When a Rolex Is Not a Rolex: How to Identify a Fake
Hello again. Nice to see you could make it back. Today I want to talk again about Rolex. A year or so ago I bought a fake Rolex from a Chinese-based website. The site is no longer around – I assume due to the fact that selling fake watches is illegal. It cost me around $120 and is actually a pretty good fake. It is head and shoulders above most of the fakes that come through my doors. The reason I bought it was simple, I wanted a fake I could compare other watches to and to use it as a training tool for our pawnbrokers. It is a copy of one of my all-time favorite Rolex models: The Milgauss. The history behind these watches is really cool. They were designed for people who worked in power plants or science labs that were exposed to high levels of magnetic energy. The name Milgauss says is it all. “Mil” meaning 1000 and gauss being a measurement of magnet strength. To put it in perspective your average fridge magnet is around 1-3 gauss whereas an MRI machine is in the neighborhood of 1.3-3 Tesla (a Tesla is 10 to the 4th gauss or 100,000 gauss). So this watch could not withstand being put in an MRI, although not many things besides people can, but could easily take background magnetic waves from a generator. I know this is getting pretty scientific and therefore boring, but I still think it is really awesome. Now what makes this watch stand out as fake? As I said it is a very good fake, whoever made it paid attention to details, but not closely enough, and with well-made fakes the devil is in the details. The first dead giveaway is that the hour markers are not completely lined up. This may seem like a small issue, but if you paid $7,000 for a real Milgauss, you would think they could get the hour markers to be spaced properly. The second issue is with what is stamped on the back. You see how it says 18k right here? This watch was not made with any gold. To my knowledge no Milgauss ever was, and Rolex never just stamps 18k on the back of a watch. If they do it at all, they use the percentage gold content, i.e.: 417, 585, 750, etc. The band is made of a steel-coated material, not solid steel, it doesn’t weigh as much as it should. The only way you would figure that out is to hold the real thing. The way the seconds hand moves is also a red flag. It’s jerky and not smooth. I am going to go on a bit on a tangent here, so strap in. You may have heard someone say that Rolexs don’t tick. If you read my post about the Oysterquartz, you would know that is not true. Or you may have heard that if the hand does not run completely smooth it is fake. Here is the truth. Most Rolexes use an automatic (self-winding) movement based on a Zenith. You can look up the brand Zenith to learn more about them. Anyway most of the Rolex movements run at 28,800vph (vibrations per hour) this is how many times the escape wheel [insert picture of escape wheel] oscillates per hour. Now divide that number by 60 (for 60 minutes per hour) and you end up with 480vpm (vibrations per minute), and finally divide again by 60 for the seconds. This leaves you with 8vps (vibrations per second). This means that between each second the seconds (or sweep hand) will move 8 times. So if you are watching very closely, you will see these 8 small steps as the hand moves between seconds. Head over to YouTube to see this in action. I could easily keep going, but I think that is enough for this post. I will get into serial and model numbers later. Thanks again for stopping by and don’t forget to check your local Pawn America for some great watches. Cheers.