Used Rolex Watches: Industry Expert Reveals Top 10 Tips for Telling a Real Rolex from a Fake

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Used Rolex watches are easy prey for unsavory sellers. Buyers want to know: What’s real and what’s fake? “The devil is in the details,” warns Avi Dayan, an international expert on pre-owned Rolex watches. He offers 10 tips for telling a real one from a fake.

Used Rolex watches are big business for unsavory sellers. What’s real and what’s fake? That's what buyers need to know. “The question is simple but the answer is seldom easy,” says Avi Dayan, an international expert on used Rolex watches. “Trickery and deceit is the hallmark of those who peddle phony Rolex watches.”

“The finest Rolex detectives “know the devil is in the details,” says Dayan. “When the pros inspect a watch their attention is always focused on the little things most people would never notice.” Dayan offers 10 tips for telling a real Rolex from a fake.


1.Rolex has never manufactured a watch with a see-through case. If you see a glass-back case on a watch, move on. You’re not looking at a Rolex.

2.Rolex has never fabricated a case or a band with even the smallest amount of rubber. You know it’s a fake if you feel rubber.

3.Skeleton dials display the moving parts of a timepiece. Rolex has never made a skeleton dial.

4.Oyster Perpetual Rolex watches always have a screwed-back case – never a pop-up.

5.Rolex Oysters are fabricated of stainless steel, gold or platinum. Chrome or chrome-plate is never used.

6.Only men’s full-size Rolex watches have day and date features.

7.The case of a Rolex President is platinum, 18-karat yellow or white gold – never stainless steel or two-tone stainless and gold.

8.Rolex watches are not gold-plated – ever. When it comes to gold, a Rolex is either 14 or 18-karat gold.

9.Surprise, surprise. Rolex does indeed, make a quartz movement watch -- the perpetual Oyster. But, be careful before you buy. Quartz movement Rolexes comprise fewer than 10% of all Perpetual Oysters. The other 90% are conventional automatic Rolex movements.

10.Rolex is a Swiss company that has in years past manufactured watches in various other countries including the U.S, Mexico, Italy and Venezuela – but never China. A “Chinese-made Rolex” is a genuine fake.

Dayan, who has bought tens of thousands of Rolex watches over the past 16 years says the smartest Rolex collectors seldom concern themselves with how to identify a Rolex watch, “because they depend on industry professionals they trust to guide them.”


“Rolex pros have ‘laws’ they live by,” says Dayan. They are:

•Never buy a watch on the street.

•Never buy from an Internet dealer – unless the dealer also operates a brick and mortar store situated in a secure, respectable location, preferably in the United States. A customer should always have the option to visit the proprietor’s store to personally inspect a watch. And, a used Rolex, like a new one, should always come with a warranty.

•Never buy Rolex watches in the Far East or Turkey, even if the dealer has a storefront presence.

•Always pay with a credit card – not cash or check. A credit card purchase provides flexibility in case you need to return the watch.

•Never buy a watch on Craig’s List.

Avi Dayan has owned San Francisco-based A&E Watches for more than 16 years. For information on how to tell the difference between a real Rolex and a fake, call Avi Dayan at (415) 437-3263 or visit

Focus: Used Rolex watches

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