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Watches, Fake Watches
Whether you are buying a gift for someone else or treating yourself to something special, high-end designer products are an investment piece which most people don’t have the luxury to just buy off the cuff. With big brand designer bags, watches and jewellery commanding the top prices, it’s easy to see why people may buy a fake version instead.

There’s an old saying, “you get what you pay for”. There are lots of fakes out there, varying in quality - meaning that they could last days or years. But in reality, fakes are becoming more realistic and more buyers are easily tricked into spending their hard-earned money on a fake, thinking it’s the real deal and believing that they have scored a bargain.

The quality of fake designer goods is getting better. In fact, what makes them fake could only be distinguishable by a trained eye - so what can you look out for? Here at H&T, we share some of our top tips on how to spot the fake from the fortune.

How to spot a fake designer product

Whether you are buying your first designer item or are a seasoned high-end shopper, fake designer products are getting harder to spot. Unless, of course, you know what you are looking for. Here are some of our top tips for distinguishing a real from a fake:


  • Real designer bags do not come with authenticity cards
  • Tags should not be attached to the bag, these usually come with the receipt or are tucked into the packaging
  • Designer bags usually have a serial number
  • The bag should look and feel high-quality. Check for even stitching, tidy material, no frayed edges and clear colour matching
  • Solid construction (dependent on materials) - designer bags should not be flimsy and should hold their shape
  • Designer products are made to last - check for quality hardware. If the product tarnishes easily or loses its colour, it’s fake
  • Some designer bags have insert linings which are noticeable straight away, these are usually mimicked from images


  • Purchase from an established jewellers
  • Make note of the image quality if buying online - is it high-quality? Is it trustworthy?
  • Designer jewellery will always come with official packaging and dust bags
  • Dependant on the type of jewellery but the daintier the more high-quality it is
  • Check for stamping! Designer jewellery will usually be hallmarked
  • Check for any discoloration on the skin when wearing. High-quality jewellery won’t change colour or discolour your skin


  • Look for sellers/dealers who specialise in authorising as well as service using authentic Rolex parts
  • A genuine high end watch will feel heavy due to high quality materials
  • The second hand movement on the watch should not be rigid
  • The model name and serial number on a fake may be used across all of their pieces rather than individual ones
  • Check for the official branding and compare with a genuine model if you can
  • The fine details won’t be as refined, including placement and spacing etc
  • Forgeries usually miss extra details including additional functionality

Real vs fake: Put our tips to the test

Now you know some of the key things to look out for, put our tips to the test and see if you can spot which products below are counterfeit:

The Rolex Submariner

Image credit: r/Watches u/horologyhouse

Quality has been improving over the years with modern Rolex Datejust and Rolex Submariner as the prime target for replicas. These two watches look almost identical but one is a genuine Rolex watch and the other is a very, very good fake. Were you able to spot that the watch on the right is the real deal?

As well as looking for the pointers we’ve listed above, if you’re trying to distinguish a counterfeit from the actual goods, you’re going to need to have a keen eye for detail!

When trying to spot the counterfeit between these two watches, you want to be looking for those ultra fine details such as:

  • The fake will have a blue anti-reflective coating which doesn't do as good a job at cutting out glare
  • The magnifying window may look different on a fake. This should be 2.5x
  • The markers are ever so slightly more rounded on the edge of a genuine Rolex watch front
  • The spacing on the text will be different - the letters will be further apart on a genuine watch. If you look closely at the baton for 6 on the fake, you can see it’s slightly tilted
  • Despite looking almost identical, the print of on the fake will be slightly thinner
  • Take a closer look at the hands - the edges on the fake will be coarser than those on the genuine
  • On a Rolex, check for the cyclops lens on the crystal, where the date will be magnified
  • The crown on the crystal should include a small lasers symbol

The Gucci Marmont Clutch Bag

At first sight, this genuine Gucci Marmont Clutch Bag side by side with a good replica, it’s incredibly hard to spot the counterfeit from the real thing. In fact, it’s the bag on the left which is the real deal.

It’s difficult to notice at first glance, but when you start to look closer to the bag, this is when you’ll spot its flaws. The fake bag as you can see in the below image curves when open, highlighting a structural issue. Real designer images will also be high quality and not include other unbranded products within its display image.

While there are some general things to look for with fake bags, you should also look for the following when purchasing a Gucci bag:

  • The serial number should be on a leather patch at the top of the bag - if this is somewhere on the sides it is a fake bag, they should also be stacked and not alpha-numerical
  • The trademark symbol might be missing or G in Gucci may look odd or have strange lettering
  • Check the logo quality. Are the G’s overlapping and not interlocking?
  • The hardware will be durable and anti-scratch
  • Genuine bags come with a controllato card. This means that the quality has been verified - however these can easily be forged
  • The Monogram should be clear and systematic
  • The stitching should be tidy, neat and high-quality
  • The bag should be well manufactured and shouldn’t include curved edges

Vivienne Westwood Orb Necklace

Image credit: Imgur.

When shopping for jewellery by iconic British designer, Vivienne Westwood, you may come across many counterfeit items. Did you guess that the necklace on the right is the fake? Here is how to tell the good from the bad:

  • The item should always come with a dust bag and branding packaging. These look really different between the real thing and a fake; a fake will have a suede dust bag which a logo which is off-center and a box which will discolour gradually
  • The real thing will have a dainty chain with fine jewels (left) - a fake will be bulkier
  • There will be a VW saturn logo on the clasp of a genuine necklace
  • On the orb design, there will be a thicker cross backing on the real item and a thinner backing on the fake
  • The oval tag on the chain will feature Vivienne Westwood text with no outline
  • The circular indentation behind the ‘orb’ will be flatter on the real necklace and deeper on the fake

Top tips from H&T

As pawnbrokers who buy and sell designer goods, we know a thing or two about how to spot a counterfeit item. Before you part with your cash, consider the following:

  • Before you buy, do the research - always buy from a trusted seller where possible, if purchasing online check reviews and feedback, make sure they aren’t a new seller and try to get a guarantee included
  • If the price you have been offered seems too good to be true, then it is! Always research the price of both pre-owned designer items and original retail price before purchasing.
  • Look for spelling mistakes on labels, logos and instructions. Genuine items will not have any spelling mistakes at all as they will need to pass several quality checks before being sold.
  • Paperwork is no guarantee that the item is genuine. Paperwork can be forged as easily as the item itself.
  • If possible compare the item to a known genuine example.
  • Always get a receipt - and check it! Better yet, ensure there’s a returns policy so you can have the item checked by a professional before settling on your purchase
  • If in doubt, leave it out. While we all love a bargain, fake designer products are illegal. The design of an item belongs to the designer, so when a person or company rips it off, they're stealing (intellectual property theft).

If you own a genuine designer item which you’re looking to sell to a reliable dealer for the best price, you can sell with us here at H&T.

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By H&T Pawnbrokers