Genuine Rolex Characteristics

Genuine Rolex watches can be identified by several telling characteristics.
Genuine Rolex watches can be identified by several telling characteristics. (Image: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Rolex watches are known around the world as some of the most acclaimed and distinguished timepieces in history. For this reason, they are also some of the world’s most frequently counterfeited items. The following characteristics will help you determine whether your Rolex is indeed authentic, or a counterfeit model. If you are still unsure, take your watch to an independent watchmaker or knowledgeable jeweler for further expert examination.

Heavy Weight

All genuine Rolex watches are surprisingly heavy since they are fabricated from solid gold, heavy grade steel or platinum. Rolex replicas, on the other hand, are generally be much lighter in weight.


Authentic Rolex bracelets are fabricated with links held together with heavy-duty screws as opposed to flimsy pins found in many counterfeit versions. All genuine Rolex bracelet clasps also feature a small pin, finished on both ends. Other bracelet characteristics include a stamp on the inside of the folding clasp, with the name “Rolex” surrounded by a series of scrolled lines, and a slight unevenness in thickness with links closer to the case being thicker than those toward the clasp.

Sweeping Movement

On authentic Rolex watches, apart from the Oyster Quartz model, the second hand features a sweeping, smooth movement that ticks at the rate of 5 to 8 times per second. This is known as the Rolex Oyster Movement. Many Rolex replicas feature a ticking second hand, or slightly better fakes may exhibit a jerky, sweeping motion.

Pointed Hands

Genuine Rolex watches exhibit pointed second and minute hands, with sport models, such as the Submariner and GMT having a bulbous end to the hour hand. Counterfeit watches will, more often than not, have second and minute hands with square ends.

Case Back Markings

Look at the back of the watch. All authentic Rolex models have a hologram-encoded sticker on the case back that includes the watch's model reference number and an imprint of the Rolex Crown logo. The only exceptions to this are some ladies’ models produced before 1990, which were engraved with “Original Oyster Case by Rolex,” and the Sea Dweller model, which is engraved with “Rolex Oyster Original Gas Escape Valve” on the case back.

Cyclops Lens

The Rolex Cyclops lens, which is attached to the crystal over the date window, magnifies the date by two and a half times, allowing for easy reading. In counterfeit Rolex watches, this lens is usually not as powerful and may not be positioned directly over the date aperture.

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