Video explores why fake Rolexes are so realistic

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/07/video-explores-three-reasons-w.html

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Video link for the BBS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbqQqngkl8s

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The quality of fake Rolexes has reached the point where people who want a real Rolex should buy a real Rolex and a Rolex one and keep the real one in a safe.

Should that last “Rolex” be “fake”?

Edited: Added extra @frauenfelder as @anothernewbbaccount suggests.

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I’d like to buy a fake Porsche 911. We need a video on why those don’t exist.

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Absolutely beautiful macro videography. The narration on the other hand took forever to say almost nothing. It really felt like they were milking the length to meet some sort of arbitrary YouTube metric.

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Even the Fauxlex Yachtmaster I bought for $50 on Canal St. (more for the story of buying it than trying to fool anyone) years ago had all kinds of tiny grace notes to make it look and operate like the real thing. The only real giveaway (until the movement finally gave out) was that it had a lighter heft than the real equivalent. I’m sure that the $250+ counterfeits described in the video take the realism to another level.

The quality of fake Rolexes has reached the point where people who want a real Rolex should buy a real Rolex and a Rolex one and keep the real one in a safe.

A lot of wealthy people already use $10k+ luxury watches as small (relatively speaking) stores of value in addition to using them to signal their wealth. I’m sure a lot of them do just this because they don’t want to risk damaging or losing the equivalent of the median national income by wearing it out on the street.

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Another knockoff post.

(Yes, it’s not the same video.)

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There is apparently a whole subculture of people that actively seek these out and buy them for that purpose (the story). Instead of awarding the person who paid the most, bragging rights goes to the person who
1: Paid the LEAST
2: Has the better knockoff
3: Has the best story with a convoluted tale about how they happened to find that particular one.

I was at a corporate party several years ago for some Realtors and could not help hearing the 2 young guys off to the side who spent the entire time talking about their Fake Rolexes in this way. They were really enthusiastic about them and I found it quite fascinating.

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The more interesting thing I take away from this is that rapid prototyping has become something that most small scale manufacturers can use to build something truly special. It’s sad that more tinkerers aren’t taking advantage of this to make some weird and strange watches. Even if they’re not popular as a brand it could be something to test the limits of the technology and the imagination of their creators.

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That’s pretty much the way it worked for me. I didn’t dwell on it or turn it into a competitive sport like those realtors, but it was fun. If someone asked if it was real I’d always say no, and then tell the story of how I negotiated down the guy who literally emerged from an alley in Chinatown to sell me a “genuine real Rolex” for the bargain price of $200. Then they’d say it looked impressively real, I’d point out some of the little touches, and that would be it. As a conversation piece it was more than worth $50.

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Needs more @frauenfelder

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Years ago on a walk on a hiking trail my Basset Hound dug a TAG-Heuer watch out of the underbrush. No Rolex, but still expensive. I called TAG-Heuer because I knew they had serial nbrs (expensive LD call in the day) but the number I gave them didn’t yield an owner; they had me take the watch to one of their dealers (more time and expense for me :slight_smile: ) The watchmaker looked at it a long time before he was able to determine it was a fake. (which he found immensely amusing, presumably because he knew how much trouble I had already been to ). To my surprise, they didn’t object to my keeping it; I gave it to my nephew and it’s still his daily driver…twenty five years on, still works well with no maintenance, and that’s after spending who knows how long outside in harsh northern Alberta initally.

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Yeah, reputable watchmakers won’t repair or clean the fakes for obvious reasons, but they won’t confiscate them. And yes, unlike the one in my fake Rolex a lot of the movements are surprisingly good and durable.

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This video has almost no information in the story, and I’m not completely buying the claim that it is because ‘3d printing is really good’. Precision engineering is more that just ‘scan and print on a 3d printer’. I’m not convinced either of the watches in the video are fake, but I’m guessing the fakes either come from the same factories as the real ones, or are made by shops or costume-watch factories that purchase relatively cheap internals and bracelets, and focus on making a housing/face/etc that match a rolex. Anyway, I want one!

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Generally even the internals are pretty similar on the good fakes. The difference is where the real one had someone polish every gear by hand the knockoff just gave them a once over in a tumbler and called it good enough. And really unless you’re looking at the internals under a microscope it probably is good enough.

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A couple years ago I was walking in my local downtown business district and saw a girl about 10 years old playing violin outside a thrift shop. I threw a buck into her tip jar (a big Folger’s coffee can) and walked into the shop. There was a table with old watches marked $10. I found a fake Rolex and decided to buy it. The lady at the counter said “Did I just see you throw money in my daughter’s tip jar out front?” I replied that she was correct and she said “You can have this beautiful Rolex for $5.00.” I took it home and got it working. All it needed was a new battery; further proof that it was indeed a fake. Not bad for five bucks though.

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FTFY. In my limited experience selling watches, the people who asked for a Rolex were all just interested in a status symbol. Of course that might have changed in the years that passed, but I doubt it.

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Agreed, 8 minutes of absolutely no information

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