A resource for identifying fake, replica, or countefeit watches. Detailed descriptions and over 500 photographs are provided to aid in spotting replica watches. This book provides the tools to inform people how to spot fraud on sites such as eBay, and allow them to purchase watches safely online.
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A long time watch collector, I’ve seen an alarming trend growing in the hobby. Counterfeiters of high quality watches have been flooding the market with look-a-likes that are becoming more and more difficult to quickly separate from the genuine article. This has alarmed me, mainly because of the general lack of knowledge of replicas by the general watch buyer.
The purpose for this book is to aid the collector and buyer in determining the level of risk that a watch is counterfeit, especially when buying from an auction house like eBay where you are relying on the honesty of the seller when making a purchase. At one time the quality of counterfeit watches was so poor it was fairly obvious to the layman when they came across one at a flea market or went shopping online. The poor materials and shoddy build quality spoke volumes when it came to scrutinizing the watch. They looked "fake" and had a costume jewelry feel to them. No more.
Today’s counterfeits have benefited tremendously from a number of factors: the introduction of CNC equipment to the Far East, the advent of the Internet as a sales and distribution channel, and most of all, the availability of higher quality parts such as ETA movements and cheap sapphire crystals that has helped fuel the revolution of small independent watch manufacturers today.
These factors have contributed to raising the bar in the quality of the average counterfeit watch. A new breed of high-end replicas allows the manufacturers to invest more in each model. The Internet has introduced a new upscale market that is willing to pay up to $1,500 for a replica Rolex President. That allows both a tremendous profit for the manufacturer and reseller, and allows them the money to make more accurate watches in the future.
I’ve watched this market grow at an alarming rate over the last two years, from a few low key sellers advertising on mailing lists and message boards, to the now growing list of online web sites catering to those that want replica Rolex watches, the trend towards a higher quality counterfeit continues to find a place in cyber space. Purchasers who buy these watches for their own amusement and curiosity are not the long-term problem in my opinion. The real danger comes from those looking to defraud other people by misrepresenting replicas as genuine.
One look at eBay watch sales provides a good example of where the danger lies. Search for "Rolex" and look carefully at some of the listings. At any given time there are over 5,000 entries for Rolex watches and accessories. Of this number probably 20% are listings for counterfeit goods, or worse, pictures of real watches that will result in the delivery of a replica. Because of the rampant illegal activity on eBay many auctions for Rolex watches close with no bids. People are incredibly wary of sellers, and rightfully scrutinize each transaction.
This book could save you thousands of dollars by giving you the tools to recognize the signs that may indicate a watch is a counterfeit. We’ll show you what warning signs to look for in auction listings, as well as provide detailed information on individual watch models. This book is a quick reference guide designed to be taken with you when shopping at flea markets or pawn shops to give you quick tips on what to look for when examining a watch.
This book isn’t an exhaustive research tool on replicas. We never open watch to check the movement, for example. The examinations recommended here are noninvasive. They’re meant to be done quickly, with the purpose of assigning risk, not authenticity. I see this guide being useful also to those professionals at jewelry stores or auction houses that need help in quickly assessing the possibility that a watch is counterfeit. Unethical people may try swap a replica watch in for a genuine watch during a routine browsing session. When dealing with high-end watches this kind of fraud could result in the loss of thousands of dollars to the dealer.
Don’t be fooled by your impressions of counterfeit watches from even just a short time ago. Just as every other industry has taken advantage of new technology, so have the counterfeiters. While not up to the quality of the genuine brands they imitate, they can provide a very close perception of the real thing.
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