Jewelry Care & Maintenance

How to Tell if a Rolex is Real

Dustin Lemick


Dustin Lemick

How to Tell if a Rolex is Real: Everything You Need to Know

A Rolex is a status symbol. It’s a sign of luxury and success. A Rolex watch can set you back tens of thousands of dollars, even if you’re buying a Rolex second-hand.

Because of this, counterfeit Rolex watches are not out of the ordinary. Like any luxury item, such as designer purses or luggage, Rolex watches are an easy target for scammers who want to make a quick buck and shoppers who want the look of a genuine Rolex without paying the price for the real deal. These dupes, of course, can mean trouble for you if you’re in the market for an authentic Rolex. How can you tell if a Rolex is real?

Here’s everything you need to know about how to tell if a Rolex is real or fake.

genuine Rolex watch

What You Will Learn

How to Tell if a Rolex is Real: What to Look For

Rolex is Real: What to Look For

Are you looking at a fake Rolex watch and wondering how you could tell them apart from the numerous authentic Rolex watches on the market? Look no further; we can help you.

1. The Serial Number

First, look for a serial number. A real Rolex will have a serial number between four and eight characters long. However, just noting that a serial number is present isn’t enough to tell you if you’re dealing with a genuine Rolex watch. You have to ensure the serial number is legitimate.

You can always find the serial number in specific places if the timepiece is an authentic Rolex watch:

– On the case between the lugs, on the watch’s 6 o’clock side
– On the rehaut (the rim between the dial and bezel), also on the 6 o’clock side

Suppose you’ve found the serial number in one or both places. You’re that much closer to verifying you have a real Rolex.

However, you’ll also want to check the location of the serial number against the year the watch was produced. Modern Rolex watches built after 2008 only feature the serial number on the rehaut. Watches produced before 2005 only feature the serial number on the case. Watches produced between 2005 and 2008 display the serial number in both places.

If the serial number is in the wrong place, according to the year of production the seller claims, you may have a poorly designed replica Rolex in your hands.

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2. The Model Number

Do note that the serial number is different from the model number. The model number is on the watch’s 12 o’clock side, where the band meets the lug. The band may hide the model number slightly, but it will be there, along with the words “Original Rolex Design.

3. The Logo

It’s unlikely that anyone creating counterfeit watches would forget to include the brand logo on the replica watch. However, when explicitly producing a fake Rolex, the counterfeiter may forget one tiny, barely discernible logo.

Since 2002, Rolex has included a tiny logo on the watch crystal that is typically only visible via a magnifying glass. If you’re trying to purchase pre owned Rolex watches, don’t be afraid to break out the magnifying glass and give them a look. You may just save yourself from buying replica Rolex watches.

While you have your magnifying glass out, look at the watch crown, too. There should also be a logo, and it should be made of one solid piece of metal. A magnifying glass will help you verify that’s the case.

4. The Date Window

All authentic Rolex watches feature a small magnifying pane over the date window. If there’s no magnified glass over the date window, it’s a fake watch.

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5. The Caseback

While some luxury watchmakers will use clear casebacks today, Rolex does not. However, for some reason, some counterfeiters will still fit their Rolex replica with a clear caseback, perhaps thinking an unaware buyer will assume that because some luxury watchmakers use them, Rolex might, too.

However, only a few very rare Rolex watches feature a clear caseback. All other models use a plain, solid caseback with occasional engravings. Only specific models, such as the Rolex Sea Dweller, feature engravings on the caseback.

How to Tell Rolex is Real: Quality

Beyond looking for the specific features mentioned above, just look at the watch’s overall quality. A real Rolex is expertly made with every line, every logo, every etching, and engraving will be perfect. There will not be any flaws or awkwardly placed details. You’ll certainly not see any imperfections, such as glue marks.

Rolex Real vs Fake: Sound

Don’t just look at a watch if you’re trying to spot a fake Rolex. Also, give it a listen.

Rolex watches are known to be silent. So, if you hold that watch up to your ear and hear a slight tick-tick, it’s a sign you have a counterfeit Rolex.

Rolex Fake vs Real: Weight

While this isn’t always the case with newer models, the real deal is nearly always heavier than a counterfeit watch for older Rolex watches due to the high-quality materials used in manufacturing the former.

How to Tell if Rolex is Real: The Price

What’s one more dead giveaway you’re looking at a fake Rolex? The price.

If it’s too low, it’s too good to be true. Suppose a seller claims to sell an authentic Rolex Submariner or one of the brand’s renowned Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches for only a few hundred dollars. In that case, there’s something fishy going on. Why? Because the majority of Rolex timepieces begin at $5,000!

Shopping for a Second-Hand Rolex FAQs

Where Can I Buy a Real Rolex?

The best place to buy a genuine Rolex is from the brand (check out the Rolex website) or via a Rolex authorized dealer. Otherwise, your options are limited. You can always buy a secondhand watch via an individual seller or a pawn shop, but you risk purchasing a fake.

What are the Signs of a Fake Rolex?

I’m unsure how to tell if the real Rolex watch someone’s trying to sell you is real. Keep an eye out for some tell-tale signs that the watch is fake, such as a clear caseback, ticking noises coming from the watch, or a serial number in the wrong place.

A Recap: How to Tell if a Rolex is Real or Not

In short, when shopping for a Rolex and wondering how to tell if a Rolex watch is real, look at the following:

– The serial number
– The model number
– The logo
– The date window
– The case back
– How the watch sounds
– The watch’s weight
– The overall quality
– The price tag

Once you’ve confidently identified and purchased a genuine Rolex watch, protect it. A Rolex is an investment you’ll want to safeguard from damage, theft, and other mishaps.

That’s where BriteCo can help. Our comprehensive jewelry insurance keeps you covered under a range of circumstances, including under many circumstances that other forms of insurance just won’t cover!

Get a fast and free quote now.

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Dustin Lemick


Dustin Lemick

Dustin Lemick is the Founder and CEO of BriteCo and a third-generation jeweler with over thirteen years of retail jewelry experience. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in appraisal systems, diamond and gemstone markets, retail pricing models, insurance replacement models, and jewelry quotation pricing systems.