In part two of my two-part special on counterfeit watches it is my goal to equip you with some valuable hints and tips on how to steer clear of imitators. Unfortunately the rapid progression in the design and manufacturing capabilities of the black market has meant that identifying a counterfeit watch has become far more difficult. However, there are some steps you can take as a consumer to protect yourself. Read on to learn more.
If you missed Part One you can read it here.
There’s fake and then there’s fake!
I think it’s fair to say that most people who buy a counterfeit watch do so with the knowledge that they are not purchasing the genuine article. However, what many consumers fail to realise is that there are two levels of counterfeit watch. The first is an extremely cheap imitation. The watch carries a luxury name but there’s no effort made to copy details of the real watch. Sellers assume a customer who pays $30 on a street corner must know it’s a fake and therefore must know that they’re not getting a “real bargain” on a $2000 watch.
A higher-quality fake is one designed to closely resemble the real product. It may incorporate real gold, diamonds and leather. It may have a case that bears a legitimate model number, but have other parts that are poor-quality substitutes. Such a watch will sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and an uneducated buyer could take it to be genuine. However, it is of inferior quality, made with questionable parts and workmanship. Tips to avoid this situation:
- Only purchase your watch from an authorized dealer or from a trusted source (if you are purchasing second-hand.)
- Do your research. There is abundant information available on the internet on nearly every make and model of luxury watch. Make sure you know what the watch should be made of, the different dial variations, etc. Very often counterfeit watches of luxury brands will bear the same name and branding but the design will be unlike any the watchmaker has ever released.
- Make sure the watch comes with a valid warranty. Even if you are buying online many re-sellers will offer 1 – 2 year warranties.
- If it’s too good to be true it probably is. If there is a highly limited edition watch going for an unbelievable price chances are it’s probably fake. Again though, do your research. There are genuine bargains to be found online and you don’t want to miss out.
Another emerging trend is the practice of misleadingly representing inexpensive watches as if they were fine luxury timepieces. They are sold under their own brand name, so they are not fakes of another company’s brand. But their products are of modest to staggeringly cheap manufacture and have none of the merits of the fine, expensive brands they allude to. The typical scam on these are a combination of:
- An impressive Swiss, German or European sounding name.
- An impressive “retail price” or “RRP” (recommended retail price).
- Fancy verbiage that sounds like what a luxury watch brand would say.
- Impressive comparisons of features to those of “other” luxury timepieces.
- A special price you can buy it for that is incredibly below the retail price.
The deception here is that claimed retail price is a complete lie. These watches sell regularly at prices that are a trivial fraction–often as much as 70-95% off–of their claimed retail value. How can they sell them so cheap? Simple, they are cheap watches. Ones made to be profitably sold in the lower price range of their actual asking price. Any perception that these luxury impostors are even remotely worth their advertised retail price is nothing more than pure marketing bravado and intentional deception. So be aware of big discounts on seemingly ‘high-end’ brands that you’ve never actually heard of before.
The Final Word
The above is only a microcosm of the information that is available on the internet to help you protect yourself from counterfeiters. However, the onus is on you to do your research and be aware of the potential pitfalls of not buying from an authorized dealer. Having said that, as I mentioned before there are plenty of good bargains out there so arm yourself with as much information as possible and make the judgement call.
Does anyone else have any additional hints and tips or experiences with counterfeit watches that they would like to share with other readers?
Category: Special Features