Fake Watch or Genuine? Five Ways To Tell

Buying watches in Kenya is risky business. It’s not that there’s a shortage of watches in Kenya, it’s just that there are so many fake watches, you simply cannot trust anyone to sell you a genuine watch. At first I thought it was a problem with government agencies such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards but turns out, it’s not a standards problem. It’s an Anti-Counterfeiting problem. But that’s a story for another day. Today, I want to speak to those who may be looking for a watch and want the real thing. Of course there are people who don’t mind a fake watch, but that’s another matter altogether. If you want a watch, and a genuine one at that, then you are at the right place.

So, for starters, why wouldn’t you want to buy a fake/ replica watch like this beautiful Swiss Panerai Luminor Marina? Here’s a short list of my personal reasons for not buying such a watch:

  • The quality of manufacturing is not guaranteed. That means, the very high standards that the original is manufactured under are not the same as where the fake is made.
  • The quality of materials are not the best. While you may feel like buying a replica watch for 20,000 bob is a bargain, you need to realize that the cost of production of that watch is a few hundred shillings at most. Some are even manufactured for tens of shillings. So you are paying close to 10,000% more for a very low quality watch.
  • There’s obviously no warranty.
  • Reliability is neither here nor there. Because there’s no standards body governing fake watch manufacturing, your fake watch may not keep the time like it should.
  • The last one, and this one is big: IT’S A FAKE! Yes, no one likes to be thought of as a fraud, so why in the world would you buy a fake watch. Chances are it’s because it looks like a watch that you cannot afford. Here’s the thing; it’s okay to not be able to afford an expensive watch. What’s not okay is trying to look like you can. Be authentic; buy authentic (even if it’s a 1,000 Casio or Timex).

Oh, yeah, by the way, here’s the real deal Panerai Luminor Marina Automatic Men’s Watch.

Now that that’s off my chest, let’s talk about how to not buy a fake watch.

A Fake Watch Is Priced Lower Than Its Market Rate

Let’s say you see a nice Michael Kors watch. It’s going for 20,000 bob so it seems legit. Before you WhatsApp the seller, do some homework first. Go to the official Michael Kors website and look for that specific watch. How much is it going for? If it’s going for less than 20,000 bob on the official site then you might be in the green. If it’s going for more, red flags! A watch that is being passed off as genuine will either be slightly below the official retail price (the price on the manufacturer’s official website), at that price, or slightly higher. If, in the example we’ve used, the Michael Kors watch is going for 35,000 on the official website, then it’s most likely a fake. This is the most telling sign.

A Fake Watch Has Design and Build Discrepancies

Going back the quality of manufacturing, fake watches have poorer quality manufacturing than genuine watches. Why? Because they are built to be knock-offs. Granted, there are some extremely good fakes, which are considered to be high quality knock-offs. For these, the manufacturer is not interested in making cheap watches, they are interested in making something as close to the genuine one as possible. These don’t sell cheap either. However, with the vast majority of fake watches, they are mass produced at the cheapest rate possible. So the quality is poor, design shortcuts have been taken and so on. To spot a fake, all you need is to closely examine the watch against a genuine one. You can do this by getting a high-resolution image off the web.

Does the logo look somewhat different?

Is the crown a different shade of color?

Do the watch sticks have different lengths (between the two pictures)?

How are the numerals arranged?

This list can go on and on as you dig deeper into the details. The bottom line is, if the watch has even one difference, then chances are you are dealing with a fake.

A Fake Watch Is Lighter Than The Genuine One

It follows that if the manufacturer used low quality materials and took design and build shortcuts then the watches will definitely have a weight deficit. In fact, today watch experts say weighing watches is perhaps the best way to tell a fake from the real thing. This is because all watches originating from the original factory have the same weight. If a watch originates from a different factory, the weight will differ slightly. This discrepancy in weight is more pronounced in low quality fakes. Simply holding the watch in your hand will tell you a lot. Genuine watches tend to be heavier than fake ones.

A Fake Watch Does Not Come With A Warranty

If you were selling something fake, would you want to offer a guarantee on it? Obviously not. And this is the same case with fake watch sellers. They sell watches at a very affordable price but nowhere will you find a warranty or money back guarantee. They know what they are selling is low quality and may die on you on short notice, so they hand it over and that’s the end of your relationship with them. On the other hand, genuine watch sellers are able to offer warranties because they are willing to stand behind their watches. They believe they are selling you a good-quality product and so have no fear that you will come back in a rage accusing them of selling a fake watch. If in fact the watch has a problem, they also have no problem servicing it for you or replacing it altogether. So if the watch you are about to buy comes with no warranty, it may be a fake.

A Fake Watch Has A Short Lifespan

This one you may have to determine in hindsight but it may serve as a warning when you are buying your next watch. I once bought a replica Rolex that I loved dearly. These were my teenage years so I was very proud to wear my Rolex to school. But one thing really bothered me. The watch started tarnishing almost immediately I started wearing it. The shiny silver turned to ugly brass and the glass got multiple scratches just by sitting in my pocket. In hindsight, I would never shell out even a dime for such a watch again. Fake watches have a way of just disappointing you in that way. While people who bought genuine watches are busy bequeathing them to their children in their old age, you are busy feeding the landfills of the earth with replica watches you bought. Very sad.

So there you go, five ways to figure out whether the watch on offer is real or fake. There are a number of other ways you can make sure, such as buying only from authorized retailers but these listed here should help you make a wise decision when buying your next watch.

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