Watch Guides

Fake vs Real Rolexes: How To Spot The Difference


Want to make sure you get a real Rolex and not a fake? Read through our guide explaining how to tell the difference between a genuine vs replica watch.

Do you know the secrets that seasoned watch collectors use to separate genuine Rolex watches from counterfeit copies?

If you are looking for a perfect guide to answer this question, you are in the perfect place!

Last time, we showed you some of the best Rolex look-alikes on Amazon. But unlike these watches, many counterfeit timepieces falsely claim to be genuine products of the famous Swiss brand Rolex.

And to be honest, fake watches like these are flooding the market these days.

That is why today, we will show you an informative guide on how to tell if a Rolex is fake, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to make an informed decision when considering a Rolex purchase.

And to learn more about this topic, keep reading our detailed article below!

Related: How Does The Rolex Waiting List Work?

How To Spot A Fake Rolex (7 Ways To Verify)

Due to their elegance and impeccable craftsmanship, Rolex has become one of the most popular luxury watch brands and a widely known status symbol in the world. However, because of this, it is also one of the most counterfeited watch brands.

So, to learn how to differentiate a genuine timepiece from the many fake Rolex watches, here are some expert tips on how to spot counterfeit watches:

#1. Serial Number

Fake vs Real Rolex

Every genuine Rolex watch has its unique serial and model number. This serves as a crucial identifier for authenticating your timepiece. 

Once you have this code, you can search for it on the internet or, even better, take it to an authorized Rolex dealer for confirmation.

Rolex serial numbers are perfectly engraved into the metal. Meanwhile, counterfeit Rolex watches feature serial numbers that are merely acid-etched with very low quality.

The authenticity of a Rolex can also be determined by the serial number’s placement. 

To verify if it’s an authentic Rolex watch, check for the engraved serial number on the watch’s rehaut or inner bezel, which is placed in its 6 o’clock position.

If the rehaut only indicates the repeating words of “Rolex,” then there is a big chance that you are holding a fake Rolex watch.

But remember that only modern Rolex watches (made from 2009 up to the present) have an engraved serial number on their rehaut. 

If you have an older or vintage Rolex watch, you can find the serial code on its lugs at the 6 o’clock position.

#2. Laser Etched Crown (LEC)

Fake vs Real Rolex

Luxurious Rolex watch models have engraved miniature Rolex coronet logos on their sapphire crystals. 

Rolex began micro-etching their watch’s crystal as part of the brand’s efforts to thwart counterfeiters.

However, even though they can replicate it, the mistake these counterfeiters make is that they often overdo the tiny etched crown logo and make it too obvious to be seen easily in their imitation replica watch.

Authentic Rolex watches have laser etched crowns right at their 6 o’clock position, which is incredibly hard to see by the naked eye unless you have a loop or a magnifying glass.

#3. Cyclops

Fake vs Real Rolex

Many Rolex models have a date window on the dial. And this feature is always paired with their signature Cyclops lens that magnifies the date for improved readability. 

But did you know that you can spot fake Rolex watches by looking at its Cyclops lens? Yes, you can! 

Rolex’s iconic Cyclops lens doesn’t just make the date pop; it magnifies it by a precise 2.5 times, ensuring the date takes center stage in the Cyclops window.

This means that the lack of magnification or an inadequate date display on the lens clearly signals that a watch is a Rolex replica.

#4. Front Of The Dial

Fake vs Real Rolex

Looking at the front of the dial is also where you can spot a fake Rolex watch. 

Fake Rolex has less refined watch components and elements. From the printing on their dials to the finishing on their hands and hour markers, all of this will be inferior to a true Rolex.

Genuine Rolex watches have meticulously crafted dials with precise colors, sharp and consistent stampings, and immaculate finishing on every aspect. 

When you examine the dial of a real Rolex, you’ll notice a level of perfection and crispness that sets it apart from its replica watches.

#5. Text And Spacing

Fake vs Real Rolex

To add to the previous point, the text and spacing on the dial are also crucial indicators of Rolex’s authenticity. 

In real Rolex watches, you’ll observe flawless text and precise spacing between letters and numerals. The fonts are also clear and crisp, making them highly legible at every angle.  

The brand’s dedication to precision is evident in the consistent font size and alignment of all elements, such as the tiny crown logo, model name, and water resistance rating.

Meanwhile, a fake watch often has faded or blurry stampings on the dial, and the space between the fonts is uneven. And worst, sometimes, the words are even misspelled.

#6. Movement

Fake vs Real Rolex

The watch’s movement can also serve as a valuable clue to determine if you’ve purchased a counterfeit watch.

A genuine Rolex movement always has a “Rolex” word engraved on it, and the respective parts will be cleanly finished. However, before you can see this, you must open the watch by removing its caseback using special Rolex tools or a watch tool kit.

It’s also worth noting that most Rolex watches come with mechanical movements. 

So, if you come across a Rolex Sea-Dweller with quartz movement, it could raise a red flag since Rolex has produced only a few quartz watches and is limited to only Datejust and Day-Date models. 

Moreover, Rolex discontinued these very rare vintage models.

#7. Finishing

Fake vs Real Rolex

Rolex pays meticulous attention to every aspect of their watches, including the finishing of the case, bracelet, and dial. 

Genuine Rolex watches have impeccable finishing, with smooth edges, flawless surfaces, and precise detailing. 

On the other hand, Rolex replicas often have rough or uneven finishes, and other details, such as logos and fonts, are often larger or smaller than the original. 

And sometimes, even some parts of the watch may be different from the authentic appearance of the original model.

Rolex Datejust Fake vs Real

Fake vs Real Rolex

When it comes to authenticating a Rolex Datejust, the most noticeable characteristic is the date window. 

An authentic Rolex Datejust watch displays the date on its window and Cyclops lens centered perfectly.

In fake Rolex Datejusts, the lens does not always fit uniformly over its window.

Rolex Day Date Fake vs Real

Fake vs Real Rolex

The Day Date is one of the best-selling Rolex models of all time, and as such, it is often a prime target for counterfeiters.

That is why a rule of thumb with the commonly counterfeited Rolex watches is to check the materials used in its case. 

This particular model is only made in gold or platinum. All Rolex Day Dates having bracelets made in stainless steel are fake watches.

On a budget? See the best Rolex Day Date alternatives.

Rolex Submariner Fake vs Real

Fake vs Real Rolex

One of the common mistakes counterfeiters make when they make their own Rolex Submariner timepieces can be found on its pip, a small, luminescent dot or triangle at the 12 o’clock position on the bezel.

A fake Rolex Submariner has a brownish pip, while the true Rolex timepiece has a pearly white color. 

And if you look closer at the picture, you can also notice that the pip on the fake watch is slightly off-center compared to the real one.

Rolex Daytona Fake vs Real

Fake vs Real Rolex

Rolex Daytona is known as the most famous chronograph watch. 

That is why, to spot a fake Rolex Daytona, check if its chronograph features are working, as counterfeit watches often lack this essential functionality.

But if the chronograph feature is working and you are still not convinced, another common point with fake Rolex Daytona watches is the excessive thickness of the red “DAYTONA” text on its dial.

Rolex GMT II Pepsi Fake vs Real

The GMT Master II ‘Pepsi’ is one of the most desirable watches for collectors. As a result, the market has become flooded with counterfeit Rolex Pepsi watches.

To distinguish between replicas and genuine Rolex Pepsi GMT watches, the quickest method is to check the alignment of the hands. 

Authentic Rolex GMT timepieces always follow a pattern and correct hand sequence, which starts with the hour hand, followed by the GMT pointer, minutes, and lastly, the second hand.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Fake vs Real

The Oyster Perpetual is one of the brand’s long-established models. They are elegant and sophisticated, making them a go-to timepiece for many.

However, it’s important to note that these models are exclusively equipped with highly accurate self-winding movements, and even rare vintage models produced by the brand are run by the same automatic mechanism.

Therefore, watch models like this that are powered by quartz movements are most likely replicas.

Rolex Deepsea Dweller Fake vs Real

Fake vs Real Rolex

The Rolex Deepsea Dweller is one of the most outstanding watches in terms of water resistance rating. However, they have also been a target for counterfeiters looking to cash in on their popularity.

But, similar to counterfeit Submariners, one common feature of these replica models is the luminous pip on their rotatable bezels that often reveal their true nature. 

These fake watches often have darker markers compared to the authentic Rolex Deepsea Dwellers.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Fake vs Real

The Sky-Dweller has the most complicated movement in the current Rolex catalog. 

Despite the complexity, the caseback of these watches should not be see-through. The genuine Rolex casebacks of Sky-Dwellers are solid, so if a timepiece like this is offered to you, it’s more likely a fake.

Furthermore, you should also check if the annual calendar feature is working. Counterfeit watches often have this feature as a design element, but it doesn’t actually function.

Rolex Cellini Fake vs Real

Speaking of a see-through caseback, it’s worth noting that the only Rolex watch that has an exhibition caseback is the Rolex Cellini Prince. 

If you encounter any other Rolex Cellini model with a transparent caseback, it’s a strong indicator of a counterfeit timepiece.

Furthermore, it is essential to thoroughly inspect the watch’s overall craftsmanship, materials, and features. Rolex Cellini watches are renowned for their elegant design and flawless finish. 

That is why any variations from these standards might suggest that it’s a fake.

Rolex Air King Fake vs Real

Rolex Air King is one of the cheapest Rolex watches available in the market. But that doesn’t mean there are no fake ones.

One of the best ways to spot a fake Rolex Air King is its weight. 

The average weight of a Rolex Air King is 151 to 153 grams. Always note that a fake Rolex will weigh less than this figure because they are often made of substandard materials.

Rolex Milgauss Fake vs Real

Fake vs Real Rolex

Rolex Milgauss is a tool watch known for its anti-magnetic properties and robust build. And due to its distinctive features and popularity, counterfeit versions have emerged in the market.

And to learn how to spot a fake Rolex Milgauss, you must pay attention to the green line on the edge of the sapphire crystal. 

A light pale green color often indicates that a Milgauss is fake. While a deep and vibrant green is a feature of genuine Rolex Milgauss timepieces.

Rolex Yacht Master Fake vs Real

The Rolex Yacht-Master is one of the most common models that are subject to counterfeit production due to its popularity and distinctive design.

But if you want to know the difference between the fake and the authentic Yacht-Master, you should look at its case. 

Replicas of the Rolex Yacht-Master often have thicker watch cases than genuine models.

Rolex Explorer II Fake vs Real

Luminescence is a crucial element for the Rolex Explorer II watch dial.

This timepiece is specifically designed for cave divers and mountain explorers, where a high level of luminescence is essential. 

That’s why sloppily applied lume markings are often one of the first indicators of a fake Rolex Explorer II.

Moreover, looking at the fonts and marks on the bezel might aid in determining between a genuine and a fake watch. 

Counterfeit Rolex Explorer II versions frequently feature differences in font quality and alignment, making them easily detectable.

On a budget? See the best Rolex Explorer alternatives.

Fake vs Real Rolex – FAQ

How much does it cost to see if a Rolex is real?

On average, an authorized or reputable dealer will often authenticate your Rolex watch for around $100

What is the most faked watch?

Because of their popularity, which translates to a high demand in the market, Rolex watches are considered the most faked watches today.

What is the most counterfeited Rolex watch?

With its timeless design and widespread popularity, the Rolex Datejust is currently the most frequently counterfeited Rolex model.

Fake vs Real Rolex – Conclusion

And there you have it! 

Those are 7 tips on how to spot a fake Rolex watch in the market today. 

With this guide, we hope that we can help you distinguish a genuine Rolex from its replicas that are abundant in the market today.

And if you want to know the best place to buy Rolex watches on the internet, you can check out the best places to buy a Rolex watch online here. 

And if you have questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to leave us a message below!

Ethan Hunt is the executive editor of, a luxury lifestyle website. With a background in education, he has a keen interest in educating readers on the finer things in life, particularly in the realm of fashion and luxury style. His love for these topics has led him to pursue a career in editorial work and he continues to share his knowledge with readers around the world.

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