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Photos show the difference between real and fake Rolex watches



william may rolex thumbWilliam

  • 70% of Brits can’t tell the difference between a real and
    fake Rolex, according to a new survey by jeweller William May.
  • The jeweller shared the six things to look out for when
    spotting a genuine timepiece.

Rolex watches make for a pretty good investment, as both vintage
and pre-owned watches continue to rise in value.

In October 2017, Paul Newman’s Rolex
Daytona sold for a record-breaking $17.8 million (£13.6
at Phillips Auction House in New York, becoming the
most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction.

However, the majority of Brits surveyed by vintage jewellery
specialists William May can’t tell the difference between a fake
Rolex and a genuine Swiss timepiece. This is a problem because
Rolex is also one of the most counterfeited brands in the world.

William May asked 1,000 people in the
UK to determine which watch was real out of two images below —
one showing a fake model and one showing a real Rolex. Only 30%
guessed correctly.

Which is real?

Image A:

Real rolex william may 1William

Image B:

Fake rolex william mayWilliam

Now compare them both. Which one do you think is

william may rolex wideWilliam

If you answered Image A, you are correct — and you’re
among the 30% of the British population who can spot the

For those of us who struggled to identify which one was genuine,
William May says there are six things you should look out for in
the future:

1. The magnification

The fine workings of a Rolex mean that the date has to be small
for everything to work perfectly, according to William May. To
compensate for this, a cyclops window, or magnifier, is added to
make the date more visible.

“On all Rolex models the magnification is 2.5X and the date
really jumps out at you,” William May said. “On fakes this is
often set to just 1.5X, so the date is harder to see.”

2. The weight

If it feels light, it isn’t right.

“Fake Rolex watches are generally lighter, whereas a real Rolex
is made of high-quality metals, and will weigh significantly
more,” William May said.

3. The water test

If the watch is dipped into water for a few seconds, it will not
leak water into its dial, according to William May, who said that
all Rolex watches are 100% watertight, while many counterfeit
watches are not.

“Rolex Submariner timepieces are the only watches designed for
deep sea diving, but all models are waterproof and perfectly
sealed,” according to the jeweller.

4. The writing

Everything on a Rolex is made to perfection, and if you take a
magnifying glass and examine all the lettering on the dial,
you’ll be able to spot a fake if there are any imperfections.

According to William May: “The writing should be convex and there
should be no bubbling.”

5. The case back

If the case back is made out of glass, plastic, or crystal so you
can see the inner workings of the watch, it’s most likely a fake,
according to the jeweller.

“There are two extremely rare Rolex models from the 1930s that
have case backs made of glass. And no more. If you are buying a
relatively modern Rolex with a clear case back it is a fake. You
can also check for engravings — Rolex does not engrave anything
on the case back’s exterior, but it does on the interior.”

6. The tick

If you hear a loud tick from the watch, you’ve got a fake on your

“Counterfeiters can’t often perfect the precision gears of a
Rolex and a ticking noise is the tell-tale sign of this.”

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