In The Bag

How We Authenticate Luxury Timepieces

Danielle Gumina
Handbag aficionado: Award-winning handbag designer, content lover, and trend spotter

At FASHIONPHILE, authenticity is a step we always set in motion.

 

Whether you’re a luxury watch connoisseur or exploring luxury watches for the first time, the science behind watch authentication never gets old. But even with technologies constantly advancing, the age-old question still remains. How do we accurately authenticate luxury timepieces? We sat down with Logan Wallace, our lead watch authenticator at FASHIONPHILE, to answer a few frequently asked questions on authenticating some of the world’s most sought-after watches.

When you receive a watch, what are the steps you take to authenticate the item?

After receiving the item, we closely examine all parts of the watch (dial, case, hands, bracelet, movement, etc.) under high magnification to make sure everything, down to the smallest details, is correct for that brand and model. Extensive research has been done on all brands to ensure that we are able to accurately authenticate these watches.

How do you appraise a watch if it doesn’t come with the original manufacturer’s paperwork?

Depending on the brand and model, having a watch’s original paperwork can add hundreds of dollars in value. We are still able to appraise watches without any paperwork.

Chronoscope-X1 Watch Timing Machine

Our team does extensive research in order to price a watch, based on the model number, the collection, and the size of the case. With that information, we are able to look across the current market and conduct detailed research to be able to price a watch accordingly and come up with a price to help us acquire our watch inventory.

Proofmaster Pro Water Resistance Testing Machine

To avoid “Frankenwatches” from coming through, how can you tell if all parts are truly original to the piece?

We often use the year of manufacture to determine what should be present on that model, and when the brand either phased it out or added another version.

“Frankenwatches”

/frang – kuhn -wäCH-es/, noun

“An assortment of varied and/or unrelated parts, such as metals and precious stones, customized or added to the timepiece that is not original to the item.”

We carry a number of designer watch brands here at FASHIONPHILE. What is the authentication training process like for your department?

Our in-house created authentication guides are crucial to the training of our new authenticators. These guides are compiled of detailed high definition images of every part of the watch, with explanations on what each brand adds to their watches to battle counterfeiting, as well as more images of fake watches we have received for a comparison with the authentic pieces.

Do you carry out any polishing/ cleaning/ repairs to the watches?

We clean every watch that comes through the door. For polishing, we will only polish the watch if we know we can do so while keeping to the standards of the manufacturer. Repairs are always done if it is necessary to ensure the watch is in proper working order before being sold.

Horologist tools including a Rolex bracelet sizing screwdriver

What are some little (but important) things that shoppers can look out for when buying a pre-owned luxury watch? And if selling, what can be done to acquire the best buyout for the watch?

Buying from a trusted dealer is the most important part to ensure the watch you are buying is 100% authentic. Another big thing is making sure the price is right around the market value, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. For sellers, we recommend having your watch clean and to make sure it is working properly before sending it, along with any previous repair paperwork, warranty cards, or purchase receipts. If you can have the watch professionally polished beforehand, that increases the condition which will increase our buyout offer.

Rawler case opener
To learn more, watch our latest video on luxury watch authentication.
We’re serious about the watch game in the same way we are serious about luxury handbags. We make authenticity our first priority. It’s a science after all. Shop our curated collection of authentic designer watches at FASHIONPHILE.

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