Monday, 8 August 2011

Ben's Fake Rolex

Here we have a fake Rolex from Thailand. As you can see, from a distance it looks pretty good. The colors are right, the case design, the style of hands, good weight, dial markings etc... All of these things add to the overall presentation of the watch and its good (not great) counterfeiting effort.

Towards the bottom of the crystal, the 'laser' etching is seen, this is a design feature that has been introduced by Rolex in the recent decade to add another level of difficulty for the producers of fake units. However with this particular piece, the device does appear to be a decal and is also off centre.
 The case back is another area that you would expect to see some movement/caliber information or perhaps serial numbers. However, all we get with this piece is a green holographic 'Rolex' sticker.
These next two photos show either side of the case and the respective crown logos, apart from the finish on the logos, they do appear to be reasonable. What is not clear from these photos is the poor finish on the inside of the case lugs, with sharp unfinished edges, the insides of the lugs can cut your finger if you're not paying attention during handling.
Off course, the definitive proof that the watch is a fake can been shown very easily by taking off the case back. Here we have a less-than-bog-standard, poorly finished, likely Chinese automatic movement.
 The first thing that you will notice about the movement is the lack of ease with which the rotor swings on the automatic winding bridge. It does require a bit of a push to get going, but it likes to find itself in 2 or 3 positions around the center pivot.
Next, we have the movement out of the case. Apart from the dial being a flimsy piece of metal that is glued (instead of being held down be a couple of screws), it looks fair enough.
If you're planing on reading this watch at night, you'll be disappointed. There isn't any lume on the hands.
Now we can start the dissection of the movement.....
Once the automatic winding bridge is removed, the first thing that I noticed was that the winding system is uni-directional. This makes for a very inefficient winding system. Another design problem, seen throughout the movement, is the thin and flimsy plates used to fix the winding system, gear train, center wheel, etc.
Once the winding bridge is removed, you'll notice that holes in the bridge that contain the friction jewels are, well, not circular. They're pentagonal or hexagonal. This is likely due to the method of construction, which may have involved using punches to create the space for the jewel bearings. This is probably related to the thinness of the plate, which to avoid deforming during a punch would necessitate a thin piece of metal. The other problem with this method is the contract points between the jewel and bridge. In a quality Swiss movement, the holes would be circular, to match the jewels. This would create a point of contact between the jewel and the bridge around the whole circumference of the jewel. In this watch there are only 5 or 6 points of contact between the jewels and the bridge plate, meaning that the jewels could fall out with a light knock (UPDATE - disappearing jewels are this movement's CoD).

On the obverse of the movement, you'll notice that there are two spots of glue on the plate which affixed the dial.
 Back to the reverse of the movement, here is the gear train bridge removed. It is very poorly finished.
 On top of the mainspring barrel, the screw fixes to the barrel arbor can be seen as clearly deformed. This is due to the wrong sized screw driver being used on the movement, probably during assembly.
When this was being assembled, it was done so by someone with greasy hands who left fingerprints all over the movement.
Once the main obverse plate is removed, you can see the date wheel advance and the minute/hour wheels
 Here, the only remaining components on the mainplate are the keyless works.
The stripped down plates: (except for the center wheel, cannon pinon, and bottom balance jewels and anti-shock device)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post......

    Thanks for time you put into it.