used rolex

used rolex

Looking to sell/buy a used Rolex, but aren’t sure if what you have (or want) is the “real deal”? You’re hardly alone! I was too, but the good people at Swiss Wrist are all about helping their customers get the most money for their used Rolexes. I spoke with them for the last few days and I learned a lot about spotting a fake vs authentic used rolex. So if you aren’t sure whether your timepiece is a fake, check out the following tips and tricks for ensuring the watch is authentic:

**Update: There is an incredibly information comment provided by a reader below this post for some more ways you can spot a fake Rolex and keep yourself safe. Check it out when you’re done reading!

1) Check the Casebook

Examine the caseback of your used Rolex. Genuine Rolex watches never feature open casebacks, however their faux counterparts often include clear or skeleton casebacks that reveal the watch’s mechanisms.

Inspect the caseback for designs and engravings as well. Real Rolex watches always feature smooth casebacks, while fake versions often feature engravings or assorted designs. The real timepieces also include 3D hologram encoded stickers on their casebacks, whereas faux Rolexes have stickers with patterns that look the same from any angle.

2) Look at the Logo

Check your watch for the Rolex crown logo, which is found below the 6 o’clock marker on the face. You’ll need a magnifying glass to find this tiny symbol, however it should feature a clean design free of rough edges. Fake Rolex logos always look poorly designed!

3) Inspect the Dial

Any authentic new or pre-owned Rolex features a crystal watch dial that includes a circular bubble for magnifying the date. Fake versions feature off-center bubbles made of glass that do little to magnify. The numbers on the watch dial should also include even edges and an overall clean design.

4) Don’t Forget the Serial Number

Check the serial number on the side of your pre-owned Rolex, as it should feature highly-detailed engraving that creates a smooth appearance. While fake Rolexes often include the same serial numbers as real ones, the engraving is hardly clean.

5) Listen!

Hold your pre-owned Rolex up to your ear. Does it make a ticking sound? If so, it’s a fake! No real Rolex watch ticks.

6) Check the Weight

Faux Rolex watches are usually quite lightweight. If a pre-owned Rolex is too light, it’s probably a fake.

7) Watch the Second Hand

Take a minute to observe the watch’s second hand. Does it glide or “sweep” over the watch face, or make jerky movements? If movement is jerky and uneven, the watch is not authentic.

8) Examine the Watch Band

Unlike real Rolex watches, fake pieces have hollow band links. These links are often held together with pins rather than quality screws.

Also keep in mind that any real Rolex will not leak when underwater!

In Conclusion

If you go for a used rolex, enjoy it! And now you can do so stress free because you know you’re getting an authentic used rolex.


  1. I own around 30 vintage watches most of which are Omega but I also have a couple of Rolex and some of the information in the blog post is quite inaccurate.

    To suggest that a Rolex never ticks is quite wrong. To start with Rolex have made a few quartz watches over the years that definitely tick. The more typical mechanical watches tick just like an Omega or IWC etc with a rapid ticking sound and for many years now it has been known as a high beat movement that should exhibit a smooth sweeping second hand with very good accuracy subject to being properly maintained and regulated.

    The only watches that don’t really tick apart from LCD quartz are known as tuning fork watches that were popular around the late 60s and early 70s by using a battery to power a mechanical movement. These have an extremely smooth sweeping action on the second hand, quartz like accuracy and if you listen to them closely you can hear a high pitched humming sound, hence their nickname as hummers. I’ve never heard of a Rolex with a tuning fork movement.

    The main reason Rolex have never included see through case backs is most likely because the finish of their movements is not especially impressive and certainly not comparable with something like a Patek Philippe. Rolex movements are nevertheless solid and reliable when properly maintained.

    On the subject of water, never ever take an older watch near water, unless you can be certain the watch has new seals and has been pressure tested. On vintage watches it’s just better not to risk it even with diving watches. Do not under any circumstances dunk your watch in water just to test if it’s genuine.

    Something else worth pointing out is that a watch may be a Rolex but that doesn’t mean it’s completely original. Look out for tell tale signs if a watch has a restored dial because this can halve the value of your watch if it is not completely original. The finish of the dial is the most important area to study and on a Rolex it should be flawless. Personally I avoid watches with signs of patina on the dial but this is still preferable to a refinished dial.

    It’s also common to find watches that may be original on the outside but are a mess on the inside. This is where research is key so you need to know the model type, what movement was used and what that movement looks like. A fake is extremely unlikely to pass this test. It will also lack the precise quality feel when winding.

    The best advice is to only purchase from established watch dealers with clear contact details who will check out the watches before putting them on sale and offer you a guarantee with the sale. Then take it along to a watchmaker and ask them to assess the watch for you, while the watch is still under guarantee. Research the particular model before you even approach the dealer.

    As time goes by and you gain more experience it becomes much easier to tell a fake from an original but buying a watch from a complete stranger on eBay or somebody you meet at a bar in Thailand is just asking for trouble. Do not assume that a used Rolex in the window of a high street jewellers is a safe bet either. Servicing a Rolex is crazy expensive and a jeweller may not be completely transparent about the true condition of the watch. More than likely they lack the expertise and just want to make a sale.

    • Wow Ashley – Thank you for the detailed comment.

      This post was provided information wise by the retail shop over at I am not a Rolex expert, but you seem to be, and I am sure that the information you just provided will help a lot of people who stumble across this post not be dooped.

      Really appreciate it – I added a mention of your comment in the article.

      • I’m happy if this information helps somebody from being ripped off. Some sellers are clueless, while others are downright dishonest, choosing to deliberately mislead buyers about important details that can seriously affect the economic and aesthetic value of a watch, such as a replacement crown for example.

        On a more optimistic note owning a truly beautiful mechanical watch will make you smile every time you look at it. A lot of people are fixated with Rolex these days because of the mass marketing but you can pick up something like a classic 1960s Longines in near mint condition that is every bit as beautiful and well made as a Rolex from that time for a fraction of the price. Chances are they will easily outlast a brand new quartz.

        The recent fashion is for huge watches that look like a saucer strapped on your wrist but in a few years time these could well become the watch equivalents of flared trousers. For several decades watches were considerably smaller so a vintage 34mm Rolex is a vastly more stylish and intelligent choice than something like a modern Tag Heuer that is essentially junk.

        Many people avoid manual wind watches believing they are old fashioned and boring but there is less to go wrong and they tend to be cheaper for servicing. Having several manual and automatic watches I find it’s the manual ones that tend to be more enjoyable to own partly because of the daily ritual of winding them every morning. Pick up something like an Omega Cal 861 as used by NASA in space and you will never feel sad about not owning an automatic, let alone a quartz.

        This is likely to be a longterm investment that will appreciate in value if you buy right so look for something with a great quality movement in near mint condition and study the situation for genuine replacement parts. The major Swiss brands like Omega are making it increasingly difficult to source original parts through other suppliers and independent watchmakers.


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