We see a huge amount of fakes kicking around these days, and slowly but surely the fakers are getting better and better at trying to fool people. These fakes can command large money (up to £1k) when being sold as a fake, or sometimes the intention is more devious to pass them off as the real thing and create a chain of unsuspecting victims.
To be honest it makes the trade of dealing high end watches a dangerous game these days unless you really know your stuff, and as a buyer you could end being fleeced and have no idea until it came to sending your watch in for a service.
When I received the opportunity to take a Fake 4130 chronometer apart I decided it was a good opportunity for me to:
- Have a look at the workmanship
- Learn how to spot the fake movement easily
- Examine the lengths that the fakers are going to
At first glance when you take the back off the movement presents almost as expected for the watch it claims to be, but straight away on close examination you can tell that everything is “off”, the quality of the metal, the finish of the parts, the fact that the screw heads are marked where someone has not cared when working them.
When you work on watches and work on Rolex you come to appreciate the quality of the finish and care put into every part, when you mass produce this in dirty environments it sticks out like a sore thumb.
A massive giveaway however is the balance wheel and balance regulation system. Rolex balances adjust the timing with microstellar screws and don’t have a regulating arm.
This is a genuine balance
This is the fake below (no microstellar adjustment and a regulating secondary arm)
What amazes me the most though is the fact that they have gone through the time and effort to create a replica movement (which has to be costly) and then assembled it in the dirtiest environment possible. To put it into context there is enough dirt and excess oil kicking around this movement to stop it dead at any moment.
here are some tear down images of the movement in general – I was surprised to find a cap jewel and kif set up on the escape wheel (that’s normally a thing to look for with 3135 movements)
and there you have it – one replica 4130.
I will be clear where I stand with these things. If someone wants to buy a replica watch for their own pleasure and use that is their choice by spending their money.
A huge amount of people that buy replicas eventually end up owning the real thing after finally finding the finances to afford what they desire.
Personally they are not my thing, I have never owned one and never will. However I do own my own “homages” to some of the iconic watches of the ages, they are clearly branded as such, and have been an important part of my growth exploring my own styles and designs (future releases from me will express my own styles in the future)