How to avoid buying a fake Rolex on eBay

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The Obvious...

The obvious answer is of course; "A Rolex won't ever have a glass or exhibition back" and "The second hand should have a sweeping motion" Whilst this advice should see you safe through most Rolex watches listed on eBay, it, unfortunately is not definitive and actually not true. 
Another common misconception is that Rolex do not nor did they ever, produce quartz wristwatches.
In 1977, Rolex introduced their first in-house quartz movements; the 5035 and 5055 & the Datejust (5035) and Day-Date (5055)  Being quartz and not mechanical these will present a more conventional tic-tok motion we see in most of today's quartz wristwatches. So not to totally expel this method of identifying a fake, as I said, it is likely to be fake if you stumble on a modern Rolex claiming to be quartz or to have a tick-tok motion, but it IS still possible. To my knowledge though as it currently stands, Rolex are not producing any quartz watches right now but that's not to say they won't in the future. 
Rolex also introduced an exhibition case back on the 'Cellini Prince' but again on all other Rolex models an exhibition back has never been introduced, however, due to the increase in collectors within recent years in the luxury watch industry, there are companies who will happily sell you/fit a custom exhibition case back on your Rolex and usually they can offer this service on most if not all models. It's unlikely that you will come across this on eBay and i'm sure if you do the seller would state that they have had this done and therefore should be able to provide you with a receipt as proof or should be able to direct you to the company who will undoubtably have taken down the serial on the watch and therefore should be able to confirm. These are all unlikely situations but my reason for mentioning is you may find a watch on eBay that you love but think it's fake so just do your homework as there is always the possibility it isn't Always be wary though and ask as many questions as you want until you feel comfortable enough to make a decision.

Ok, so you have found the Rolex you want, it doesn't have an exhibition back, it claims to be automatic but you're still not sure. Here are some more accurate facts that you may or may not know. These should be able to guide through buying a real Rolex and not losing your money on a cheap imitation. 

There are so many different variations on every Rolex model, each with different tell tale signs so we will focus on one of the most popular models; The Rolex Submariner. 

Please note: Some of these facts will be hard to check via eBay as you can't tell with a photo but based on the assumption you are going to collect the watch here is what you can look for:

1. A Rolex Submariner bezel will have 120 clicks in a full rotation. This seems silly to check this but most imitations will not be this precise so if you do check this and count 120 clicks (should easily be heard) you can start to relax a little.

2. Imitators have, for some reason, never been able to perfect the cyclops window (date magnification window located at the 3 hour marker) this should be exactly 2.5 times magnification with the black text (date numbers) clear, sharp, precise and centred. If something looks off to you or it doesn't seem quite right then chances are it isn't!  The cyclops will always be located at the 3 position.

3. If you have a jewellers loupe or magnifier then do take it with you as it will come in handy and even if you aren't too sure what your'e looking at. Anyone selling you a fake watch with you looking under a loupe will try to discourage you from looking and will try to hurry you along. Never ever rush, take as much time as you want and do not listen to what they say. Make your own decision. 

4. In 2002 Rolex started using laser etching on their crystals. They etch the Rolex coronet above the 6 hour marker in between a layer on the crystal. Imitators have tried to replicate but simply don't have the equipment that Rolex do and if they manage to etch the coronet it's usually on top of the crystal, not crisp and clear and not in perfect positioning. Try to look on google at an example before going so you have a comparison. Using the loupe (sometimes without with good eyesight) you should be able to see this on any post 2002 model. 

3. Glass not plastic. Modern Rolex Submariners will use sapphire glass and NOT plastic. Give it a tap to try and hear the difference. Practising beforehand on other watches will help you with this. 

4. Check between the lugs for 'Original Rolex Design' and the other lug for the serial

5. The bracelet will also have a three digit reference located on the inside of the bracelet towards the shoulder. This identifies the style of the bracelet. A quick google search with the reference number i.e. Rolex bracelet '123' will show you an image of the correct bracelet. 

6. Of course check that the papers reference and serials including model numbers match that of the watch (between the lugs) 

7. The case back will be a fluted style screw down case and not easy to open unless you have the correct tools (Bergeon make a specific case opener for Rolex) other brands are available but Bergeon tends to be quite precise. You don't want to scratch the case back using a cheap tool. You can buy a rubber ball on eBay which will allow you to get grip and if the case is not too tight you might be able to remove the case back. If you do manage to, look for a quality Rolex signed movement. The case back should always be unsigned on the outside (again there are a couple of models that are signed but more often than not won't be)

8. Dial Colours... Black, Blue or Green. That's it. Black being the most common. Green on the 'Hulk' (116610lv) and '50th Anniversary'. Blue on a bi metal submariner or on a solid white gold submariner. People do change the dials though for other colours (custom) but if they are claiming everything to be original it will only be one of those three colours.

9. If everything so far checks out, have a look at the sellers feedback? Have they sold anything like this before; more particularly, have they sold the same watch before? Is there feedback score good? Steer clear from 0 feedbacker's selling a Rolex as their first item. It may well be genuine but do you really want to be the one to take that risk? 

10. Relax!! buying your first Rolex or even an additional Rolex should be a fun experience and should not be tainted or ruined by scammers and con artists. Rely on the eBay protection. Pay through Paypal. If it's fake, tell eBay and Paypal and they should be able to recover your money. 
Don't be afraid to talk to experts. They will be more than willing to help you and will always give you good advice. 

There are many more facts and figures that i could bombard you with to help you but what you have now should be enough to give you a little more confidence when looking. If you contact us through eBay or instagram with a link, we can always check it out for you and give you our opinion. Anything to prevent scammers on eBay! 

If you found this interesting and would like to learn more, then a great start would be taking a look at the 'mondani' book range. They are the leading publishers for any Rolex literature. They have some incredible and really insightful books giving you fountains of knowledge and taking you through the complete Rolex history. We are actually UK distributors for the mondani book range  and I bow to their knowledge and expertise.  This is not a plug for you to order a book through us as you're more than welcome to buy elsewhere but please do check them out if you are looking to take your interested and knowledge in Rolex as a brand further. 

I hope this has helped somewhat, i know there is a lot of information to absorb so use it as a reference if you need to. 

Thanks for reading :)

James - Quantiéme
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