Listen for ticking

This is one of the biggest indicators that a watch is a fake. A high quality designer watch is built with hundreds of small, perfectly crafted moving parts. Therefore, it won’t tick at all. To test this, hold the body of the watch against your ear and listen closely.

Look for obvious mistakes

High quality designer watches are made using very strict quality standards. Therefore, any peeling paint, scratches, or misspelled words will indicate that the watch is an obvious fake. Additionally, if the clasp of the watch doesn’t close properly or the watch doesn’t keep time well, it’s a fake.

Examine the quality of the lettering

Genuine designer watches are crafted by master watchmakers. These watchmakers use precise engraving instruments to create clear, legible lettering on the watch. If any of the lettering is muddled or hard to read, the watch is probably a fake.

Feel the weight of the watch

A genuine designer watch is crafted with precious metals and has a lot of small moving parts. Therefore, it will feel slightly heavier than it looks. However, if the watch is fake, it will be surprisingly light.


Do your research

Comb through online auction result databases to learn information about the watch you want to purchase. On these databases, you can see photos of designer watches and the prices they sold for. Similarly, do research on the manufacturer and become familiar with the brand trademarks, common bracelet details, and the clasp. If you know what to look for, you’ll be harder to fool.

Look for all of the proper stamps

Designer watches will have stamps of authenticity in several spots around the watch. These stamp locations can vary from model to model. Do your research ahead of time so that you know what stamps to look for on your particular model. Next, make sure the lettering on the stamps is spelled correctly and is easy to read.

Examine the face of the watch

Genuine designer watches use precious minerals such as sapphire to cover the face of the watch. Cheaper watches use mineral crystals instead. To see what kind of mineral your watch was made with, turn the watch on its side and examine the color filtering through the clear casing.

Examine the bracelet

Designer watches usually have one or two stamps on the clasp of the bracelet. If you’re familiar with the specifications of your watch model, you’ll be able to tell if these are missing. Similarly, if the clasp mechanism seems too simple or the bracelet links don’t move smoothly, the watch may be fake.

Compare the serial numbers

The serial number on the bracelet of the watch and the case should match. Some designer watches also include the serial number on a sticker on the back of the watch.


Purchase a new designer watch

The best way to avoid fake watches is to buy exclusively from authorized dealers. This is the most expensive option, but it’s by far the safest. When you buy the watch new, it will come with all of the paperwork and serial numbers verifying its authenticity.

Check the serial number with the manufacturer

If you’re buying the watch second hand or at an auction, check the serial number with the manufacturer before purchasing it. Designer watch manufacturers keep careful records on the different watches they make. Therefore, if the watch you’re buying is genuine, you will be able to find documentation on it.

Visit an appraiser

If you’re worried that the deal you’re getting is too good to be true, take the watch to a professional appraiser before buying it. If the seller is being honest with you, they will have no problem letting you get the watch appraised. To find an appraiser in your area, do an online search or talk to a fine watch distributor.