How to Check if a Rolex is Authentic and Genuine [Complete Guide]

Rolex caliber 3175

How to Check if a Rolex is Authentic and Genuine [Complete Guide]

Rolex is arguably the most well-known and reputable luxury watch brand in the world.

You ask someone to mention a luxury watch brand and they’re probably going to say Rolex. No matter if you’re in Mexico, Sweden, Egypt, or Brazil.

Rolex has throughout the years been able to differentiate itself so far from all of its competitors that it is viewed as the ultimate luxury watch.

But the increased knowledge about a brand, together with the fact that Rolex’s watches are exclusively expensive and unattainable for most people makes some choose a different alternative. Rather than paying full price for the real deal, they buy a counterfeit watch meant to replicate a real Rolex, but which costs only a fraction of what a Rolex costs. Because the reality is: you only get a fraction of what you get when you buy a real Rolex.

The market for counterfeit Rolex watches has increased over the years due to the fact that the demand from people who want to try to pull off their watch as the real deal, while it is, in fact, fake has skyrocketed significantly.

And when a brand gets stronger and more well-known, this is a trend that only grows stronger.

As such, the market is flooded with fake Rolex watches, and this means that if you are going to buy an authentic Rolex, it’s important that you know how to check if a Rolex is authentic, because in the worst case, if you’re unfortunate, you might end up with a fake Rolex. Did you, for example, know that there are more fake Rolex watches produced than real Rolex watches?

In this article, you’ll, therefore, learn how to check if a Rolex is authentic.

How to check if a Rolex is authentic

Over the years, counterfeiters have become better and better at making fake watches. The fake watches have become harder and harder to distinguish from the real deal, but no matter how hard they try, they’ll never reach Rolex’s standard, since they’ve invested billions of dollars, and developed and refined their watches for more than a century.

With counterfeit watches getting more and more authentic-looking, it’s important that you know just how to check if a Rolex is authentic. Some fraudsters attempt to sell counterfeit watches at the price of a real Rolex, and a good way to protect yourself root that is by learning how to distinguish a fake Rolex from a real one.

1. Know your watch

The first step to check if a Rolex is authentic is to know the model of the watch you’re buying. The models can differ significantly, and this is why on some models, you can’t use the same method to check if a Rolex is authentic as you may be able to do with other watches.

Begin by learning about the watch you’re about to buy. Learn about how it looks, what details it has, and how it should be executed. By doing so, you’ll have a good idea of how the watch should look once you take a look at it, and it will help you spot inconsistencies. 

Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR 2018 UNWORN for sale online

Not all counterfeit Rolexes are made in a way that makes them hard to distinguish from the real deal. In fact, most fake Rolexes are very poorly made, and they often feature certain elements or design features that don’t even exist on the real model.

This is obviously a super easy tell, and so if you know exactly how the Rolex model should look, you’ll instantly be able to tell if there’s something that is clearly wrong.

Some common errors that counterfeiters do are, for example, having date functions on the Rolex Daytona, making a watch in a metal that doesn’t exist, or even writing the name of the wrong model on the dial.

2. Look at the details

It’s often the details that allow you to check if a Rolex is authentic.

The first step is to know the model you are buying, and then look at the details of a real one vs the one you’re about to buy (or considering buying).

  • How do the hands of the watch look? What should the indexes look like?
  • What dial colors are available? Which type of clasp does the bracelet have?
  • All of these things will help you check if a Rolex is authentic or if it’s fake.

3. Weight

Weight is an obvious differentiating factor between real and fake Rolexes.

Since fake watches use lower quality materials to make the manufacturing cost cheaper, the watch is often much lighter than the real deal.

If you have access to a scale, you can look up how much that watch model should weigh, and then put the watch on the scale. If it weighs the same, it’s most likely authentic.

4. Price

Price is probably the most obvious tell for a fake Rolex watch.

We, humans, tend to want to believe things that are almost too good to be true, but most likely, they’re not.

The problem, however, is that fake Rolex watches can be priced just like a real watch, by scammers trying to sell their watch as the real deal, however, if the watch is substantially cheaper than what it is being sold for, it’s most likely fake.

Don’t fall for any traps, and don’t believe something that is too good to be true. Avoid any deals that are too attractive.

Rolex Daytona 116508 Green dial

5. Sweeping second hand

A real Rolex watch has the iconic sweeping second hand, and this is a way that you can check if a Rolex is authentic. The second hand of a Rolex watch should sweep, almost seamlessly. Fake watches, on the other hand, tend to have quartz movements, and this means that the second hand ticks away. Rolex has made some quartz watches in the Oysterquartz range, but these are discontinued, so if you’re looking at a Rolex that isn’t an Oysterquartz, make sure the second hand sweeps.

Another way to evaluate the movement of the watch is to put your ear to the watch and listen. Unlike what many believe, authentic Rolex watches don’t emit a ticking sound, but fake Rolex watches often do.

6. Micro-etched crown

Rolex started engraving the crystal on their watches from 2002 onwards with a minuscule Rolex crown, right at 6 o’clock. Since this is so tiny and hard to make, counterfeiters tend to overlook this feature, and so if your watch has a micro-etched Rolex crown, it’s most likely not fake. But this is not a rule as more and more counterfeiters have started implementing this feature in their watches.

Rolex Laster etched crown

7. Pay attention to details

Rolex pays great attention to their watches. They carefully control each and every single watch before it leaves the factory, and this ensures that everything is made to perfection – no misspellings, perfect letters with no ink bleeding, a correctly aligned cyclops, and so on.

When you’re buying your Rolex watch, take a look at all of the small details and elements and make sure that it’s all done to perfection. If it’s not, it’s probably a fake piece. Note, however, that vintage pieces tend to change over time, so here, the text might get a little old, and the tritium on the dial will become inconsistent and uneven. This is for modern Rolex timepieces.

8. Waterproof

One way to check if your Rolex is authentic is to take a look at its waterproofness. Today, Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches have a minimum water resistance of 330 feet/100 meters, but counterfeit watches will most often start to leak by the time you submerge them in the water – not always, but often.

Before you try, make sure you screw down the crown of your watch first  – and note we do not take any responsibility for what may happen if you submerge your watch underwater.

9. The crystal of Rolex watches

All modern Rolex watches have a scratch-proof sapphire crystal to protect the glass from scratches. Most fake Rolex watches, on the other hand, have regular glass, or something of not as high quality, for example, hardened glass or mineral glass.

As such, you’ll be able to feel the quality difference of the glass if you have a real and a fake Rolex next to each other.

10. Rolex bracelets

Different Rolex models have different bracelets. First off, when it comes to fake Rolexes, the first step is to look at the watch and see if it has the type of bracelet that it should. If it does, go over to look and feel the quality of the bracelet. Most often, fake Rolex bracelets feel almost like low-quality aluminum and make noises. You can almost feel the low quality of the bracelet when holding it.

On the flip side, genuine Rolex bracelets have a great weight to them, they are very solid, and they feel like something that is a great piece of craftsmanship.

Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller 126660

11. The Date Window

The date window is often an obvious differentiating element between a real and a fake Rolex.

To create a good date window, you need to have great attention to detail, and make sure the date disk is perfectly centered at all times, that the text is perfect, and so on.

On the vast majority of Rolexes, all watches with a date window have cyclops. The Cyclops is a piece of crystal that is glued on top of the glass, making the date magnified 2.5 times to help improve readability.

Since making this little cyclops detail is quite a difficult and hard process, fake Rolex watches normally don’t have any zoom on their cyclops, or it is poorly made.

Rolex 116710 BLNR

12. The case back

The case back is the backside of the Rolex. All modern Rolex watches should be smooth and have no engraving, no stickers, stampings, or anything.

Back in the day, Rolex used green stickers, but since the counterfeiters became so good at replicating them, Rolex then removed them, leaving the case backs blank.

It’s not uncommon that counterfeit watches have engravings with ”Rolex”, the Rolex logo, and an imaginary serial number in an attempt to make it appear more authentic to an inexperienced buyer.

13. Think about where you buy the watch from

The place you buy your Rolex watch from has a significant impact on the risk of it being a fake or a real watch, and if the risk exists that it could be a fake watch.

If you buy from trusted and reputable sources, you can be certain that what you’re buying is the real deal – no matter if it’s a used or new piece. Also, make sure you don’t get fooled by fancy websites, but look at the place you’re buying from and see how long they’ve been in the business and if they are trusted.

If you’re looking to buy a second-hand Rolex watch, you cannot turn to an authorized Rolex dealer, and if you buy watches from non-authorized dealers, you often get better deals and prices compared to an authorized dealer (unless you are buying a sought-after watch that sells for a premium on the secondhand market).

14. Look at the documentation

Another way to check if a Rolex is authentic is to look at the documentation that comes with the watch.

Not all Rolex watches come full set with box and papers, but the vast majority of modern Rolex watches do.

The best is if your watch is accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity and a full warranty, including a box.

While it’s certainly not an obvious tell, if your watch is a new model and still doesn’t come with any box, papers, or anything, it can be a warning sign.

Also, if the watch comes with the proper documentation, make sure that the serial number listed on the certificate matches the number on the watch.

Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR 2018 UNWORN for sale online

15. Serial number

One way to check if a Rolex is authentic is to look at the serial number. This serial number can be found on the side of the watch case, right behind the bracelet. This means that in order to access this serial number, you need to remove the bracelet on that side.

The serial numbers are diamond-etched, but on fake Rolex watches, the numbers tend to look acid-washed.

The numbers on an authentic piece are clearly marked and easy to read, with perfect precision. If you compare the engraving of a real Rolex and a counterfeit, this is one of the easiest ways to differentiate an authentic piece from a counterfeit watch.

16. Take it to an authorized dealer or watchmaker

A surefire way to check if a Rolex is authentic is by taking it to an authorized dealer or watchmaker. These will be able to instantly tell if your Rolex watch is real or not.

Doing this can be done quite affordable, but have in mind that if it’s a fake, they may just take it for destruction and you’ll never get it back (which may be a good thing if it’s a counterfeit). In most countries, counterfeit watches are illegal.

Sports Rolex watches


Shopping for pre-owned Rolex watches or buying new watches from a non-authorized Rolex dealer has many benefits.

But since there are circulating many fake Rolex watches, it’s important that you know the tells to check if a Rolex is authentic or if it’s fake.

If you buy from Millenary watches, you don’t have to worry about your Rolex watch being fake since we have many years of experience, and will never sell a counterfeit watch, and will make sure that each timepiece is authentic and genuine before putting it up for sale.

11 thoughts on “How to Check if a Rolex is Authentic and Genuine [Complete Guide]

  1. Nice article, but I don’t understand #6.

    “Rolex started engraving the crystal on their watches from 2002 onwards with a minuscule Rolex crown, right by the 6 o’clock.

    “Since this is so tiny and hard to make, counterfeiters tend to overlook this feature, and so if your watch has a micro-etched Rolex crown, it’s most likely fake.”

    If “…counterfeiters tend to overlook this feature…” (the micro-etched crown), why do you say “…if your watch has a micro-etched Rolex crown, it’s most likely fake.”?

    1. Hi!
      Thank you for your feedback! It’s a typo. It should be NOT fake. Thanks for pointing it out.

      Kind regards,
      Millenary Watches

    2. They do not say that learn to read. It says ( it’s most likely not a fake . And the word not is darker than the other words. So get some glasses so you know what you are reading. So you don’t look like a idiot

      1. Pretty sure that they corrected the type-o once it was brought to their attention. That’s also why it is in BOLD lettering.

  2. Is it possible to get paperwork for an old gold Rolex with leather steap

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      You can read about it here:

      Kind regards,
      Millenary Watches

  3. I bought a Rolex with all paperwork box ect has serial number which matches on phone which matches is this a real rolex ?????

    1. Hi,
      For authentication, please refer to this page:

      Kind regards,
      Millenary Watches

  4. I found a rolexoyster serial number 62523h16 im trying to sale it 2693315720 John

  5. Ok now I know for a fact that one of mine for sure is a fake. I have one that I don’t think is very attractive. But it’s got the extremely fine perfect lettering (when I look at it through a jewelers eye) no etched crown by 6 o’clock. My all silver one I am sure is real. It’s beautiful and I can’t find anything about it that looks less than perfect. The only thing is that I hit it extremely hard on the crystal resulting in a deep scratch on the cyclops. I tried and tried sanding it with 2000 and 3000 sand paper and now it’s difficult to read the date.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for sharing.
      Rolex sapphire crystals cannot be polished. Only those made in acrylic. You can read more here:

      Kind regards,
      Millenary Watches

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