Genuine VS Fake gold Rolex clasp

When it comes to pre-owned Rolex, fake parts are nothing new. But with the ever-increasing demand for pre-owned watches, coupled with soaring prices, it is more important than ever to know what to look out for if you’re thinking of buying one. 

This article will focus on an 18ct gold concealed crown clasp found on an 8385 President bracelet. It’s been said over the years that there is no point in counterfeiting an 18 carat gold Rolex bracelet because it cost too much. So you often see either gold plated or, in some cases, lightweight 9 carat gold copies, masquerading as 18 carat. But now and again, you will come across an actual 18 carat gold copy, and if you’re lucky, or unlucky depending upon the side of the desk you’re sitting, you’ll get one that has all the so-called correct markings.

So what do you look out for? As I have said in numerous posts and articles, the whole aim of a counterfeit piece is to look as close to the genuine article as possible for the least amount of cost. So the quality and the finish should be the first thing to look at. 

 So let’s get into the comparisons and take a closer look. All fake points of reference are in the stereotypical ‘bad guy’ red, whilst the genuine points are in ‘good guy’ green.

Quality & Finish

The marking quality on any precious metal piece should be one of the first things you look at. Remember, it’s a precious metal piece coming from a luxury brand; the quality of any reference numbers or hallmarks, whether engraved or stamped, should look the part. In some cases, it’s easier to spot the fakes solely because whoever was doing the counterfeiting couldn’t spell. Take a look at point 1.

1: Aside from the very poor and uneven stamping, ‘Rolex SA’ is spelt wrong, as the O has been substituted for a C.

2: Poorly defined and incomplete numbers.

3: Swiss hallmark. Before 1995 the Swiss hallmark for 18 carat gold was the head of Helvetia, so you should expect to see her on any 18 carat gold item before this date. After 1995 the head of a St Bernard dog replaced the Helvetia mark. The amusing thing with this counterfeit is that Helvetia not only looks a little less elegant than she normally does and is a little out of proportion with the rest of the markings. But the bracelet’s year code is post 1995, so Helvetia should have been enjoying her retirement, and we should be looking at a St Bernard.


4&5: Poorly stamped and miss-aligned text; it basically looks as if it was put on by someone wearing a blindfold.

6: The finishing always looks rushed, with edges and joins being uneven, sharp and unfinished.

7: As with any type of engraving or stamping, the text and font should be aligned and consistent. The number 5 is poorly imprinted, and the font type does not match the font used for the number 5 in point 2.


There are, of course, many other things I could list, such as weights, screw thread types, dimensions, amongst others, but all of those require a little more time and practice and aren’t overly practical when you’re viewing a watch with the possibility of buying. But one of the key aspects to always look for is the quality and finish of the piece.

I want to add the caveat that all precious metals, even the counterfeits, are prone to wear, so it is not uncommon to find numbers and markings that are worn or only partially legible. Don’t let that put you off, but be mindful. Always buy from a trusted dealer, and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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