[VIDEO] Real vs. Fake: Rolex Explorer II

The idea of a fake watch is kind of interesting. It’s built to duplicate of a four-figure (sometimes five- or six-figure) watch at the lowest cost possible. And whether the producers of fake watches are really trying all that hard to pass their wares as legitimate, their ability to produce fake watches of reasonable quality is getting better every year. This is scary for those of us who really enjoy quality timepieces. This goes double for the manufacturers whose watches get knocked off all the time.

Of course we’re talking about Rolex. It feels sometimes like everyone has a Rolex, and if you don’t own one, you want one. And fake watches capitalize on that desire at the cheapest price point possible. We took a look at one of these replicas and compared it to the real thing with a Rolex Explorer II ref. 16570.

Rolex Explorer II: The First Glance

Luminescence is a key feature on a watch dial. The Explorer II, created for cave divers, needs exceptional luminescence. Sloppily-applied lume markers would not cut it for Rolex, and they shouldn’t cut it for a fake watch. Test out the lume if you can. The application should be even and have crisp edges.

Also, be sure to check the 24-hour bezel. The numbers should be crisp. If the paint is worn – put the watch down. Especially if you’re looking at a supposedly new watch. With well-loved Explorer II’s, you’ll see similar signs of wear on the bezel, but not that quickly.

Rolex Explorer II: The Details

Check the movement from the outside by playing with the winding mechanism and the crown. If it doesn’t feel right as you wind and set the watch, chances are you have a fake on your hands.

The links and lugs might also hold some giveaways on a fake watch. Rolex perfectly polishes and finishes all of their watches. They have rounded edges on the case and the links—no sharpness, all smooth. A fake watch may come close depending on its quality, but it won’t be perfect.

Also, serial number and model number placement is key. Rolex has moved around where they place these two numbers, so double check that the placement of the serial number is accurate to the year and model of the watch. If it’s wrong, you’re looking at a fake watch.

Rolex Explorer II: The Insides

Sometimes, the best way to check authenticity is to open the watch. Replicas are more convincing than ever. So, you’ll want to verify the movement. That will usually be the biggest indicator as a watch’s authenticity, especially since Rolex movements are difficult to copy to any quality degree. Most producers of fake watches won’t even bother going to that much effort. But for those who do, just be prepared to crack open the watch just to be sure.

To check out other information on spotting fakes, visit our Real vs. Fake Watch Roundup.

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Latest comments
  • hi,

    thanks for all of these advises, Have you ever seen a fake rolex with (apparently) the same mechanism ?

    • We have. Really high-quality replicas will have almost exact matches for the movement, and it takes an expert eye to spot the differences.