As one of the most popular and time-tested brands in the Swiss luxury timepiece industry, Omega is known for its incredible combination of craftsmanship, innovation, and beauty. One thing about Omega that sets it apart from other luxury timepiece brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Hublot, and Richard Mille is that Omega has been able to create designs that look prestigious and classy without it being super showy or “baller-like” like the other brands mentioned above. This has allowed Omega to create its own distinct identity and attract its own unique following. For Omega, there’s two main models: the Seamaster and the Speedmaster. Both models have variations that are extremely popular and coveted, but for now we will only focus on the Seamaster.
While much as the world has been able to enjoy the incredible mechanical works of art within the Omega Seamaster line, the unfortunate downside is that – as with any other high-end piece of jewelry – there are bad actors in the space who are attempting to manufacture and sell replicas of this beautiful timepiece. Although there are laws against selling replicas, the reality is that no matter how much the authorities try to crack down on these acts, there will always be another person who pops up selling a fake. Thus, today we will be discussing how to spot a fake Omega Seamaster, that way you can purchase one from a private seller with full confidence.
How to Protect Yourself From Fakes:
Before we get into how to tell the difference between a real Omega Seamaster vs a fake, we should first go over some best practices in general to avoid buying fakes. These practices are universal across any timepiece in the industry, so it’s important we recap them.
Buy the Seller
If you’re new to the wonderful world of luxury timepieces, then get ready because you’re going to hear this adage very often. What this means is, when buying a luxury timepiece from a private seller, you want to buy from someone who has a good reputation in the industry. Reputation is everything in this business, and the world of luxury timepieces is a relatively small group of people, so if a seller rips off a buyer by selling a fake, the word will spread quickly and that will be the last time that person will ever sell a watch. This is your leverage point as a buyer, because as long as the seller cares about their reputation, they will always stand behind what they sell. This way in the case they do accidentally sell you a fake, they will give you your money back because the seller has spent a decade building their reputation and is NOT going to lose it in one bad deal.
Be Extra Careful of Commonly Faked Watches
There’s certain models that are more faked than others. Generally speaking, Rolex is by far the most faked watch brand out there, particularly the Rolex Submariner. Luckily, Omega Seamasters are not highly faked watches relative to the other brands because the customer base of Omegas tend to be a more educated consumer-base in terms of having knowledge of the watch industry vs the average person who doesn’t know anything about watches will still know Rolex. Due to this, more replica manufacturers will target Rolex customers because its a much larger customer base and are far less likely to know the difference between a fake vs authentic timepiece. If you are going to buy a Rolex from a private seller, buying the seller in this case is a MUST.
When Buying, Opt For Buyer Protection
Using third-party services such as PayPal Goods and Services, Venmo with buyer protection, Escrow.com, and of course our platform, ValueYourWatch, are all great ways to protect your payment when buying a watch. PayPal, Venmo, and Escrow.com all work in the same way where when you as the buyer send the money, your payment is protected, and if you never receive the watch then you get your money back. The downside to these services is the seller is charged a seller fee of usually around 3%-6.5%, so you won’t be able to negotiate the seller down to their absolute lowest price. With our platform, we don’t charge any seller fees at all, it’s just a small monthly subscription fee, so it’s great for giving you as the buyer the best of both worlds in that you can simultaneously protect your payment while negotiating the seller down to their lowest dollar possible.
Authenticate Watch Prior to Buying When Possible
This isn’t always an option when buying online, but when buying in person, try to meet at a local jeweler that you have a relationship with and trust. Always get the watch authenticated at YOUR jeweler, NOT the seller’s, as the seller and the jeweler could unfortunately be teaming up to scam you.
Replica Sign #1: The Pearl
The biggest thing to look for in any Seamaster model is the placement of the pearl, which is circled above. One of the signatures of any Swiss-made timepiece is the extreme precision and accuracy of every single detail.This makes replicating the pearl very difficult because without Omega’s proprietary process, the replica manufacturer is stuck simply trying to center the pearl the best they can and hope that the customer buying it doesn’t notice. One sneaky trick people who are selling fakes use is that they will post pictures in the listing that are blurry or don’t show the pearl very clearly. Here, the scammer is betting that the customer will simply see a low price and won’t notice the photos in the listing don’t clearly depict the pearl. Another thing scammers will do is they will post clear photos but will only show angles of the watch where it’s tough to determine whether or not the pearl is centered. When trying to determine if the pearl is correctly centered, it’s best to ask the seller for front photos similar to the ones above. Photos at an angle can be misleading because it will give a false impression to the naked eye. So best practice when dealing with this is to always have clear and centered photos where you can determine indefinitely the placement of the pearl.
Replica Sign #2:Text of the Dials
The next thing to look for is the shade of the color of the numbers on the dial. With many replica manufacturers, they try their best to duplicate the shade but very often it’s hard for them to get it exactly right. Another problem the replica manufacturers face is often they are trying to make the replica watch by copying a photo vs holding an actual authentic Omega Seamaster in their hands. This causes issues as the lighting of the photo can cause the shade of the color to look lighter than it actually is, which leads to fakes looking like this.
3. Serial Numbers
Authentic Omega Seamaster timepieces come with a 7-8 digit serial number engraved on the back of the watch horizontally. You can cross-reference the serial number to the product year to get an idea if the timepiece you’re looking at is real or not. If the timepiece is missing the serial number, it means that it was either scratched out or that it’s a fake. Another thing to look for is that the serial number is placed in the right spot. Fakes will have the serial number placed all over the place, while real Omega Seamasters will have the serial placed like in the picture above. Try to find where the serial COULD have been and then determine which of the two it is. In these types of situations, the biggest factor in your decision should be the seller’s reputation and NOT the timepiece itself. It’s important to remember that we aren’t watchmakers and to the untrained eye details this small can be easily missed. The key here is to follow the first rule we discussed, which is BUY THE SELLER, and whenever in doubt, always default to this rule.
4. Dial: Correct Spelling, Engravings, Placement
Another aspect to look at when determining if a watch is authentic or not is by looking at all the fine details of the timepiece. In the picture above, the first thing that jumps out is how terribly the pearl was done, which is a dead give away that it’s a fake. The next thing that is wrong is the text below and in-between the two sub-dials is both incorrectly labeled and the color of the bottom row “600M/2000ft” is white when it should have been orange. Next, we’ll look at the bezel. There’s two issues here, the first is that the bezel itself is far too thin and the numbers on the bezel are far too thick relative to the original. Finally, look at the date wheel. In the replica, the date wheel is off-center while in the authentic Omega, the date wheel is perfectly centered.
- The Movement
This is really where you can distinguish the difference between a real or fake, as this is usually the most difficult thing to replicate in a watch. Many fakes will try to make the outside look like a mechanical movement when in reality it’s a quartz movement with a battery hidden underneath. The way to know if a movement is quartz or mechanical is to listen for “ticking” sound. A true mechanical movement doesn’t tick, the hands of the timepiece sweep instead. Another way you can tell the difference between a real or fake Omega movement is to look at the open caseback. Usually there will be some disparity between the caseback of a real omega vs a fake. Finally, a way to test the authenticity of the movement is to test the second hand. When you pull out the crown to change the time, there’s something called a hacking function that will stop the second hand so the time can be set more accurately. On replicas, the second hand will usually continue to tick if the crown is pulled out.
In conclusion, Omega is a wonderful watchmaker of some of the most amazing timepieces in the entire world. While there are scammers in this space trying to take advantage of Omega’s creation, we now have a buyers guide to follow that we can use to protect ourselves against the bad actors in this space. It’s important to note that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. That being said, as long as you follow the advice of this guide, you can safely purchase Omega Seamasters from private sellers with full confidence!
Until next time,
Matthew Thomas Pourroy
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