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.