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Counterfeit Rolex Watches—A History

Posted: April 26th 2019, 9:27am
by koimaster
Did I ever tell you about the very first Rolex I bought? I was doing the whole gap year thing (although a decade or so later than most people do it), bumming around Asia, when I washed up in Thailand. There, in the buzzing northern city of Chiang Mai I think it was, some enterprising young chap had eschewed the whole high class boutique thing common to so many other Authorized Dealers, and set up a large stall right there in the street. What it lacked in presentational flair it more than made up for in competitive pricing, and I walked away after a few minutes haggling with a brand new Submariner, sitting on an all black Oyster bracelet (you know, like Rolex has always offered) for around $25.



If I’m honest, I suspected foul play from the beginning, especially when my watch selling friend told me straight out it was a fake. Still, it looked pretty good to my uneducated eyes, and the four days I spent with it before it just decided to stop working passed pleasantly enough.

Counterfeits have been a fixture of the watch business for almost as long as there has been a watch business. And, contrary to how things are now, it wasn’t always concentrated in the Far East. Way back in the day, when American-made pieces from the likes of Elgin and Hampden were considered the best in the world, it was Switzerland at the center of the fakes industry. Not only did Swiss manufacturers copy the watches themselves, they also duplicated the highly efficient production techniques pioneered by the U.S. makers. Pretty soon they were churning out exact reproductions and selling them with names which were just different enough to avoid any legal shenanigans; Elgin became Elfin for instance, in a technique familiar to anyone who has ever bought a pair of Adadis sneakers or Ray Bon sunglasses.


https://beckertime.com/blog/counterfeit ... a-history/

Re: Counterfeit Rolex Watches—A History

Posted: April 26th 2019, 11:49am
by biglove
Nice read. I wonder at times if there are not AD’s and jewelers out there making use of super fakes to make for bigger profit margins. Have heard rumors of an AD doing it but never saw any proof.

Re: Counterfeit Rolex Watches—A History

Posted: April 26th 2019, 12:20pm
by Hawk
biglove wrote:Nice read. I wonder at times if there are not AD’s and jewelers out there making use of super fakes to make for bigger profit margins. Have heard rumors of an AD doing it but never saw any proof.


One case where the AD was not a willing participant I believe occurred in London - someone, probably with a background in three-card-monty, swapped out a high end fake for the real thing and it wasn't discovered until the customer brought the fake in for service (all based on my fallible memory).

That had to be a kick in the head for the customer and dealer both - and, if anything, further convinced me I have no business trying to navigate the shoals of that marketplace.