Whenever a WTA member comes to me and expresses that they’re afraid to start watch trading, or that they’ve been sold a fake I always feel disheartened. Especially because if they knew how simple it can be to avoid buying fakes, they wouldn’t have the same mental blocks that prevent them from making a lot of money.
Although fake watches are getting better and better by the day, that doesn’t mean that the classic tools and processes to avoid buying them don’t work. One can use these resources independently without the support of a watchmaker and still avoid a majority of the issues that can arise. I DO highly recommend forming a relationship with a watchmaker near you as it will pay dividends and help you avoid fakes that are even more complex to identify. But the point here is you can protect yourself mostly on your own without much assistance. In order to help you remember how to approach any watch in question here’s 3 tools that should help.
3 Tools You Guys Should Have in Your Toolkit at all times that can save you multi-thousand dollar headache(s)….
1) – 10X Jeweler’s Loupe – $9.00 on eBay
2) – Google – Free
3)- WTA FB Insider Group Search Bar – Free
With these 3 resources you can literally trade watches without a worry in the world about getting into an issue with a fake.
Using a jeweler loupe is easy and most fakes can be identified by the lack of craftsmanship in their design. Buy a 10X one on eBay or another marketplace and get used to looking through it at any watches you have. You’ll be able to see all of the little details of the watch and can start easily identifying what’s real vs. what’s fake. Fake pieces may look good from a high level initially but once you see the details up close it’s like night and day.
You can look at the dial work, striations on the case materials, movement, and balance bridge. You can investigate the rubies and jewels up close. Most fake jewels on a watch movement are not a deep red/pink and are placed shallowly in the base plate. real rubies/jewels are a deep purple/pink and placed very intricately and deep in the plate. Whether the movement and dial are machined or painted with enamel, you can usually tell a hack job by how sloppy the close up looks or how widely spaced it is.
Swiss manufacturers spend millions of dollars on machining equipment and hiring artisans who can create works of art. The details are usually flawless and so intricate it would be impossible to replicate the work at that level of finish trying to cheap out. Hence why having a 10X loupe can help you avoid many fakes.
You can supplement your own overview with a handy tool called Google. I know I’m being cheeky here but it’s really amazing how many people are either lazy and don’t use it to its full capacity, or just don’t think to check the vast database. You can search Google for images of the exact watch model and even the reference number you’re trying to identify as authentic. In some cases people may have already done a side by side comparison or all the leg work for you in how to identify these fakes. The watch forums are great for this type of info and you can best find that by searching Google. Also, feel free to look at close ups of the images of your watch and see how it compares to the one you have in-hand. If there are differences in the appearance it may warrant you bringing it in to your watchmaker to have them give a closer look and double confirm. If you don’t have a relationship with a watchmaker yet or you need an answer ASAP you can tap into the third and final tool that’s free to you…. the WTA community!
The WTA Facebook community is one of the most invaluable resources at your fingertips. And as long as you show you’re willing to do some initial legwork in terms of research you will get many willing to assist. I want to stress this fact as if you don’t do any legwork and just expect people to solve your problem you won’t get much help. But if you communicate all you have done so far and that you would appreciate their added insight, you will not be disappointed. The community has many veterans who have gone through identifying fakes before and can ensure you have everything you need to proceed with confidence.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of this free resource to you and how many times people could have avoided buying fakes if they had.
If you’re not a WTA Insider member yet, you can get access for free with your purchase of the WTA course.