Can You Spot the Counterfeit IWC?

A friend recently traveled to Beijing on a business trip.  While he was there, he took a picture of a $30 “IWC” watch.  Can you spot the differences between the knock-off and the real deal? (Okay – so this one is fairly easy when you compare side by side)

There are several differences.  Some are obvious – like the date.  We won’t spoil the fun for you.  How many other differences can you spot in the pictures?

First is the real deal (below):

IWC Portuguese, IWC, watch

And next is the knock-off (below):

Counterfeit IWC Portuguese

The counterfeit doesn’t look too bad – although the minor differences really add up!!

How many difference can YOU spot?!?!

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U-Boat Claims that “99% of Watches Sold on the Web Are Counterfeit”

U-Boat, U-Boat watches, counterfeit watches, advertising

WOW! That’s a bold claim.  Click here to be brought to the U-Boat website. (I assume that this is the real U-Boat website and not a counterfeit).

Look, I don’t have any evidence to disprove U-Boat’s claim. But does U-Boat have any evidence to support it? Did they randomly buy 100 watches from online retailers and determine that 99 of them were counterfeit?  I sent an email asking for their supporting evidence and will share the response as soon as I get it.

We all know that there are some unsavory watch dealers out there. But to claim that “99% of watches sold on the web are counterfeit” seems like an inappropriate, unsubstantiated scare tactic. And are they talking about ALL watches? Or just U-Boat watches?  And are they only talking about watches being marketed, priced, and sold as genuine?  Because there are certainly some sites that don’t hesitate to claim that they’re selling replicas.  It’s tough to know exactly what U-Boat means.  Their statement is very broad.  However, I assume that they mean that 99% of U-Boat watches that are marketed and sold on the web as genuine U-Boat watches are actually counterfeit.  Again, this is my assumption.

U-Boat’s statement could be true, but it doesn’t pass the sniff test for me.  There are some VERY large online retailers selling U-Boat watches. Take, for example, Amazon.com. I would bet good money that Amazon isn’t selling counterfeit watches. Is Amazon part of the 1%?

U-Boat, U-Boat watches, counterfeit watches, advertising

U-Boat, U-Boat watches, counterfeit watches, advertising

Take another large online retailer – Overstock.com. They sell U-Boat watches. Does U-Boat believe that these watches are counterfeit? Or are they part of the 1%?

U-Boat, U-Boat watches, counterfeit watches, advertising

And how about Ashford.com?

U-Boat, U-Boat watches, counterfeit watches, advertising

And World of Watches?

U-Boat, U-Boat watches, counterfeit watches, advertising

I believe that all of those retailers mentioned above are selling genuine U-Boat watches.  And there are probably other large, reputable, online retailers selling genuine U-Boat watches.  It makes it tough for me to believe U-Boat’s claim that “99% of Watches Sold on the Web Are Counterfeit” is actually true. But, I’m a numbers guy – show me the data or the study and I’ll believe it.

U-Boat does have a point though – watch counterfeiting is a huge business. Before you buy any luxury watch online, do your research on the seller. Buy the seller first, the watch second.

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Watches Number 7 on the List of Top 10 Counterfeit Goods

CNN Money recently published an article listing the Top 10 Counterfeit Goods seized by US officials in 2010. It’s no surprise that watches made the list, coming in at number seven.

Counterfeit Watches, CNN Money

According to the article, in 2010, US officials seized $8.4MM worth of fake watches with a retail value of $112.7MM.  Let’s say that the average fake watch sells for $50 – that means that 250 million fake watches were  seized.  That’s almost enough watches to outfit every man, woman, and child in the US.  I think that provides a little justification for our business, wouldn’t you say?  Even more scary – the fakes are getting better and better.

Here is the text from the article:

Watches are the classic counterfeit — and they are also among the trickiest for even connoisseurs to spot.

Lesser materials and cheap inner workings used to be obvious in a watch that feels lighter and doesn’t work as well as the real thing, but “modern technology allows counterfeiters to reproduce watches at a level of detail that’s frightening,” noted Michael Friedman, watch expert and horological director of Antiquorum auction house.

One of the best ways to make sure a timepiece is legitimate is to examine the box and certificate to see if the serial numbers on the accompanying material match up, Friedman advised.

Click here to read the entire article on counterfeit products seized in the US.

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