My last two posts have been discussing the various levels – or grades – of homage watches. Rolex of course, being as popular a brand as it is, is most often the target of those who wish to pay tribute – and profit at the same time.
And there is the whole “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” thing too. But consider this. It doesn’t always feel good to be imitated, does it. Mostly, if seems like the imitators are more mocking you than flattering you.
And so it is with watch brands. This post is about the worst offenders – the out and out fakes.
If you’ve ever been to a touristy area of Mexico, you know the watches I’m talking about. And I guess you can find them on the streets of New York and LA. Maybe other big cities too.
Wearing one of these pieces is fun for a little while. But it quickly runs through disappointment and clear to feeling like a fake yourself. You’re constantly in fear of being found out. And then worse – being outed by the one who discovered your lie.
Frankly, if you’re on a budget it’s better to wear one of the sterile homages and not make a big deal out of the piece. Leave the fakes on the tourist trap store shelves in Mexico.
Now, it wasn’t so long ago that the fakes were laughable. Thin quartz watches, cheaply made and no attention paid to the models they were attempting to imitate.
But something happened about ten or fifteen years ago. The fakes started getting better and better. The makers got more savvy. The buyers knew a good fake from a bad one. And the rising price of the genuine article – new or vintage – didn’t help the situation.
In fact, they’re probably too good to be called fakes. Counterfeit is a better descriptor. Like the difference between Monopoly money and a counterfeit $20 bill. These things are starting to fool the experts, the same way counterfeit U.S. currency was fooling people a few years back (so now we have orange money here in the U.S.).
One recent article I read was written by a well known and knowledgeable Rolex collector. Basically, he said he was not going to get into vintage Rolex pieces anymore. The counterfeit dials – and case parts too – were simply too good to be able to tell fake from genuine.
Now THAT’s a sad state of affairs, isn’t it?
And so, as with all things, buy the seller as much as the watch. In other words, know the person you’re buying from. Do your due diligence. Check them out. Make sure they’re honest. Make sure they know their goods. Learn as much as you can before you plunk down your hard-earned cash or credit.