Markings

The markings of a timepiece are ones of its most essential details. It represents the graphic form used for fulfilling the main function of a watch: the one of counting time. Even though the design and aesthetics of the markings available on a watch do not vary very much, or better said, do not have that many styling options, there are still some differences and particularities that are worth noticing. These particularities will help you spot the good replicas and prevent you from being fooled by a poor knock-off. Please keep in mind that on a watch we can find two types of markings: the ones on the inner dial and the ones from the outside bezel. Both are very important and useful to its owner, and most important both should be extremely accurate on a replica you are considering buying. I have selected as examples two iconic timepieces: a Rolex Submariner and a Hublot King Power Ayrton Senna. On the Rolex Submariner we will compare the accuracy of the white dot applied on the bezel above the 12 o’clock position. This is a very distinctive marking of the Rolex Submariner and even though at first glance it may seem like a very easy to clone part, it is actually not that simple. The original dot has a solid pure white color and it is surrounded by a silver metallic disc which is taller than the central white dot. On the replica the white dot has an ivory color and its shape is round, like it is half a pearl. More important, it doesn’t have the same tall metallic disc around it. Just by looking at the photos you can immediately conclude that the second one is a poorly made replica. On the Hublot...

Date Window

Some watches have a date window and some watches do not. The ones that do not have it are pretty easy to imitate, whereas the ones with a date represent a real test for any skillful replica manufacturer. An even bigger challenge is to correctly clone a magnifying date window while respecting the original degree of magnification. This difficult aspect of a knockoff raises even more questions for us, customers. How do we identify a good replica? And what are the basic characteristics of a correctly replicated date window? If we take a look at a Rolex Submariner we will see that it has a magnifying lens over the date next to the 3 o’clock marker. This is also called a Cyclops lens with a 2.5X magnification. It is domed and it perfectly centers and enlarges the date as to almost fully fit the window. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see that it really magnifies the date. Most important, due to its domed shape you can clearly read the date almost from any angle. The downside of a replica is that just a few vendors are able to provide the 2.5 magnification lens. Almost in all cases, you will come across a 1.5 Cyclops lens. This inferior date window will obviously have a different look and will not be able to enlarge the date number that much. Even though the date will be visible, the effect will be different and naturally an indication that the watch is not the original one. Any watch educated person would be able to tell that your Rolex is a fake.  This is also what we notice when comparing these two pictures of an original Rolex Submariner with a replica of the same model. On the imitation...

Watch Crown

The winding crown of a watch is the part that we use to set the time. This small winder implies a functional role and less an aesthetic one. Because of this, most often we tend to ignore its looks and its degree of authenticity. The truth is that we should show the right amount of attention towards it and learn what the particularities of the original winding crown are so we will know how to spot a good replica when we see it. I for one would start by researching the original model and looking at pictures of it from all possible angles to see all its numerous design details. Every marking, patter, thread or texture matters. After you are familiar with it you can really start searching for a good quality replica. You will see that there are not many variations for a winding crown. Again, its role is merely a functional one. Its enhanced aesthetics is actually just a nice bonus to bring extra joy to the eyes of watches aficionados. If we take for comparison a rose gold Rolex Daytona and a replica watch, we will notice on both products the quite small and elegant winding crown, with threads all around its circular outside, threads which help the owner to have a better and firmer grip of it when setting the time. On the top of the winder there is the triple lock crown. This distinctive Rolex logo represents the triple lock water capabilities of the watch, meaning it perfectly seals the case to enhance the water resistance of this superbly crafted time piece. So far, just by comparing the designs of the winding crown the imitation seems to be almost perfect. The exception which ruins this first impression is the...

Clasp

It is not enough to just browse some replica websites and choose a design that you like. The most important thing is to be positive that between the imitation you are buying and the real watch it clones there are no visible differences. No one wants to wear a fake looking watch. So how can we avoid such embarrassing situations? That’s easy! Pay attention to the smallest details and you will end up with a replica which looks and feels like a million bucks. I have noticed that very few shoppers pay attention to a very important aspect of a watch: the clasp. This quite small and let’s face it:  quite hidden part of a timepiece is also crucial for determining the accuracy of your knock-off. If the clasp doesn’t have the correct markings or the correct aesthetics then it will be a dead giveaway that your watch is a replica. For example, the Rolex Daytona is an all-time classic and even though it has a very long tradition on the watch market, its design hasn’t changed that much over time. This also includes the looks of its clasp so determining if a Rolex Daytona clasp looks authentic or not shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. When comparing the original clasp of the Rose Gold Daytona with the one of its replica we easily notice a few differences, like the position of the little Rolex crown. This small logo should be on the left side of the closing system and serve as a pull button which allows us to unlock it and open the band. Next, the left side of the clasp should be wider and have straight outside edges instead of round shaped markings as the imitation watch clearly has. The finishing...

Laser Etched Crown

All Rolex watches have a very unique and distinctive authenticity marking. It is a quite small and discrete Rolex crown laser etched in the crystal above the 6 o’clock marker. This small logo is most often not visible with the naked eye and you may need a magnifying glass to see it, and only when the light falls directly on the top half of the crystal. This allows the light to reflect on the surface of the glass and gives shape and a crystal color to the small laser etched crown. It is a beautiful and remarkable feature available only on Rolex watches. There are many people who complain that they can’t see the small Rolex crown laser etched in the crystal and most of them have the original watch. The answer is that they are not looking at it correctly. They are not using the reflection of light to “light it up” and they are also expecting it to be bigger. This is very incorrect. The logo needs to be small to look authentic. A big Rolex logo etched in the crystal is a dead giveaway that the watch is a replica. Rolex Co. has intended this marking as a hidden one, a beautiful feature that reveals itself only when you especially look for it. I will present to you the pictures of an original Rolex Daytona and of a replica, the exact same model. On the replica you can obviously see the laser etched Rolex crown. I would go as far as saying that you need to be blind not to see it. It is huge. It is as big as or even bigger than the 6 o’clock marker. This makes it look fake and I wouldn’t recommend anyone buying a replica...

Hands

Before getting too excited about getting your hands on the replica of your dream watch there is a more important set of hands you should consider. These are the hands of a watch, the big hands which circle along the main dial, but also the small hands that measure the most complicated functions of a finely crafted time piece. Buying a clone which has incorrectly imitated hands may be one of the worst mistakes you could make. These are obviously on the face of the watch, the first thing you see when you are reading the time. Each time you see the incorrectly replicated hands you will be remembered that you are wearing an inferior knock-off, and who knows who else sees the exact same thing when looking at your watch. There is no doubt about this; The Hublot King Power Ayrton Senna is one of the most complex dial I have seen so far. Its color scheme, patterns and complications are superb and extremely innovative.  Still, all these tend to look a little bit crowded and for someone that is not familiar with the watch the differences and flaws in replicating the original design may not be that obvious. But let’s not forget that the world is populated with watch enthusiasts and you never know when a connoisseur will want to give it a closer look. In the below photos you will see the original Hublot Ayrton Senna and a replica of it, the focus is kept on the hour hand. You will notice that the authentic one has a distinctive pattern with a grayish rough look. Also the yellow arrow in the middle is formed from straight lines and has a pointy tip, without any rounded corners. When comparing it to the...