How to Tell if a Rolex is Real: 5 Ways to Check

Updated April 1, 2021
Rolex watch

If you are in the market for a Rolex watch, then you are about to drop some serious dough. Make sure you are getting the real deal when buying a Rolex watch because the market is saturated with copies and knock-offs. If you're asking yourself, "Is this watch the real thing?" know how to tell if a Rolex is real.

How to Tell if a Rolex Is Real

In addition to taking a watch to a dealer or valuer to get it assessed, there are some checks you can do at home if you are asking yourself if your Rolex is real. Here are a few ways of checking whether a Rolex watch is genuine.

Assess the Retailer

High-value and high-quality brands are often only available through authorized retailers. It is extremely unlikely that any top-of-the-range watch such as a Rolex will be sold through anything else other than a highly respected retailer. Watches that are purported to be Rolex but are sold through market stalls or online auction sites are likely to be fake. If you think you are getting a bargain of a Rolex out of the trunk of the car, then you are likely very mistaken.

Pay Attention to Price

Rolex watches always command high prices. If the watch is purchased for an extremely low price, then it is doubtful that it is a genuine Rolex watch. There are always exceptions, however, it is rare for a Rolex watch to be sold under its market value.

Weigh It

Simply put, Rolex watches are heavy. If the watch that you are considering feels light to you, there is a good chance that it is a replica.

Listen to Your Watch

Hold the watch up to your ear? Is it ticking? If so, then you are not dealing with an actual Rolex. A true Rolex will not tick; it will make no sound at all.

Rolex watch

Look at the Back

The back of the Rolex watch should be smooth. There are a few exceptions to this rule. The Rolex Sea-Dweller defies this standard design principle, as do many Rolex watches that were manufactured in the 1930s.

Related: The 9 Most Expensive Rolexes Ever Sold & How Much They Sold For

Spy the Crown

The Rolex manufacturers have the ability to include a tiny, precise crown etching at the 6 o'clock position. Most people would not even think to look for this mark, and it isn't going to be something that stands out to buyers immediately. You need a magnifying glass to find it. If there isn't an itty-bitty crown on the face, then you don't have the real deal.

Assess the Quality

One way of telling whether a Rolex is real is to look at the overall quality of the piece. A Rolex watch is manufactured using high-quality parts and high-end craftsmanship. The numbers on the dial will be clear with no distortions. The watch face will be made of crystal and will not scratch. The movement will be smooth and the watch hands will move smoothly without juddering. Pay particular attention to the second-hand. It should never jerk about.

Look for the Logo

On a genuine Rolex watch, the logo is laser etched. This is difficult to replicate. Study actual logos in person and know what they should look like before purchasing.

Check Out the Cyclops

In Rolex terminology, the cyclops refers to the tiny window where the date is displayed. In genuine Rolex watches, the cyclops is always smooth.

Check the Serial Number

Every Rolex comes with a serial number, so if you are considering a watch without one, walk away. Serial numbers can be faked with etching, but Rolex has a complex art regarding how they create their serial numbers. Brush up on the serial number structure guide prior to making a purchase.

Pay Attention to the Metals

A Rolex will never come in 14-carat gold or silver. They are always made from stainless steel, 18-carat gold, or platinum. Know your precious metals and get the opinion of a specialist regarding the material that your prospective watch is comprised of.

Rolex watch

Get an Independent Valuation

The most reliable way of finding out whether a Rolex is real is to go to a reputable dealer or valuer and allow them to look at the watch. A reputable dealer or valuer will be able to tell whether the Rolex watch is genuine and if it is, they will be able to put a value on the watch. Many dealers will undertake this service for a reasonable cost. If you are truly worried about whether your watch is genuine, this is money well spent. This is useful in situations where perhaps the watch has been given as a gift and there is no paperwork to accompany it and the original seller is not known.

The King of All Watches

Rolex watches are highly prized designer watches, and men and women all the world over desire the prestigious watch brand. The brand is known for its high-quality watches and equally high price tags. The Rolex watch continues to be one of the most expensive and most coveted watches on the market, and because of this, they are often copied. These copies or replicas are fake Rolex watches and are inferior in every way. While this isn't a concern when people buy a Rolex watch from a reputable dealer with all the paperwork intact, people buying a secondhand watch or buying a watch from an unknown source will have less confidence as to the provenance of their watch.

Always Do Your Research

Unfortunately, there are many fake copies of Rolex watches and other high-quality brand watches. As manufacturers improve their brand security, so do the fakers. As imposters improve their techniques, it can be difficult to spot a fake Rolex. Buying a high-quality brand watch such as a Rolex must always be done with care and extreme bargains or deals regarded with great suspicion.

How to Tell if a Rolex is Real: 5 Ways to Check