How to Tell if a Rolex Daytona Watch is Real

Rolex first introduced the Daytona in 1953, and the model quickly became one of the brand’s most popular offerings. Today, the Daytona is a highly coveted model on the wish list of many watch enthusiasts. Because this watch is in such high demand, there are a good number of counterfeit Rolex Daytona watches out there. If you’re in the market for a Daytona, it’s crucial to know the difference between an authentic and a replica. Here, we’ve compiled some tips and guidelines to help you tell if a Daytona is real.

Font and Lettering

  • Rolex wouldn’t release a watch that’s less than perfect. This includes every detail, down to the lettering on the dial. If you find a Daytona with lettering that’s bubbled or crooked, it’s most likely a fake.

daytona watch is real - a black ceramic cosmograph

 

Date Complication

  • It’s important to note that the Rolex does not offer the Daytona with a date complication. If you see a so-called Daytona that has a date window, it’s absolutely a replica.

Engravings

  • There are always engravings on the side of the case at the lugs of a Daytona. One indicates the model number and the other displays the serial number. If any of these engravings are missing or crooked, odds are it’s a replica.

Movement

  • The movement of a Daytona should be a mechanical self-winding movement. If it’s not, chances are that it’s a Chinese movement, and the Rolex Daytona is fake.
  • However, you should never attempt to open the caseback of a watch on your own. Instead, take your watch to a trusted and certified watchmaker and have them remove the caseback of the Rolex Daytona. Then, you can see inside of the watch and examine the movement for authenticity.

Model or Reference Number

  • Model numbers can tell you a lot of useful information about a particular watch, such as the material. One way to tell if a watch is fake is to make sure the model number matches the material. If the model number says the watch should be 18kt white gold but it’s stainless steel, then it’s a replica.
  • You can find the model number as well as the serial number right on your Daytona. Simply remove the bracelet from the caseback and look in between the lugs. Then, you can use this handy guide to Rolex reference numbers. It will help you determine the features a particular watch should have based on the reference number.

Daytona Watch is Real - Panda Dial

 

Caseback

  • Rolex Daytona watches don’t have any engravings on their casebacks. In addition, Rolex doesn’t offer the Daytona with a transparent caseback. If you find a Daytona with an engraving or transparent caseback, that’s a dead giveaway that it’s a replica.

Second Hand

  • There’s a myth that all Rolex watches, including the Daytona, have a sweeping second hand. However, that’s not always the case. Many Rolex Daytona watches have a second hand that ticks. In addition, many replicas have a sweeping hand. With that said, the second hand isn’t a good way to tell if a Daytona is authentic or a replica.
  • However, there is one way to use the second hand to help you determine if a Daytona is authentic. Put the Rolex Daytona watch case up to your ear. If you can noticeably hear the ticking, it’s most likely a replica Daytona. Rolex watches are extremely high quality, and the ticking should be almost inaudible.

Quality

  • Rolex constructs all their watches, like the Daytona, from high quality materials. When holding a Daytona in your hand, the watch should have some weight to it. If the watch feels very lightweight, it’s most likely of a cheaper material and is a replica Rolex Daytona.

Daytona is real - the movement

Triplock System

  • Rolex designed the Daytona to be water resistant using their triplock system. This mechanism prevents water from entering the case. To determine whether a Rolex Daytona has this system, pull out the crown. If there’s a black rubber gasket at the end of the crown, that indicates a triplock system. Many of the replica Rolex Daytona watches don’t have this system. Therefore, this is one quick and easy way to differentiate between an authentic and replica Rolex Daytona.

 

Chronograph

  • All Rolex Daytona watches have a chronograph function. If you’re trying to decide if the Daytona is authentic or a replica, look more closely at this mechanism. First, you should notice subdials on the watch face. These subdials should be precisely and evenly arranged on the dial. They shouldn’t crowd any of the hour markers, and they should all be the same size. In addition, you can test the pushers. If they don’t function properly, there’s a good chance the watch is a replica.

Price

  • The Rolex Daytona starts around $12,400 USD for an all-steel version. The more precious metals, however, are much higher. If the price of a “brand-new” watch is significantly less, you can bet it’s a replica. This is also true in the secondary market as this watch retains its value.

Location

  • This might be one of the most obvious ways to ensure you get an authentic model. If you’re planning to purchase a brand new Rolex Daytona, you must buy it from an authorized Rolex dealer. These are the only places that Rolex legally allows to sell brand new watches.
  • If you’re planning to buy a pre-owned Rolex Daytona, you can buy from anyone. This makes it a little more challenging to guarantee you’re getting a real model. Crown & Caliber only sells genuine, authentic Rolex watches. Other places may try to convince you it’s authentic when it’s actually a replica. It’s important that you buy from someone you can trust!

These are just a few helpful guidelines and tips to consider when purchasing a Rolex Daytona. However, the best way to ensure you’re not purchasing a replica is to take it to a professional watchmaker. This type of trained professional can examine the movement of the watch and determine it’s authentic. Unfortunately, the owner or retailer of a watch may not allow you to take the watch until you purchase it. In this case, we hope that these tips and guidelines will help you feel more confident in your purchase.

The Daytona is one of Rolex’s most popular and identifiable models. A lot of thought, time, and money go into purchasing a Rolex Daytona. One of the worst possible scenarios would be to buy a watch that you thought was real, only to find out years later that you paid thousands of dollars for a fake. Use these guidelines and tips to make sure this doesn’t happen to you!

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

Editor’s Note: Updated on May 31, 2019 with new information. 

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