Buying a used Rolex Day Date might seem like a daunting proposition for any buyer as they are probably one of the most popular watches to be targeted for creating clones and the newer super clones.
Pre-Owned Rolex Day-Date Buyers Guide
These watches have been known to be extremely close to the originals and have often fooled even seasoned buyers. That is why you have to be very careful when looking for a Rolex over any other used watch on the market. Of course, Rolex’s aren’t the only watches to be cloned, though you’re more likely to stumble across a fake Rolex than any other high-end watchmaker. That is why we have created this handy buyers guide to help you avoid those nasty fake watches that are out there.
1. If It Looks Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
I’m pretty sure that most of us will have been thought this thing at some point in our life, but it’s thought to us for a reason, and that is to help us from getting scammed. If a watch is too cheap or looks too good for the price point it’s at, then it could likely either be fake or stolen which is something you don’t want. Typical sellers of these watches tend to offer anywhere from approximately 30% to 70% off the retail price. But for Rolex’s, that is a bit different as sometimes they can sell more used than they would have cost new. This is one of the side effects of Rolex’s way of dealing with things and how hard it is to buy one new.
A prime example of this would be to take a look at the 2021 Rolex Day-Date (ref 228238.) pictured below. If a pre-owned watch seller is offering this for anything around £10000 or less, then you know that they’re up to no good and it’s likely stolen or fake. Ideally, the used price for these watches would be around the £25,000 mark as they retail for around £29,350 new from Rolex and often sell above £30K via resellers. So our tip is to do your thorough research and find out the current market value of your watch as well as the price pre-owned.
2. Ask The Seller About The Rolex Day Date Watch’s History
Any good seller that has a solid reputation for being trustworthy and reliable and wants to keep it that way will offer any information about this with no complaint. Bad sellers or scammers will feed you a lie about how the history of a watch is not important, and their products are 100% genuine; if they do this, don’t hand over any money. A watch’s history is important, especially for a luxury one as it can be worth a lot less if they don’t have it as its history lets you know exactly where the watch has been and if it’s all genuine.
Take this Rolex Day-Date 40 Platinum Ice Blue Roman Dial for example. This watch often sells for well over £50K, and for that, you want all the history and documents to be in order. If you are interested in the watch and wish to buy one, but the history isn’t mentioned, contact the seller and ask if it comes with the watch as it should be documented. If it doesn’t, then you might want to think twice about buying it – unless you like a little risk that is.
3. Thoroughly Research The Seller
One other important thing you need to do when looking at buying a used Rolex is to research the seller. Here you want to deep-dive into a sellers reputation and see if there is anything that sticks out and is concerning. Some red flags aren’t that obvious, so here are a few things to look out for when looking into a seller. The first one is to check their social media; if they have any, also check third-party review sites, and of course Google the seller to see if there is any info on them. Another good sign to look out for is a brick-and-mortar store. That is because if you do have a problem, you can always visit. Also, take a look at the seller’s site; if it looks unprofessional, then you’d likely want to avoid them unless everything else checks out. Look out for well-designed user-friendly sites as this is a good sign the seller is legit.
Another tip is to check published reviews from real customers; beware of the fake reviews as some dodgy sellers will pay users to write overly positive reviews about their services. These are normally easy to pick out as they are very positive, with no criticisms. Now not all positive reviews are like this; so it can be a bit of a nightmare fishing out the real from the fake. One top tip is to look for verified reviews as they let you know a buyer has purchased from that seller, and isn’t just paid for. Next, you want to look on forums as usually, sellers don’t target forums with positive reviews as most forums don’t allow that sort of thing. So take a look to see if anyone has had dealings with the seller you are researching, and you could find just what you’re looking for.
4. Make Sure The Seller Is Offering A Warranty And Check To See If They Are Qualified To Service it
Some not so good sellers may claim that they have serviced a watch and that it has been done to their standards high standards, but you need to be certain that whoever carried out the service, did a proper job, and if they used real OEM parts or not. Any good seller that offers servicing should have some professionally trained watch repair personnel that know how to correctly do their job. If they don’t do servicing or haven’t serviced it, then make sure you know a reliable one as the watch you could be buying, could potentially need a good service to make sure everything is right. Take Chrono24 for example, on the majority of their listings it states whether the watch has been inspected or not, you can usually spot this by clicking “More Information” which is normally displayed under the price.
5. Look out for Rolex Day Date stock photos
When looking to buy a used watch of any price, I want to be able to see the watch so I can tell what it looks like and its condition. If a seller is only using easily found stock photos for a used watch, then ask for some proper photos of the watch in question, if they refuse – walk away as it’s not worth the risk. If a seller can’t be bothered to provide the real images, then they’re likely hiding something or possibly haven’t even got the watch they’re selling. If the seller is good then they should offer photos with no fuss or just offer proper photos in the first place.
6. Always Buy From Sellers With An Easy To Understand And Transparent Returns Policy
The watch you’re looking at looks great, right? it has a solid description, and the correct details are in order, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be all it’s cracked up to be when it’s delivered to you. If for whatever reason you aren’t satisfied or you feel something is off – then having a seller with an easy to understand returns policy is key. The last headache you need is having to decrypt tonnes of policy jargon when it should be written in easy to understand English (or whatever your native language is). Most good sellers should offer a clear 30 days return policy, and the great ones will accept a return with little to no hassle and offer either a replacement or full refund.
7. Ensure The Rolex Day Date You’re Buying Has All The Correct Documents And Original Items
Another vital thing we advise you to do when looking at buying a used Rolex is to ensure it comes with all the correct documents, all the right accessories and of course the OEM box. If all these things are present and accounted for, they can increase the watches value. The original documents should be what came with the watch from the factory as well as notes of any service history (if it has any). This should tell you if the watch has been serviced by a proper certified business as a bad one can cost a lot to fix and rarely might have done damage to the watch that can’t be easily or cheaply fixed. So that little piece of paper can potentially save you a tonne of cash as well as increase the resale value. It’s also a good sign the watch is real too as most fakes don’t contain any service history, so be sure to ask the seller if they have this so it can be included with the watch.
8. Ask The Right Questions
Now you’re armed with all that information, there are a few more questions you should know to ask. These questions should pose no problem if a seller is legit. If they are evasive and refuse to answer, that means they’re holding back something – so walk away. For this example, we’ll be looking at a Rolex Day-date 40mm Platinum (Reference 228206) – just as an example.
- “Has the Rolex 228206 been altered in any way and does it have all its original parts” – You’re asking if the watch has had any changes made to the mechanical components or items such as the crystal. This is important as third-party parts will decrease a watches value and could potentially not be up to par, that is why you want OEM parts all the way through.
- “Does the Rolex have the original factory finish” – Like with the previous question you want the seller to answer “yes” as a re-done watch could potentially be done to a poor standard leading to a tarnished watch with a new lower value.
Now you’re armed with this checklist there are a few more details that need to be looked over, so here we’ll share a few tips on how to spot a fake Rolex.
Weight is important
Rolex makes some amazing watches and uses top-shelf materials to do so which are often more dense and heavier feeling as opposed to a fake which will opt for cheaper lighter materials. This is more true for newer models that use solid-link bracelets as older models had hollow links. So if a Rolex is feeling a little on the light side, then it could be fake. One little tip is to research the actual weight of the watch you are looking at and weigh the one you’re looking at – if they don’t match, then you likely have a fake. This is a bit harder to do when buying online, so you could always ask the seller to send you a picture of the watch on a scale for reassurance.
Check the crown
Another sign to look for is the crown. A real Rolex will have impeccable craftsmanship and spares no detail whereas a fake will likely be less refined and have less fine detail. If you spot a crown that looks like seems too plain or brushed over, this is a real red flag. This is due to fake watches use low-quality materials that can’t withstand the detail work.
The model number and serial stamps
Every real Rolex is marked with a serial and model number which can be found on the watch at the six o’clock position on modern Rolex watches and between the lugs on older ones. Good fakes will have this too, so here’s what to look out for. On an authentic Rolex, the numbers will be deeply engraved into the metal and will be clear. When tilting the watch toward the light you’ll notice the numbers catch the light and reveal a completely symmetrical number. A fakes numbers won’t be as clean and look a little messier. Look out for a grainy appearance and unclean lines as that is a sign you don’t want to see.
Many models of Rolex have a cyclops to magnify the date on the dial. If you brush your finger over the cyclops it should feel like a substantial bump. Fakes will feel flat in comparison. Another thing to look out for is the level of magnification. A real Rolex enlarges the date window by 2.5 times making it appear larger and read easier. If your date isn’t magnified by much, this is another sign of a fake.
One simple trick to spot a fake Rolex is to look at the second’s hand, a real Rolex will move in tiny ticks which appear to sweep and be smooth whereas a counterfeit one will likely tick along less smoothly. If you can’t spot this by eye, a good backup method is to place the watch to your ear and listen. A real Rolex will be almost silent whereas a fake with a stuttering seconds hand will make a louder tick.
Avoid places like eBay and Craigslist
Unfortunately, eBay and Craigslist are rife with fakes, not all are, but they are more common on these platforms, this is why we would advise sticking to a reputable seller when looking to be a pre-owned Rolex.
We’ve already gone over this partially, but what about if the watch passes that inspection? Well this one should be able to help you out. A real Rolex will have a beautiful movement with fine detail and decoration whereas a replica won’t be able to match this. Also, each real movement has Rolex engraved into it. Also, most – well nearly all Rolex models are automatics, so if you have a quartz then it’s likely a fake unless you have a less popular quartz Rolex. However, with the rise of super fakes, counter creators can clone a movement that looks identical to the original, though if you use a loupe or magnifying glass you should be able to tell the difference as the fake won’t be as detailed or refined.
Rolex watches are made to very high standards, and their attention to detail is near perfect. So if you spot a watch with uneven fonts, incorrect spacing, smudges or misspellings; then this is a telltale sign of a fake. Fakes will also be more poorly finished on the hands, dial and bracelets.
In 2002 Rolex began etching the crystals of their watches with their logo, this is hard to see to the naked eye and requires a form of magnification to see it. This etching should be clean and neat whereas fakes will either not have this or it’ll be messy.
There you go, a detailed list to check over before you think about buying a pre-owned Rolex. If you follow our guide, then you should be able to more easily spot a good deal from a bad one as well as find the perfect seller that offers all of this and more. Keep in mind that buying experiences vary from seller to seller which is why WRUK recommends choosing Chrono 24 when shopping for your next luxury purchase as they only work with reputable sellers across the globe and have a great reputation for looking after both buyers and sellers alike.