Up To 10% Of Luxury Watches Found To Be Sophisticated Fakes When Traded In
— Updated on 4 August 2023

Up To 10% Of Luxury Watches Found To Be Sophisticated Fakes When Traded In

— Updated on 4 August 2023
Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon

With the massive growth of the watch market over the last half-decade, the problem of fake luxury watches isn’t going away anytime soon. While multi-million dollar counterfeit vintage watches are less common, modern so-called “clone watches” are getting more common and realistic; with the CEO of pre-owned dealer Watchfinder & Co stating up to one-tenth of luxury watches were found to be fake when traded in.

In an interview with Bloomberg Radio, Arjen Van de Vall explained the growing challenges faced by pre-owned dealers when it came to fake timepieces (many now require a 60-step authentication process in order to confirm their origins).

While in the past just a small fraction of pre-owned watches were found to be fake — and only one in five required a forensic inspection — the market has changed so dramatically that Rolex ‘super clones’ now might actually be good.

Watchfinder CEO fake watches

“In the olden days, you would say that roughly 20 percent of watches required further inspection to understand if they were real or fake,” explains Van de Vall. 

“Today it’s more [like] eighty-twenty, so it’s the other way around.”

“The percentage of fake watches that we get in is anywhere between 10 and 7% on a yearly basis. I think the main difference that we’re seeing is that the level of sophistication of these is changing.”

RELATED: How To Spot A Fake Rolex: A Comprehensive Guide On Sidestepping The Fugazis

As you might expect for the brand that makes up a total of 25% of the entire Swiss watchmaking industry, Rolex is the most faked brand on the market. Despite this, all of the largest watchmakers are copied by counterfeiters, making the problem an industry-wide one.

Van de Vall continues: “Rolex is the most aspirational luxury watch brand and has the highest demand, hence it’s the most replicated. But today you see replicas or clone watches, very very high-quality watches, of virtually all of the big luxury brands.”

With this issue likely to worsen in coming years, as both the primary and secondary watch markets continue to grow, it’s worth remembering the age-old advice, “always buy the seller.”

Needless to say, having a trustworthy dealer has never been more important.

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Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at) luxity.com.au


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