited by RWP
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What Rog said^^^

... and check where the serial numbers should be and what they relate to year/model wise. The lume is often a giveaway - poorly applied or not very bright for more than a couple of seconds. 

Edited by relaxer7
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A good guide would be to look at the price ticket.  If it's too cheap, that will be the biggest giveaway :yes:

An alternative is to post a few photos on here, preferably with the case back opened.  Our experts will spot a fake a mile away, and if you send it to them they will even take a hammer to it, free of charge :laugh:

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Buying from a reputable bricks and mortar dealer often lessens the need to check everything and also provides redress if the watch isn't as sold. 

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There's no substitute for experience, handling the real thing all the time means that you get a good feel for what is right or wrong.

As a general rule the quality of fakes is less, the weight can be wrong, they might use split pins instead of screws in the bracelet, a pop on back instead of a screw on one or the printing on the dial may be shoddy.  There is no single thing to look for it could be a combination or in the case of the very best fakes it may be that the only way to be sure requires removal of the back and a good look at the movement.

Watches with gold in them are often the easiest to spot as fakes because an experienced eye easily spots the difference between solid gold and gold plating (especially if its worn)

Familiarity with the model is really the best defence, if you know exactly how it should be you spot it when its wrong...there can be no answer to your question that can give you the x, y and z.

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Can't really add any more to what has already been said above.

When I developed a passion for horology many years ago all I had to to rely on was museums, library's & couple of friendly jewellers.

With the advent of the tinternet & forum's such as this research is so much easier.

You appear to have an enquiring mind & recognize your own limitations....these should serve you well. :thumbsup:

Alan

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2 hours ago, Davey P said:

A good guide would be to look at the price ticket.  If it's too cheap, that will be the biggest giveaway :yes:

An alternative is to post a few photos on here, preferably with the case back opened.  Our experts will spot a fake a mile away, and if you send it to them they will even take a hammer to it, free of charge :laugh:

But make sure the member is not in Europe, countries such as France, Switzerland, etc, can legally destroy fakes/copies without recompense to the owner! :yes:

Alan

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Aren't some fakes pricey and accurate now with even vintage papers reproduced? Scary stuff. Serial numbers are sometimes copied too I believe. :swoon:

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Well, the knack is lot of research in google, own experience,  some knowledge of movements and execution of details, proper markings of the cases or bracelets, and of course - find decent seller you can trust.

Cheers

Dimitar

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4 minutes ago, Nigelp said:

Aren't some fakes pricey and accurate now with even vintage papers reproduced? Scary stuff. Serial numbers are sometimes copied too I believe. :swoon:

 Nigel, you're not wrong. Even a buyer for a well known dealer almost got taken in by a fake Rolex Milguass in my sight . Rolex's random serials don't help either.  

 

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Yes Nigel, they have improved substancially in the last ten years.

Never rely on papers, it is not difficult to get genuine but blank papers or suply real papers with a fake watch.

 Paperwork is nice purely to give imformation on the age of the watch so it might add a small amount of value (£50-£100 IMO) but its no gauruntee of authenticity.

 

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Be very wary of any cheap Tissot watches - ebay for example seems to have almost as many fakes as genuine watches - and they are incredibly hard to spot unless the watch is in your hand (and even then not that simple).

I was bitten once buying a PRS516 Automatic (luckily I got a full refund), but even fairly high-res photographs didn't help - it came down to not being happy with the strap, the subtle mis-spacing of the model number on the dial and the colour and paint used for the second-hand - it even had a display back on the case and what appeared to be a genuine movement (but apparently the Chinese are even adept at expert copies of movements) - another well-known forum (which I won't name for fear of upsetting the mods) has a thread with 71 pages of 'How to spot a fake Tissot' so you can tell how hard it can be (and how prevalent they are)......

 

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I think by now some members may have gathered my penchant for Blancpain.

As such, when I come across their vintage pieces I seek their analysis and authenticity.

Before sending them off I post detailed images to a senior watcmaker at Le Brassus (now friend) and seek prior assessment.

Below is an image of one I received back this week along with documents of analysis & authenticity.

large.IMG_1872.JPG

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12 minutes ago, scottswatches said:

Frankens are often harder to spot than fakes.  Case back from this watch, movement from that, dial from another.  Seiko's seem to be the worst for this

I've seen a couple of Rolex used parts rebuilds, and nearly bought a vintage Tudor Ranger that was made up out of an amalgam of parts. The two Rolex were for sale in pawn shops, and the Ranger was in a dealer of good reputation. 

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Do a lot of research on the interweb looking at genuine examples.  The smallest details.....literally dotting of i s and crossing of Ts on the face looking for any deviation at all.  As an example I have seen fake Tissots where the T on the crown crosses right over the downstroke, fake.
Buy the buyer, reputation, papers the lot.  If you can handle one in a shop if buying online.
If it seem to be too good to be true, it usually is 
Look at the movement if in doubt, or get a watchmaker to if possible.


So true the number of fake Tissot prc 200 on eBay is huge and they are pretty good except the paint isn't quite right


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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The PRC 200 is one of the most faked watches. As someone else said buy from an AD.  You will get ten percent off and you won't get a genuine one cheaper, ask for mangers discretion.

Genuine PRC 200

25556464960_9ec33fc367_b.jpg

 Something to compare with BUT there are genuine PRC 200 s with sleeves on the Chrono buttons.  The face is as you see. :)

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On ‎14‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 15:19, Karrusel said:

You appear to have an enquiring mind & recognize your own limitations....these should serve you well. :thumbsup:

Alan

Normally I'm quite laissez faire with things but if I get into something I have a habit of throwing myself in completely.  That said, I do recognise this is an area where I could get properly fleeced.

A friend in the office has said that buying a timepiece isn't just about exchanging money for a watch, it's more about the journey you take to decide on the correct one.  I guess learning to spot fakes and Frankens is part of that journey and the more a read the more I learn with yet more questions to answer.  It's good fun thus far and I'm till undecided on my first significant purchase (despite my comment in my other thread). :)

On ‎14‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 15:45, scottswatches said:

Frankens are often harder to spot than fakes.  Case back from this watch, movement from that, dial from another.  Seiko's seem to be the worst for this

Hadn't even thought about Frankens.  So much to learn. :D

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After being stung buying a Hamilton Khaki on ebay (got a refund BTW)  I had a quick search for other used ones and they all appear fake to me.  How do they get away with it?  Think how many are now in circulation.

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i bought a rolex sub from a car boot sale for £2,didnt really look at it just shook it and it worked.i took it home and started looking at it and started to get excited as the build quality was superb.managed to get case back off with a rubber ball.the movement rotor was beautifully etched with the rolex logo!.at this point i got my loupe out and had a good look at the movement,turns out it was an ETA 2824-2 or a clone of one.all in all this fake was a very good quality watch,this frightened the hell out of me,it had none of the telltale marks of a fake.if it hadnt got rolex on the dial i would have been dead chuffed  and worn it with pride.as it was i gave it to a builder friend to use as a beater.needless to say when i decided to buy my sub c i went to my local AD.....if this post breaks any forum rules,Roy please delete it and accept my apologies...

Edited by greasemonk

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13 hours ago, Migzy said:

After being stung buying a Hamilton Khaki on ebay (got a refund BTW)  I had a quick search for other used ones and they all appear fake to me.  How do they get away with it?  Think how many are now in circulation.

:(  I was tempted by this Hamilton on eBay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/272477856173?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

3 hours ago, greasemonk said:

i bought a rolex sub from a car boot sale for £2,didnt really look at it just shook it and it worked.i took it home and started looking at it and started to get excited as the build quality was superb.managed to get case back off with a rubber ball.the movement rotor was beautifully etched with the rolex logo!.at this point i got my loupe out and had a good look at the movement,turns out it was an ETA 2824-2 or a clone of one.all in all this fake was a very good quality watch,this frightened the hell out of me,it had none of the telltale marks of a fake.if it hadnt got rolex on the dial i would have been dead chuffed  and worn it with pride.as it was i gave it to a builder friend to use as a beater.needless to say when i decided to buy my sub c i went to my local AD.....if this post breaks any forum rules,Roy please delete it and accept my apologies...

Guess I should start learning about all the different movements too. :)

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31 minutes ago, Fat_Bibendum said:

:(  I was tempted by this Hamilton on eBay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/272477856173?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Guess I should start learning about all the different movements too. :)

I would say this one looks pretty good. Regulator looks good. I would for more photos of the movement. 

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On 14/12/2016 at 15:57, Karrusel said:

 

I think by now some members may have gathered my penchant for Blancpain.

As such, when I come across their vintage pieces I seek their analysis and authenticity.

Before sending them off I post detailed images to a senior watcmaker at Le Brassus (now friend) and seek prior assessment.

Below is an image of one I received back this week along with documents of analysis & authenticity.

large.IMG_1872.JPG

Lovely. 

As an aside...why are there so many vintage Oris on the bay with repainted dials, if i'm not wrong? And they seem to be the main offender?

I'm not saying it is - and google image at random and all that. But this sort of thing. The bright colourful and pristine 50 year old watch. :huh:

Image result for vintage oris watches

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In my opinion to work out if a watch is fake, immerse yourself in a 'Lovejoy' moment. Do a ton of Internet research then hold the watch and simply look at it. Consider its price point and check the fit and finish of the watch. Then ask yourself the question and trust your instincts.

Edited by Bling9er

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