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Concurrent with being the most recognized upscale watch on earth, Rolex is also the timepiece that is most often misrepresented. This chicanery runs the gamut from blatant (easy to spot) $50 counterfeits, sold on street corners around the world, to ultra-sophisticated, almost undetectable, frauds which have fooled even some official Rolex jewelers.

Authentic Rolex Watch
Capetown is not an authorized Rolex jeweler.

Counterfeit Rolex Watch

In recent years, technology has evolved to the point where ingenuous counterfeiters can “nearly” replicate almost anything in Rolex's inventory. The newest and most egregious rip-off involves combining an authentic Rolex movement taken out of the least expensive Rolex model and putting it into a counterfeit gold case and bracelet. Recently, Rolex successfully litigated a case in Texas where movements taken from stainless steel Submariners were coupled with gold ersatz cases and bracelets thereby creating a $19,250 timepiece out of a used $3,000 stainless steel Submariner. If not for Rolex's ever-vigilant legal department and their timely lawsuit, one could only guess as to how many of these watches would have ended up on unsuspecting consumers’ wrists.

As if avoiding the evolving, innovative skills of the counterfeiter were not enough, the buyer also needs to be aware of the following, sometimes innocuously appearing, factors and nuances that could dramatically affect the price of new and pre-owned Rolex watches:

  • Is the new Rolex really new??? Or has it been previously purchased, worn for awhile and then recycled to an unwary buyer?
    This scenario could affect buyers making purchases from dealers and discounters who offer their clients liberal return priviledges. Is a Rolex watch that has been in the hands of the original buyer for 30 days, returned, and then resold as new... really new? We don't think so!

    We feel that "really new" means a watch that has been sold only once, purchased either from an authorized Rolex dealer with the appropriate warranty certificate or from a time-tested, independent, ethical dealer who's expertise and integrity guarantees the buyer that the watch they are purchasing is indeed authentic and unquestionably new. Of equal importance is the independent discounter's demonstrated ability to provide the proficient in-house repair service that meets or exceeds the manufacturer's warranty. (Note: Rolex generally only provides warranty service to watches purchased from authorized Rolex dealers.)

  • Capetown's master craftsmen return every pre-owned Rolex to scratch-free, sparkling-fresh, showroom-perfect condition. All are accompanied with Capetown's Exclusive Limited Lifetime Warranty.
    If pre-owned - is there verification that the watch has been properly serviced?
    Or is there a $400 - $500 deferred maintenance bill waiting to happen in 90 days, six months, or a year? The factory scheduled maintenance for a Rolex Oyster Perpetual is intricate and costly. Therefore, the seller's claim, private or dealer, that the watch was just serviced has to be held suspect. If dealing with a private party, ask to be shown the repair invoice which should specify what type of maintenance was performed, when it was performed, and who performed it. (Bear in mind, if purchasing from a private party, you have no recourse once they have your money.) If purchasing from a dealer, get their warranty in writing.

    A properly serviced Rolex Oyster should operate to factory specifications for approximately four years. Most dealers only offer a one year warranty. Often times, other than buffing the exterior of the case and bracelet, nothing is done to restore the movement to factory specifications. These dealers are willing to gamble that the watch will run for another year without any problems.

  • The model # on all Rolex Oysters is stamped on the side of the case at the 12 o'clock position.
    Capetown is not an authorized Rolex jeweler.

    Does the watch you're being shown conform to the imprinted model number on its case?
    Or has it been cosmetically upgraded to emulate a more expensive model? As an example, either a new or pre-owned Stainless Steel Man’s Datejust (retail $2975) can be upgraded to the stainless steel and gold model which retails for $5300. Even if this upgrade is done using all genuine factory parts, the price is slightly affected. If the conversion is performed utilizing after-market parts, the price needs to be further adjusted.

    When in doubt, the wise buyer can compare the imprinted model number of the watch with its physical description as depicted in a current Rolex catalog. While The Rolex Watch Company does not condone nor perform conversions or upgrades, when ethically disclosed and properly executed, they offer the consumer a valuable alternative to buying new.

  • What is the manufacturing generation of the pre-owned watch you are being offered? As previously mentioned, Rolex has been making watches since 1905. Many of their most desirable models have gone through several generational changes. To the layperson, assuming these watches are all in the same condition, they may all look the same. As an example, the Rolex 18Kt day-date perpetual, A.K.A. "The President," has been in production since 1956. During that time there have been four minor generational changes. Insignificant as the differences between these 1st and 4th generation models are, they can result in price variances of more than $4000 dollars. The bottom line - to properly determine the value of the watch being offered, you must be aware of its generation. If you need to know more about distinguishing between different generations of Rolex timepieces, please click here for our Rolex generations chart.
    Capetown is not an authorized Rolex jeweler.

  • If the Rolex watch contains diamond accessories, how does their origin and quality affect its value? Poorly executed dials and bezels are not always easy to spot, but they are always a detriment to the watch's value. Perhaps this is why The Rolex Watch Company considers any after-market additions to be non-genuine. Rolex factory authorized gemstone-set dials, bezels, bracelets, etc. are made to the highest quality standards. Rarely does one encounter non-authorized accessories that are made to these exacting specifications.

    Capetown's Geneva Collection® always adds value to your Rolex.

    Where art and technology meet to create America's finest accessories.
    Capetown is not an authorized Rolex jeweler.
    These precision crafted gemstone accessories are the culmination of a twenty-five year commitment to quality. We believe that they are both technically, gemologically, and asthetically analagous to their authorized editions and offer the consumer a valuable alternative to buying the more expensive Rolex authorized parts. Since 1973, thousands of clients have enjoyed our gemstone enhancements without ever compromising the integrity and performance of their precious timepieces.

    Rolex 18kt/SS Bracelet
    "Plum tuckered out"
  • What is the exterior condition of the case and bracelet? Are they suffering from excessive wear due to misuse, neglect, or improper polishing? Is the bracelet in the throes of irrepairable metal fatigue? (The retail price of a Rolex stainless-steel and gold replacement bracelet starts at $1700!!) One or more of these symptoms can dramatically reduce the value of a pre-owned Rolex.

  • Is there a financial advantage to purchasing a Rolex at auction?
    Generally no. Most auction services are not technically able to assess the quality and validity of a Rolex watch. This is why they absolve themselves of any liability involving financial redress to the buyer. Even prestigious auction houses including Christie's and Sotheby's do not guarantee condition. However, they do carefully examine each and every item and thereby you are reasonably protected against buying a counterfeit watch or unwittingly purchasing one that has after-market components.

Gavel goes down
It's sold... As is!

In regard to unvetted web auctions, be advised that there is an ongoing scenario of serious fraud and misrepresentation involving Rolex watches which leaves the duped buyer little or no recourse.

The Marcus Family Stands Behind
Every Rolex Sold.
, you say, "This is a very, very tricky business. How the heck does a layperson keep from getting cheated? Maybe I should just bite the bullet and go to an authorized Rolex jeweler and pay full retail."

"Stop", we say. Save your money! There is no need to resort to such drastic measures. For more than 30 years, the Marcus Family has provided thousands of clients nationwide with a simple solution to all of their Rolex needs. For security, selection, and value, nobody beats Capetown.

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