It’s well known that fakers are out there making replicas of prestige watches. Rolex is the most popular, followed closely by Cartier, Patek Phillipe, Audemars and then lesser makes like Breitling and TAG. Really sad characters sometimes fake Michael Kors watches, such is the depth of their despair. So how do you spot a fake Patek Phillipe and why aren’t your local Trading Standards even bothered to go and take them off the market?
It is a baffling mystery, revealed today as I spotted a `Patek Marriage watch’ on Facebook, complete with what appeared to be a Patek Phillipe watch box with it. Now a marriage watch is way of re-casing an old pocket watch movement from the 1880-1930 era in a modern case. Nothing wrong with that and this heap of rubbish may have contained a genuine Patek ladies pocket watch movement – although I doubt it. But the photo of the box revealed it as a fake immediately. Just compare the real Patek typeface with the fake script in the pics below.
The narrow letters, the `bleed’ into the material, and the wrong colour of ink all give it away as a fake – not a decent one at that.
Then there’s the rubbish steel case, the poor finish on the lugs, crown and folding clasp. It’s a cheap watch.
So I reported it to my local Trading Standards, thinking they might visit the shop, or at least contact the online retailer and examine this so-called Patek. No..of course not! Too busy and anyway all they were bothered about was that the Patek trademark was being used correctly on a watch box, not a T-shirt, some naff trainers or plastic sunglasses.
So our top tip when looking at a bargain Swiss watch online is to examine the box and paperwork very closely. Ideally, you want to see a full set of paperwork and cards with prestige watches. But they can be lost over 30 years of course. If there’s a box, does the logo look correct, arrow straight letters, right font etc? Then if there are serial numbers, or little holograms download the images put them into Google Images to do a match.
You see, faking a dial with Patek Phillipe, Geneve, on it is relatively easy with modern CAD/3D print technology, but faking all the packaging is not as easy. That’s because accurately reproducing the subtle variance in pantones, typography, logoscripts, plus materials used in wooden, or heavy ply card/paper boxes, plus plastic hologrammed card inserts etc all requires a team of outsourced factories. You can’t get one Leonardo level genius to fake it all. Obviously involving other respectable packaging and printing companies in your fake watch scam can be risky, so that’s why the box and paperwork is often the big giveaway with replica Swiss watches. Hope that helps you avoid buying dreadful fakes like this Patek.
If you do get stung, don’t expect much help from Trading Standards, because with public sector enforcement being as weak as this, the watch fakers of the web are having it large.