As watches become more popular around the world, the likelihood of running into a counterfeit has increased. It isn’t just obvious cheap knock-offs, but sophisticated clones that require a 60-step authentication process are making up one-tenth of traded in luxury watches.
In an interview with Bloomberg Radio, Arjen Van de Vall, CEO of Watchfinder & Co, explained that pre-owned dealers are facing a growing problem with high quality fakes.
In the past, only a small number of pre-owned watches were found to be fake, but that number has grown dramatically.
“In the olden days, you would say that roughly 20 percent of watches required further inspection to understand if they were real or fake,” Van de Vall said. “Today, it’s more [like] eighty-twenty, so it’s the other way around.”
“The percentage of fake watches that we get in is anywhere between 10 and 7 percent on a yearly basis. I think the main difference that we’re seeing is that the level of sophistication of these is changing.”
Fake Rolexes are by far the most popular with counterfeiters, which makes sense, but it isn’t limited to Rolex as all large watchmakers are being copied.
“Rolex is the most aspirational luxury watch brand and has the highest demand, hence it’s the most replicated,” Van de Vall added. “But today, you see replicas or clone watches, very, very high-quality watches, of virtually all the big luxury brands.”
As primary and secondary watch markets continue to grow, be sure to find yourself a good dealer that you can trust, because it is easy to be fooled by these very high-quality fakes.