For Me, how do I spot a fake.

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  1. #1
    Member watch origins's Avatar
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    For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    I am a beginner and am unfamiliar with way to many watch brands to not be taken in. Now I go to an antique store and get 100 bucks for a mint condition walthem Railroad watch that is complete and works well, gives me a bad feeling. If I find an Aviator watch for 25 bucks working, what are the chances you fine folks will tell me it is a fake. Second why do people bother to make a fake of something other than a Rolex or Patek Phillipe even Walthums that are everywhere? It seems like people would fake something that is in high demand and produces profit. Faking a Walthum to make money seems odd. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    The chances of a person buying a watch that's fake is a reciprocal function of their experience. More experience = less chance of getting hosed.

    Faking anything to make money is done.... to make money. The counterfeiter is more confident that the buyer won't be as wary spending $100 as they would shelling out $10,000. They also have less odds of a buyer returning angrily over a smaller amount of money, not to mention the legal aspects - after a certain amount an offense goes from a misdemeanor to a felony charge.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    Here is a misdemeanor fake railroad watch (I love that term ):







    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Member Outta Time's Avatar
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    I guess it depends what we're calling a fake. I've recently seen some Omega fakes made to look like 1960's classics. They are made in China, look brand new, and are an Omega in absolutely no sense of the word. Older Vintage watches are sometimes accused of being 'frankens', that is, a watch cobbled together from disparate parts that may span 10 years and several models. To be fair, an honest repair back in the day would have been the replacement of an entire movement if repairs could not be made to the original. This means the watch is of course not original, but there was no intention at deceit. Merely a watch put back in service and a happy customer. This would typically happen to less valuable watches, as the cost of the repair is/was a factor. When we get into the more prestigious brands, substituting other movements was not as common, although within the same brand, a newer movt would sometimes be used, and is in fact what happens to most quartzes today. If you are shopping for a specific brand with some value and collectibility, original is all important for it to be worth the top dollar. Keep in mind some higher end watches did not use in house movts, so you have to know what you're looking at. There still are a lot of 'gems' out there, but many more that are not what they seem. It's a learning experience, and if you do your homework, you can find some nice pieces and avoid those which are not worth what they're asking.

  6. #5
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    I'd like to see a picture of a fake 60s 70s Waltham
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

  7. #6
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Outta Time View Post
    I've recently seen some Omega fakes made to look like 1960's classics.
    Also reproduction Zenith models from 1955, 1965 and 1969 are readily available. These will be more of a problem in a few years' time when they stop looking brand new.

    Remember that 'everyday' brands are seldom faked. So if you avoid top brands - Omega, Tag Heuer, Zenith, Rolex, IWC, etc - its a lot less likely to be a problem.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  8. #7
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    Depends on when it was "faked". Walthams were "faked" a lot back in late 1800's, because they were the top watch available at the time. But usually the "fakes" were easy to spot; they were designed to be sellable via mail order using misleading ad copy that wasn't actually a lie, just wasn't what the gullible purchaser expected. That way, the purchaser couldn't really complain (they got what was advertised). As another member once said, a man who buys a $20 Rolex deserves a $20 Rolex.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  9. #8
    Member Chris Hughes's Avatar
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    Re: For Me, how do I spot a fake.

    I can't really speak to wrist watches, but since one of the posts is about pocket watches, here's my take on fakes of American railroad grade watches, a subject I know something about.


    Waltham, Hamilton, Elgin, Illinois... There are Swiss fakes of all of these American railroad grade watches. Usually they're very easy to spot. In the first half of the last century the American watch industry was the best in the world and the Swiss imports were, as a general rule, of far lower quality and built with very different techniques. Just looking at Swiss versus American pocket watch movements show very clearly which is which. Swiss pocket watches had completely different bridge and plate layouts and the Swiss movements don't typically feature the fancy damaskeening seen on American movements. That said, some vintage Swiss fakes were reasonably close to their American counterparts, but a careful eye can spot them with ease. Look, for example, at the regulators. Fakes practically never have the same micrometric regulators as the originals. Additionally, the Swiss often intentionally misspelled the names of the manufacturer whose watch they were faking in order to avoid trademark infringement. Berlington instead of Burlington or Hamiltan instead of Hamilton for example.

    Personally, I think the best way to get good at spotting fakes is to look at lots of genuine movements for the watch you're interested in. If you were in the market for an 18 size, 21 jewel Illinois Bunn Special you could look at examples on eBay for a few weeks and get a good handle on what the movements are supposed to look like. Once you've seen several dozen you'll spot the obvious differences with no trouble.

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