Fake Rolex Tell Tales – Submariner How To Spot a Fake

If you are looking for a genuine Rolex Submariner to buy, please review our Rolex Submariner inventory.

We had a gentleman come in one day to offer a Rolex two tone blue Submariner he had bought mail-order from someone in Florida. Original Rolex boxes and booklets accompanied the watch. Nice touch, it makes you want to let your guard down. This watch is a good counterfeit with most of the markings. When I picked up the watch, something just did not seem right. Here are some of the subtle differences on this fake versus the “Real McCoy”.

Edit: Please note this Rolex 16613 comparison was created in 1999, before the SEL (Solid End Links) were utilized and much before the new Rolex 116613 was introduced.

Had a hint of purple to it. Paint in gold script appeared to have burst bubbles in it when viewed through a 10x loop. Rolex print is always superb, with a convex appearance with no bubbling and sharp corners.

This watch had a gold plated Swiss ETA with the rotor signed. Rolexes’ movement is easily distinguishable from any others by the different colored wheels and the rotor. I was actually expecting to see an original Rolex movement in this knock-off with all the other trouble they went to.

No numbers on end pieces that affix to the head. Numbers on the link closest to the head are “punched” in more crudely than the Rolex. The same goes for the buckle, there is a “sandy” look inside the logo on the inside and in the indentions on the outside. Edges of the fake bracelet are too sharp.

These continue to get better and better on the fakes… scary. Rolex watches have a continuous scratch of each number or letter, one smooth “ditch”. On the fake, the engraver seems to start and stop many times leaving build up in the “ditch” each time.

The inside engraving has that “sandy look”. The outside has a green clear sticker made to resemble an original hologram. If you have ever seen a hologram before, you would know this is not one.

These are all points to look at when purchasing a pre-owned Rolex. The counterfeiters are getting good but having a hard time getting the engraving and punching of script as perfect as Rolex. As seen here in blow-ups, it is often hard to decipher unless you know what to look for. Best advice is to work with someone you know and trust to be knowledgeable in these areas.

Jeff Bernard


BernardWatch always offers a selection of genuine Rolex Submariner watches.

By Jeff Bernard

Jeff Bernard has been dealing Swiss watches since 1990.

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