Wristwatch FAQ’s

With my inaugural issue of FAQ on Watches I would like to address what I believe to be the most frequent of the FAQ’s: “How can I tell if my watch is real or fake?” The easiest answer to this question is in fact another question; “Where did you get it?” The answer to this is varied. I usually hear such things as “It was a gift” or “I bought it used” or “I bought it on an online auction”. If you purchase your timepiece through a reputable, authorized retailer, this is a question you never have to ask, but with most people asking this question this is not the case (with the exception of gifts received). When clients either email or call us with the question, it is difficult at best to determine whether the timepiece they are holding is genuine. Here are a few key points you can use in making the determination:

  • Price ~ the old cliché “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” holds true.
  • Serial Numbers ~ if there is no serial number I consider the watch to be of questionable origin.
  • Boxes & Papers ~ again if these are not available for a “new” watch I would again question the origin.
  • Buttons without functions ~ if your timepiece has buttons that are just for looks, chances are it is not authentic.

If at all possible, take the timepiece in question to the nearest authorized retailer for that brand. A good salesperson should be able to tell if your timepiece is authentic.
There are many replicas (fakes) all over the internet today for just about every brand. For our webblog the most asked about timepieces are Breitlings. It seems that many are coming to the US via our troops in the Middle East and via the online auction companies. Some key points you can look for with regards to Breitling are:

  • Model Number/Serial number combinations ~ many of the replicas contain a “model number” that begins with a letter followed by 5 or 6 numbers and the serial number 1111. (i.e. A26032/ No1111)
  • Model Numbers ~ Breitling has a specific code they follow for their watches. It follows this format and has for some time; A= All Steel, B= Two-Tone (gold rider tabs & crown), D=Steel & 18kt, E= All Titanium, F= Two-tone Titanium, H= 18k Rose Gold, J= 18k White Gold, K= 18k Yellow gold and L= Platinum. For example if you have an all steel watch and the “model” number begins with a B, it is probably not authentic.

Remember, the best way to be sure a new timepiece you are buying is authentic is to purchase through an authorized retailer. If you are buying pre-owned, there are many reputable dealers for pre-owned timepieces. Be very cautious when purchasing through online auctions. We have had more than a few customers tell us they had spent in excess of $3,000.00 only to find out it what they purchased was not authentic.

I hope this information is helpful to you in making a determination about your timepiece. To locate an authorized dealer nearest you to take your timepiece in for evaluation, look under retailers on the brand website.

About Steve

Stephen Culcasi’s passion is for fine timepieces. He discovered his love of fine watches when he entered the industry ten years ago and brings extensive experience in retail management and private client service to Lussori. Stephen takes pride in the impressive selection of timepieces offered at Lussori which is located on Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California and has a keen eye for spotting new trends. His clients make up a who’s who list of celebrities, high profile business people, and respected collectors worldwide. Stephen holds a bachelors degree from Cal State Long beach. He enjoys restoring antique cars and photography.

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