Luxury watches are highly coveted status symbols. It’s no surprise that the market is flooded with convincing fakes. There are a few easy tricks to telling a fake watch from real designer watches. Some helpful tricks include checking for typos, listening for ticking, and checking for the proper stamps. However, some high-quality fake watches are so well done, you may have to see a professional appraiser. Even if you examine these watches carefully, it may be hard to find some differences between a genuine model and a high-quality fake. Here are a few tell tale signs a watch is fake you did not buy from AN official retailer

While buying from an authorized retailer is not a sure proof that your watch is the real thing, it is the safest way to guarantee the authenticity of the product. Authorized retailers not only get their products directly from the brand/manufacturer they provide after sales service and honor warrantees even when the product is not from their store provided its authentic. This is even more important today with the advent of online shopping (some studies have shown that more than 50% of online luxury watch shops sell fakes). While online stores offer convenience, you should take extreme care in buying online and for products more than $5000 it is strongly recommended to buy from a physical retailer. Remember that an official retailer not only offers the product but a luxury buying experience.


Yes, as the saying goes, anything that is too good to be true probably is. So you find a Patek Phillipe at a local watch/jewelry store and its going for N300,000!. Seems like a lot but, yes its fake. An average Patek Phillipe will set you back no less than $18,000, do the math yourself. I have had people who say “why pay so much money when you can get the replica for less?” I say why waste so much money on what is not the real thing? If you’re on a budget, there are brands that have great time pieces with good quality and just as much acclaim. Buying originals means you can take pride in your piece and also benefit from the warranty and after sales service that the brands provide, not to mention appreciation value.


So, beyond buying from a retailer and the pricing of a watch, how do you know it’s a fake or its the real thing. Perhaps the most obvious signs are clear design flaws. The illustration on the next page details what to look out for in two of the most counterfeited watches. These same principles can be applied in verifying the authenticity of any watch. A caveat must be made though, there some really good fakes and to the un-trained eye there will be no difference.


Since most luxury Swiss watch brands trade on the heritage value of their timepieces, it‘s certain that an authentic watch will come with a certificate of authenticity, whether or not the watch is part of a limited edition.

In many cases, the certificate itself is unique and must be stored as safely as the watch itself. It‘s also almost always the case that a timepiece will have to be physically examined by experts at an official, authorized retailer.


Swiss high quality watches are engineered to function at an exceedingly low volume. If you are purchasing the watch in person, do have a listen. You should not be able to hear the ticking unless the watch is brought close to your ear.


A luxury watch often does more than just tell the time. It sounds obvious, but often this is overlooked, make sure you check that all the functions that the watch is supposed to have either work or are even present. Check sub dials and helium release valves as well as in the case of Omega, the chronograph and time zone settings.

Which Watch in the above image is a fake?

If your answer is the watch on the left, you’re correct. But this was definitely a good guess, because it is almost impossible to tell a fake these days from just looking at the watch.

So what’s the lesson? When it comes to fake watches, sometimes it’s really hard to tell. Sure, there are some very obvious mistakes, like the wrong placement of the serial number or the incorrect stack of the hands. But sometimes you come across a really skilled replica manufacturer that can fool even the biggest watch nerd. That’s why you trust the experts to tell you for sure. Your safest bet is buying from an authorized retailer. You will find both expertise and a ready after sales service that will respect the warranty on your watch.