Fake Rolexes Are Dangerous In The $20B Used Watch Industry. How Do Dealers Spot Them?

In the multibillion-dollar used watch industry, fake Rolexes are not only a nuisance; they can be downright dangerous. With sophisticated counterfeiters flooding the market with fake luxury watches, dealers have their work cut out for them when it comes to detecting these fraudulent timepieces. So, how do reputable dealers spot these fakes and protect their customers from buying a dud? Read on to learn more about this critical issue facing the used watch industry.


The luxury watch industry is worth billions of dollars, with high-end brands like Rolex commanding significant market share. Between 2011 and 2021, Rolexes outperformed gold, real estate, and stocks, demonstrating the investment potential of these watches. However, with high demand comes an increased risk of counterfeit products, and the used watch industry is no exception. The market for fake watches has thrived, with counterfeit versions being sold at a fraction of the price of genuine models. This poses a significant threat to the industry and its buyers, as fake watches may not only be unreliable but also dangerous. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Rolexes, counterfeit watches, and how dealers like John Buckley spot them.

The Used Watch Industry

The used watch industry is now worth $20 billion and growing, with younger generations now fueling much of the demand surge. Platforms like TikTok have helped increase the visibility of secondhand Rolexes, making them more appealing to a younger crowd. However, the rise in demand has also led to a proliferation of fake watches in the market, which can pose a significant challenge for dealers and buyers alike.

Counterfeit Watches

Fake watches are a common issue in the luxury watch industry, and dealers need to be careful when purchasing used timepieces. Counterfeit Rolexes can be incredibly convincing and can be sold at a price point that seems too good to be true. In many cases, fake watches will have minor differences from genuine Rolexes, such as slightly differing font sizes or spacing. Still, other fake watches may be of significantly lower build quality, leading to reliability issues.

Rolex Quality

Rolex has a reputation for quality, and it is a key factor in their high demand. Each Rolex watch is handmade with high-quality materials, ensuring that they are built to last. The design and construction of each watch are critical in ensuring that it performs accurately and consistently, even under extreme conditions.

Spotting Fake Rolexes

John Buckley is a veteran watch dealer in New York’s diamond district, and he is an expert in buying, selling, and repairing Rolexes. He has developed various methods to spot fake watches, such as a scratch test, which involves scraping the case with a small knife to check for a gold layer. He also observes the symmetry of the case, as fake watches often have sub-optimal finishing work. Additionally, he compares the watch’s serial number, model, and bracelet codes with Rolex’s official website.

Dealing with Counterfeit Watches

Dealers like John Buckley do not purchase fake watches, as it poses a significant risk to their business reputation. They are aware of the legal and moral consequences of selling counterfeit products and take measures to avoid them. U.S. Customs agents have seized many counterfeit watches at JFK airport by looking at the boxes and using advanced methods to detect fake watches.

Future of Secondhand Rolexes

Despite the risks of counterfeit watches in the industry, there is still high demand for Rolexes in the secondhand market. This demand is only likely to increase as younger generations take an interest in these watches. It is essential to be aware of the potential risks of buying used Rolexes, and buyers should always go to reputable dealers with proven track records.


In conclusion, counterfeit Rolexes pose a significant threat to the $20 billion used watch industry, making it essential for dealers to be vigilant when dealing with used timepieces. Counterfeit watches can be dangerous and unreliable, impacting both the buyers and the sellers. Genuine Rolexes are handmade and of high quality, and dealers like John Buckley have developed methods to spot fake watches to ensure reliability and trust. The future of secondhand Rolexes remains bright, but buyers should always exercise caution when seeking a vintage watch.


  1. Why is the used watch industry so lucrative?
  2. Why are counterfeit Rolexes a significant concern for the industry?
  3. How can dealers like John Buckley spot fake Rolexes?
  4. What are the risks of buying a counterfeit Rolex?
  5. How can buyers ensure they are purchasing a genuine Rolex?

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