It has happened, it actually happened a few years ago but since they started, they have just got better and better, so much so that now they have gone to the point of using an ETA 2836-2 as a base unit, adding a fake Rolex marked bridge, Rolex ‘looking’ Rotor, Coloured Cogs, All Correct Markings……
These were first made by the Koreans and not very well, yes they look the part but are not very reliable. The more complicated the movement, the less reliable it is going to be. I purchased a gold Day/Date for the purposes of this blog, yet it broke within 4 hours of unwrapping it!
This is what it looked like when I first opened it, its the Day/Date II with the Grey/Black Tiger Stripe Dial & Gold Numerals – a £21,000 time piece.
As you can see by the Day wheel, the day wheel is what broke within 4 hours, the date wheel followed suit shortly after.
Within a day the Rotor started making a noise so I opened it up and low and behold it had come off, the screw was inadequate and did not hold the rotor in place, so I removed the rotor and decided to use the watch as a wind up watch, this lasted for around 3 days and then gave up!
Shame really as the watch is IDENTICAL to the real thing
The serial number relates to a genuine Day/Date II
The watch had a clone Rolex movement, pretty much identical to the real thing (apart from the reliability)
This is what it looks like:-
As I am sure you also noticed the 18ct gold hallmarks, which look genuine too
All in all, visually the watch was absolutely spot on, to the untrained eye, this watch could very easily be passed off as a genuine watch. If it was taken to a dealer and he opened the watch before testing the gold, he could well be satisfied by the fact that it has what appears to be a genuine Rolex movement within it.
I have known a few dealers whom have unwittingly bought a few of these super clones, the dateless Submariner and standard Submariner’s are very common.
The blag works like this:- Very well dressed guy enters a watch/jewellery store and says that he is in a bit of a situation and needs to sell the watch on his wrist, he claims to have all the box & documents but not with him, but at home. He says he would take £3500 for the watch (which is a steal) and asks for just £2000 upfront, promising to come back at the weekend with the boxes & paperwork and to collect the remaining £1500, only thing is, the seller never comes back. He has just traded a £300 copy watch for £2000, so is £1700 in profit and I presume very happy with himself.
These clones are very difficult to spot, a lot of money has gone into building these, the Swiss ETA based clone is a far superior movement and looks great done up as a 3135 in a Submariner.
The only person I know that will check these watches for you and return them to you if they do turn out to be fake firstname.lastname@example.org
He is an expert in this field and there has NEVER been a fake watch that has got past him, he is the person to go to in London to have your watch checked at a realistic price and the promise of it being returned to you at the end of the test.
Buyers Beware – These movements are becoming cheaper to make and so more out there.
Don’t get caught out – for the sake of £55 – you can be sure that your Rolex purchase is a genuine one.