It's hard to tell the difference between a real $100,000 Patek Philippe and a $1,000 fake

Originally published at: It's hard to tell the difference between a real $100,000 Patek Philippe and a $1,000 fake | Boing Boing


A thousand dollars for a “fake” watch means the “fake” still costs about 10x more than my current “real” watch.

Anyone dropping $100k on a watch should seriously re-evaluate their life’s choices.


If the differences are so subtle, why would anyone bother buying the real thing? I doubt the quality would be so low that the fake version doesn’t tell time accurately, and if the looks are practically identical, you’d just be buying authenticity for the sake of authenticity, at the low low cost of $99,000 more. Then again, as Mike pointed out, why would anyone pay even the $1000 for ANY watch?


When almost all of the value of a piece of jewellery like this is in its ‘authenticity’, there is less utility in a $1000 fake than in a $100 one.


…and the rest of us should re-evaluate our policy choices…


I mean, I guess if you’re into watches. I am, but not to the level that some people are. 100K watches are not in my future, but I have 4 mechanical watches (Vintage Rolex, vintage Omega, modern Omega, modern IWC) that each cost me more than a grand. FWIW, my vintage watches are worth a shit load more than I paid for them…
That being said, I am opposed to any kind of fake anything. There are fake Cuban cigars, fake watches, fake clothes, etc… I think it’s wrong to produce those things using someone’s name and I also think it’s wrong to buy them. IMO.


If I liked the looks of a $100,000, or a $1000 watch, I’d be happier with a superficially identical one with a quartz movement for $100 or so. More accurate, less maintenance.


Where does this antiquated device display heart rate or O2 levels?


The video barely makes any comparison between the two.


The give away is when it plays The Simpsons theme on the hour.


There has been an incredible popularization of the Chinese “replicas” of these high-end watches over the last year or two. You can get these super-replicas with cloned automatic movements, or standardized movements decorated to look like the real thing. Rolex, Patek, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Tudor, they all have different Chinese factories that specialize in making different brands & models. Ironically, about the only people who can actually tell the real from the fake by a casual examination are the authorized dealers of the real thing or the replica watch enthusiast.

Even more ironically, the videos on YouTube and the increased popularity is probably going to cause the market to take a big hit. There have been several raids by Chinese officials in the last year that have shut some of the factories down on a more permanent basis than the previous raids intended to solicit bribes to local officials, with speculation being that there is increased international pressure from these brands for China to do something about them.


Obviously we just need to use clockchain technology to validate them with an immutable distributed ledger or something; problem successfully handwaved!


I suspect that it would not involve less maintenance; but high end watches would get way more fun if someone were to make accuracy fashionable. Trying to get cesium beams and hydrogen masers and such down to wrist size would, no doubt, provide a lot of interesting engineering and physics problems; and watching the people with ytterbium optical lattices sneering at the rubidium peons would be entertaining.


For years, the ads have shown father and son, occasionally mother and daughter but always Persons Of No Color.

“You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”

Of course the ungrateful little shits will mock you for wearing a watch like a GenX loser, and will fight over it after you kick off, then sell it and buy the latest iPhones.

I miss The Toast.


Or a $20 one…


Seeing the price made me hyperventilate - does that count?


I prefer their Databank ones. They give you the ability to save contacts, emails, phone numbers and it has a calendar function. I dont have one now but i liked keeping important contacts on the watch in case my phone died on me or if i lost it.

Edit: i dont know about their other models but this one supports 5 separate alarms which was really important for me during my college days to wake up on time for classes lol


A reputable watch repair shop won’t clean or fix a replica. I tried once with a convincing Canal Street special Rolex when the movement gave out after a decade. I told them (as I told anyone who asked) it was a fake but still liked it, but they’re risking their business to touch it.

At a certain point they become jewelry, albeit functional jewelry. You’re paying for craftsmanship and perhaps materials, but they’re basically Veblen goods. I personally wouldn’t pay $100k or even $20k for a watch, mainly because I’d be too scared to wear it in public. An authentic and aesthetically pleasing watch at the $1k-$10k level can hit a sweet spot just like a similarly priced necklace or pair of earrings can.


Useful if you need to improvise an explosive device.

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Well, they do market them that way, but the peak of mechanical watch accuracy was hit a long long time ago, so now the marketing is all of the “audiophile gold cable” variety. Lots of hype about the accuracy of a mechanical mechanism that is less accurate than a $10 Casio quartz digital (and the latter is immune to dust, vibration, humidity, etc).

No judgement intended for people who like mechanical watches for their own sake. I love the peak of any technology, and what finely made mechanical watches can do within the limitations of their medium is incredible and worthy of appreciation.