How to Spot a Fake Patek Philippe
Owning a Patek Philippe watch is truly an achievement. Founded in Canton of Geneva in 1839, this luxury watch is considered among the best ever produced in Switzerland. The amount of care that goes into each watch has meant that mass production is out of the question. In fact, it’s estimated that only around a million watches have been produced since the origin of the brand.
Given the quality and the relatively low number of watches produced, it should come as no surprise that counterfeiters do their best to come up with fake Patek Philippe watches that are designed to fool quite a number of eager buyers. The good news is that there are some tell-tale signs that you’re looking at a fake rather than an actual Patek Philippe. Take these factors into consideration and you’ll know whether to spend your money or keep looking for the real thing.
Check the Type and Quality of the Metal Used
The company has always been particular about the types of metal used for their watches. The majority of them make use of platinum and gold for the designs. There are some that make use of stainless steel. One factor that unites the use of all three metals is the fact that the company will only use the highest quality of each. There is no room for imperfections.
Counterfeiters are generally more interested in appearance than overall quality. That leads to the use of metals that may be good quality but come nowhere near the quality of the metals used for these watches. You can tell a Patek Philippe Geneve fake by the fact that the metal seems to have some tiny imperfections. Owing to the quality control standards used by the real manufacturer, a watch with any signs of flaws would not be allowed to leave the facility.
Look at the Inside of the Caseback
Another minor details that’s often overlooked is the placement of the serial number. Many watch manufacturers do inscribe the serial number of the outer side of the watch casebacks. In fact, the practice is so common that many counterfeiters don’t give this particular detail a second thought.
One thing you should know about a Patek Philippe is that the serial number will never be on the outside of the caseback. If you look on the inside, the number will be inscribed there. The outer side is usually free of any type of number or other inscription. If you turn the watch over and see numbers on the caseback, then you know that you’re looking at a counterfeit watch.
The Crown and Dial Offer Valuable Clues
While the dial on a fake Patek Philippe watch may look quite a bit like the real thing, there are some minor details that will give the fake away. One has to do with the font used for the lettering. A true Patek Philippe watch uses a distinctive font and also a particular size. Many counterfeiter will either go with a similar font or attempt to use a larger size in order to make the brand name more prominent. There’s also the hope that using a larger font size will distract the potential buyer from noticing other details the dial.
Look closely at the lugs found around the 6 o’clock mark. One of the details that sets the real platinum Patek Philippe apart from the fakes is the use of a small single diamond setting between those lugs. If you’re looking at a watch using what appears to be a larger diamond or is missing this feature altogether, that watch is a fake.
Remember to take a look at the crown. A real Patek Philippe watch will feature a crown that is etched to perfection. The detail will be something that you want to check closely using a magnifying glass. If the design is somewhat mottled or if there is no detail on the crown, rest assured that the watch is not the real thing.
The Heft of the Watch is Another Sign
Weight or heft is another factor that you want to consider closely. Knowing how to tell a fake Patek Philippe Geneve involves considering the fact that the company only uses materials that are higher in quality. That means the watch will be heavier than many lesser brands. If you find that the watch you’re considering right now seems to weigh about the same as a timepiece that you would buy at a discount store, there is no doubt it’s something other than a Patek Philippe.
Take a Look at the Screws
You may not think that the screws used for a watch would tell you a lot, but in this case they will mean something significant. It’s not so much about something that Patek Philippe does with them as what the company does not do with those screws.
There’s a technique used with many brands of watches known as bluing. Basically, this involves heating the screws before they are used in the creation of the watch. The intended purpose is to harden the screws and make them more resistant to wear. The heating itself is that causes the screws to take on a blue shade.
It’s true that even many luxury brands do use bluing for the screws. As it happens, Patek Philippe is one of the few brands that do not use this technique. Given the quality of the screws chosen, there’s really no need.
However, counterfeiters will often use bluing as a way to make lesser quality screws appear to be of higher quality. It doesn’t hurt that many people associated bluing with luxury watches. By knowing that Patek Philippe does not use this approach, you can check the hue of the screws. If they happen to have a hint of blue, that’s a sign the watch is not real.
The Real Deal Comes With a Certificate of Authenticity
Here’s another sign that something is not quite right with the watch. Every Patek Philippe produced comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. It may also be described as a Certificate of Origin. Collectors tend to make sure that those certificates are preserved. If the need arises to sell the watch, the Certificate provides proof that the watch is authentic.
Your job is to determine if the certificate is authentic. Fortunately, it’s possible to educate yourself on what a real certificate issued by Patek Philippe looks like. There are images online that you can use for comparison. If possible, you can also take it to a jeweler who is well-versed in these watches and ask if the certificate is real. When there’s any minor signs that the certificate is not real, you can bet that the watch is a fake too.
Beware of Prices That Seem Too Good to Be True
Since the number of Patek Philippe watches produced are comparatively few, it’s understandable that the price will be significant. The watches do tend to appreciate in value, so even a used watch is likely to cost quite a bit. That’s where knowing how much those watches are currently bringing on the market will help.
If you research the model that is being offered to you and find that the average market price is considerably more than the asking price, you could be looking at a Patek Philippe fake replica watch. While it’s true that a collector may be trying to sell the watch for a specific reason and is thus setting the price below market value, it will still not be a huge difference. That means if you see that the market value is currently around $40,000 and the deal is for $2,500 the watch is most likely a fake.
Remember that some fakes are more carefully crafted than others. If there’s any doubt on your part about the authenticity, it’s best to pass on the deal. You can find real Patek Philippe watches through legitimate dealers who use detailed methods to ensure they only carry the real deal. Stick with them and you’re more likely to end up with a watch that is a true Patek Philippe.