How to check if a Rolex is real or not.

How to check if a Rolex is real or not.

Distinguishing a fake Rolex from a real one. That is not easy for a layman. Especially now imitation watches are of better quality, you often have to look very carefully to see the difference. In the past, an imitation Rolex was much lighter than a real one. Weighing was knowing. That time is really over now. The counterfeiters know how to imitate the characteristics of a real Rolex. Fortunately, there are still some details that cannot be copied properly.
An imitation Rolex is easier to recognize if you can compare it with a real Rolex. However, the problem is that most buyers do not have a real Rolex available. The comment that a fake Rolex is lighter than a real Rolex is therefore not very useful. However, with the following tips you can unmask the fake Rolex without needing a real one.

The second watch hand.

The second hand of a real Rolex makes 28,800 ‘steps’ per hour. These are therefore 8 steps per second. Due to the large number of ticks of the second hand, the second hand seems to slide over the dial. The pointer moves in a smooth, jerky motion. If you see a Rolex where the second hand ‘jumps’ from second to second then you know (almost) for sure that this is not a real Rolex. This indication is quite watertight and easy to check. Unfortunately, the better imitations also contain a ‘sliding’ second hand.

Exceptions to the rule.

There are some exceptions to the story of the ‘sliding second hand’ of a Rolex. With a modern Rolex a tick number of 28,800 is common, but with the somewhat older models the tick number can be lower, for example 19,800 or even lower. In addition, a higher tick number is also possible, as with the earlier Daytona. This model originally had a tick number of 36,000, but that was later reduced to 28,800. In addition, Rolex once made a watch with a mechanical timepiece (number 18,000) in which the second hand took ‘steps’ of 1 second at a time, just like a quartz watch. It concerns the Rolex Tru-beat. This model has only been on the market for a short time and is therefore fairly rare. Rolex also produced quartz watches in the 1970s, the Rolex Oysterquartz. Just like the Tru-beat, this was not a great success. In short, if you see a Rolex where the second hand jumps from second to second, this is almost always an imitation, but there are (rare) exceptions to this rule.

Tap sound.

A Rolex makes no ticking noise. This is actually an addition to the above. With a Rolex, there is no tick from second to second. So you don’t hear a real Rolex.


The back of a Rolex is smooth and has no inscriptions. Sometimes an imitation Rolex is provided with impressive inscriptions on the back. This should give the impression that it is a real Rolex. However, it is the other way around. Does it have watch inscriptions? Then you know for sure it’s not real. There are only two exceptions to this rule. Women’s models from before 1990 can have an inscription (Original Rolex Design). An inscription is also possible with the Sea-Dweller model (Rolex Oyster Original Gas Escape Valve).

Glass back.

The back of a Rolex is always made of metal. With some imitations, the back is made of transparent plastic or glass. This makes the underlying timepiece easy to view. Although the makers of such imitations try to convince the buyer of the authenticity, this is proof that the watch is not genuine. In the history of Rolex, only two examples with a glass backside are known. However, these were not production models, but presentation models where the work had to be shown. These models were produced in the 1930s.

Magnifying glass.

The Rolex watches with date display have a kind of magnifying glass in the glass to be able to read the date better. This small magnifying glass is located at the number ‘3’. This so-called ‘cyclopic lens’ magnifies exactly 2.5 times. This glass is difficult to copy. With many imitations there is a magnifying glass, but the magnification is 1.5 times at most. Sometimes this problem is solved by using a larger magnifying glass.

Crown in the glass.

For the models after 2002, a small crown is engraved in the glass. It is a tiny crown at the bottom, near the ‘6’. The crown is always very small and consists of many small dots. The glass of a modern Rolex is always sapphire glass. This hard glass is very scratch-resistant. Do you see scratches in the glass? That is probably not a real Rolex.

Serial Number.

The serial and case number of a real Rolex can be found on the side of the watch where the strap is attached to the case. This number is engraved so that the letters and numbers are sleek and legible. With imitation models, the numbers and letters often seem sandblasted. As a result, the letters and numbers are often somewhat grainy. Unfortunately you cannot see the series and case number without first loosening the tape.

Overall quality.

A real Rolex is made from the best materials and is perfectly put together. If a detail looks a bit cheap, this is already a clear indication of an imitation watch. Strange tolerance or color differences do not occur with a real Rolex. Finally, every Rolex is watertight. A little condensation on the inside of the glass can therefore be a clear indication of a fake Rolex.

Hologram sticker.

A genuine Rolex has a special sticker on the back when delivered. This 3D hologram sticker is difficult and expensive to make. Many imitation watches therefore do not have this sticker. On a real sticker a part of the serial number is printed in gold letters. In addition, there must be some sort of 3D effect if you look at the sticker from different angles. If an imitation Rolex already has a sticker, there is usually no mention of the aforementioned 3D effect.

Diving ring.

If the watch has a diving ring (bezel or bezel), it won’t hurt to turn it on here. You should hear a click when turning the ring. With a real Rolex, there are 120 clicks in a complete round. Imitation watches often only have 60 clicks.

How can you prevent the purchase of imitation?

Place of purchase.

To begin with, how you buy a Rolex watch naturally determines everything. If you are offered a Rolex on holiday on the street at a very low price (special price, my friend!), Then of course all the bells must ring. You can feel that this will not be a real Rolex. If it seems too good to be true, it is usually not true. Do you want to be sure that you are buying a real Rolex? Then go to an affiliated Rolex store or a well-known jeweler. You can find affiliated retailers of Rolex on the Rolex website.

Consult an expert.

Is a Rolex offered privately? Then try whether you can discover the aforementioned characteristics. Are there no clear indications, but are you still in doubt? Then ask the buyer if you can have the watch checked by an expert. An expert can check the watch on several points. He can also check the serial number and examine the timepiece. In addition, the expert knows many more features of a real Rolex.

Packaging and papers.

When purchasing a Rolex, the watch must be delivered in a solid box. This beautiful box is of course provided with the brand name. In addition, the buyer receives a user manual and the warranty conditions. When purchasing a new Rolex, these items are of course supplied as standard. The lack of a box, instructions and warranty conditions is a reason to be wary. When purchasing a second-hand Rolex, something can of course be missing. With a second-hand Rolex, being able to show a purchase invoice is of course a big plus.

Seller’s story.

When purchasing a second-hand Rolex, the story of the seller is also very important. In any case, ask for a copy of the purchase invoice. If this bill is not available, ask the seller where, when and for how much the watch was purchased. The serial number on the watch allows you to check when the watch in question was made and whether it matches the seller’s claims. If the buyer claims that the watch was a gift, you have every reason to mistrust it. This is a frequently heard excuse for the lack of a purchase invoice.

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