A replica watch is a personal timepiece that is styled in a similar fashion to a famous maker's original piece. Buying one can seem like a great idea. After all, replicas are cheap, look like the original and can obtained easily. However, replica watches might not be the best deal. Knock-off pieces are often illegal and sold by disreputable vendors.
Replica watches are almost always produced from cheaper materials than the original but sport insignias and marks quite similar to the designer brand.
People who purchase replica watches can be split into two groups: those who know the watch is fake, and those who don't. Those who knowingly purchase a replica may want something that looks nice without paying the price of a designer piece. Unwitting purchasers often think they're getting a great deal on a real timepiece, only to find they've been duped.
There are many types of replicas out there, ranging from designs that merely mimic the original to ones that look incredibly similar to the real thing. For instance, Chanel may put out a range of watches that include interchangeable nylon straps in primary colors and a rounded gold face. Later, another manufacturer may knock off the Chanel original with a watch that has a number of pastel straps and a square gold watch face. In this case, the copycat has taken a basic idea and changed it to something similar, yet different enough to be legal according to copyright law.
Another manufacturer, however, might produce a watch with a round gold face and a set of primary colored straps. The watch face might have a small insignia that looks like two interlocked Ds rather like the famous Chanel "C" logo. The watch might even be packaged in a box that looks like the original. In this case, the maker is probably infringing on Chanel's copyright, and the product is illegal.
The gullible New York City tourist crowing about his $35 Movado watch is a tried-and-true tale. Much of the replica watch trade runs out of New York City, which is full of international importers and traders who sell their wares on crowded streets. Often, these men carry the watches in suitcases and walk among crowds, calling out, "Watches! Get your watches here!" Very seldom do these people sell the watches out in the open, since their stock could be seized on the spot for copyright infringement. Other large cities with easy access to ports and shipping have replica watch sellers, as well.
Replica watches are also available on the Internet. However, purchasing one of these items online may open your credit or debit accounts to people who are peddling suspicious merchandise to begin with. Since reputable online merchant certification services, such as the Better Business Bureau, don't approve of forgery and copyright infringement, it's best not to deal with sites that lack certification.
Price is the first clue to identifying a replica watch. Consumers must be honest and sensible. Is it realistic to find an $800 Tag Heuer watch for $50? Probably not. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Imitation watches are made of inferior materials. Straps may be manufactured from low-grade textiles that wear down easily. Leathers and skins are brittle, with color details simply painted on rather than dyed. Metal finishes are plated rather than solid and may scratch easily, bend or snap.
In the online auction world, it's simple to spot signs of a counterfeit. An article in the New York Times, "Did Ebay Start A Counterfeit Crackdown?" noted that many auctions coming from China, Japan and many East Asian countries are fraudulent and not to be trusted. Even if the merchant offers the purchase receipt, boxes and certification papers, it still may not be a trustworthy product. Packaging can be printed up very easily and cheaply, and sales slips get sold all the time. The bigger brands monitor Ebay constantly for knock-off merchandise through the Vero program. As a result, finding a huge discount on a real designer watch is practically impossible.
After all of these warnings, you may still wish to buy a replica watch. However, it's probably not the best idea. The money that you spend on a counterfeit can be better used toward a high quality timepiece that will last. It's also possible that the purchase price will support unauthorized, criminal activity. After all, the original designers earned nothing from the purchase, which is not fair.
Replica watches are often obvious and can reflect badly on the wearer. Rather than making a good impression, a replica watch often looks tacky. Strive to purchase high quality, genuine articles.
- Photo Credit 2007 Laenulfean / Creative Commons
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