AVOIDING FAKE MILITARY WATCHES
Of course there is a vast difference between a homage watch and a blatant fake. As an example take the Steinhart Submariner which is a nice watch in the spirit of a 1970s MOD Rolex Sub but it does not try to be a knock-off and is sold under its own brand name and is clearly branded Steinhart - see below. The problems surrounding fake military watches as opposed to homage designs like the Steinhart have become increasingly serious in recent years. The problem was highlighted by a friend who contacted me to say he had seen a Rolex military Submariner in a Los Angeles jeweller for $16,900 which would be a major result were the watch genuine but unfortunately it wasn’t although it looked nice and he was almost fooled. The problem is that you only have to Google “Rolex military Submariner replica” and vast numbers of fakes appear so clearly it is not difficult for someone to buy one and then try and age it a bit and maybe then palm it off to some unsuspecting buyer online or perhaps at a watch fair. The problem recently is some watches are already artificially aged or made to look more accurate such as the Rolex fake below.
1970's Pattern Rolex Submariner Fake
Above is the Steinhart Submariner
Below are two more Rolex submariners with the genuine watch on the left and the fake on the right and as you can see they are very close and anyone without experience could easily be fooled.
Genuine 1970's Rolex Military Submariner Fake Rolex Submariner
I have posted a few links to help avoid fake Rolex Submariners be they military knock-offs or the regular models.
This link is very helpful http://www.qualitytyme.net/pages/rolex_or_replica.html both give lots of type to avoid getting caught.
This link specifically deals with the fake military Submariner
Although the problem has not yet become anywhere near as bad with with watches such as the IWC Mark XI Pilot Watch below which whilst very valuable at $8000+ they are not immediately appealing to anyone other than an enthusiast.
IWC Mark XI
My concern is that clearly only a matter of time before fake IWC XI start turning up in quantity because currently even less valuable watches such as the MWC divers models or the CWC G10 are falling victim to the fakers. Of course companies like CWC and MWC are relatively small and can be reached by phone without being transferred to numerous different departments who have no personal interest in the situation. I have posted below some images of a watch recently sold that was purporting to be an MWC and the latest model which is clearly not the case because firstly no such watch appears in the range and the movement is nothing like the Ronda 715li used in the MWC divers watches.
Fake MWC Divers Watch Typical MWC with 10 Year Battery life Ronda 715li Movt
I am aware from speaking to Dieter at MWC in Switzerland that some watches are passed off as genuine MWC and the watch on the left is a fake being passed off as an MWC or current UK issue watch.
FAKE MWC DIVERS WATCH GENUINE MWC DIVERS WATCH
Of course the appearance of fake CWC G10 watches on the market is something that both CWC and collectors are becoming increasingly aware of and some images of various fakes are below.
Fake CWC G10 Models
Fortunately CWC have a good section on their website to help avoid fakes and this should work but I was told recently that there are a few fake SBS models floating around in Kowloon so it might be worth being cautious if buying from a high risk location. Below is the information from CWC which should help buyers ensure they are not ripped off.
Fake CWC watches can be identified by their inferior build quality. This one, for example, has a winder that is not flush with the watch due to being too large to fit into the gap:
On the back of the watch, the engraved numbers are false. The two numbers at the end of the first line denote the NATO country. UK is 99; 86 is not recognized:
Removing the battery hatch to change the battery reveals no battery. The hatch has been put on in the wrong position, making the battery inaccessible:
This is another example of a fake CWC watch. The engraved numbers on the back are again incorrect, but also notice that it has no battery hatch; all genuine tritium watches (denoted by the 'T' on the face) have the battery hatch on the back. Don't be fooled by the CWC logo on this one, it is a poorly made fake.
You will notice the winder is a bad fit on the watches above and the caseback is nothing like the genuine CWC G10 below and of course the genuine CWC uses a Ronda or ETA movement and I have no idea what the movement above is but it's clearly unlikely to be comparable to the genuine CWC. Interestingly the fake MWC below has a similar movement showing that the various fakers are following a fairly tried and tested formula as with most replica watches.
FAKE CWC FAKE MWC
The problem we all have is that it is hard for the average person to know what is fake and what is genuine if someone is just starting out on collecting military watches or just want a watch to wear they might easily be fooled. Of course it might be that the fakes are perfectly serviceable but clearly that is not the point and the concern is that the quality will improve over time making them harder and harder to spot. The Rolex fakes are pretty good already but of course the incentive is potentially there although in reality they tend to only go for $400/$500 on the knock-off sites but with a top of the range CWC G10 at $260 (£155) and the higher spec MWC G10 100m model at somewhat less it is hard to see how the fakers hope to become wealthy copying these models when it can't be much dearer to fake a more commercial brand with greater marketing potential such as Rolex, Omega or Panerai.
The above two images of a CWC GS2000 are quite nice images which show how a genuine CWC should look and you will see that the general quality and fit of the crown is very different to the fake as is the case back and case finish. It should be fairly easy to avoid getting caught out with a bit of care. One source of information which will help avoid a fake CWC is also at the URL below: Avoiding a Fake CWC on eBay
Another move to help avoid fakes being openly sold is to contact CWC, MWC or any other manufacturer when you become aware of a fake being marked. Even though eBay take steps to avoid fakes it is clearly impossible to stamp the problem out completely.