Tick tock on the clock…
You may or may not have heard the slogan, “fake watches are for fake people”? Quite the bold statement declared by the Swiss-based not-for-profit foundation known as the Foundation Haute Horologie (FHH). This legitimate foundation (not the Anna Delvey kind) was set up in 2005 by Audemars Piguet, Girard-Perregaux, and Richemont to “promote and spread the reputation of watchmaking excellence around the world.” If you haven’t said it, we know you’re thinking it. The watch world is massive and even I’m trying to keep up.
With high-profile organizations like the FHH supporting true horological knowledge and craftsmanship around the world, our in-house horologists honor the same as they work with luxury watches every day. All the watch brands we carry, including high-profile brands with wristwatch divisions, are reviewed and authenticated by our experts. In the case of Chanel, the J12 watch is one to watch. It carries tremendous value… and of course, it is also a watch that is (sadly) often replicated. Read on to get a side-by-side comparison of a fake versus authentic J12 watch.
A Brief Overview of the Chanel J12
Chanel may not have too many watches under their wristwatch division, but the J12 family of watches has been a game-changer. As one of the most coveted timepiece styles under Chanel, the J12 opened doors for the house into the watch world. Celebrated for being the first sports watch designed by Jacques Helleu, he combined his love for boating and racing and turned those passions into a tangible (and tres chic) timepiece.
The iconic ceramic watch was first released in all black; the all-white version was introduced in 2003 and continues to prove to be a timeless choice. With more and more exciting upgrades to this style over the years, the J12 designer watch is one of Chanel’s most popular items, aside from its handbags such as the Classic Flaps, Chanel 19s, and more. Ready to learn more about authenticating the J12 watch? Keeping reading!
Authenticating the J12 Watch
At first glance, you may notice immediate differences between the authentic dial versus the fake dial. The dial is known as the face of the watch and here is where you will observe many elements. In the case of this J12 watch, you may immediately notice decorative details using diamonds (and other precious stones on other similar models), the bezel design that holds everything in place, its hands, as well as movement. There are a number of factors that come to play that determine this example shown here as a fake J12 watch. Let’s take a closer look.
In using the most up-to-date tools to authenticate each and every item that enters our doors, our authenticators test all stones to determine their integrity. In the case of the fake J12 watch, the stones used to mimic diamonds are actually cubic zirconia (CZ). This right away is a big red flag. A more in-depth look will unveil other factors that are questionable.
As mentioned before, the bezel is the outer ring that wraps around the crystal covering on top of the dial and holds everything in place. Although counterfeit versions try to mimic the real deal, this fake J12 watch doesn’t quite get it right and it’s one of the flaws that I personally noticed right away when comparing the two.
The grooves around the bezel on the fake J12 watch are too close together. And there is a very obvious shiny mirage finish on the fake J12 that indicates poor quality materials that are not consistent with Chanel’s high standards.
Hands & Movement
Some other important aspects when observing the dial of the J12 watch are hands and movement. Notating these is a crucial step in determining how the watch is “running.” The hands are the parts of the watch that point to the hours, minutes, and seconds. On the fake J12 watch, they’re not finished correctly and do not exhibit the correct colors. This is a telltale sign of a counterfeit.
Movement is also huge for the J12 model. The movement refers to the “engine” that keeps the watch running and telling time. If the second-hand jumps every second that indicates a quartz movement, which this watch has. The fake J12 also carries a quartz movement but it is not the correct caliber that Chanel uses, and does not have the correct brand markings.
Engravings and screws located at the case back of the Chanel J12 also reveal components that can help our experts determine its authenticity. On many fake J12 watches, the screws are placed too deep and the engravings are low quality. Certain J12 models have two circular engravings around the case back, one thing that counterfeiters often get wrong is the correct spacing between these lines. This is an area of the watch that isn’t visible to the wearer but it’s an area that should never be overlooked.
The J12 is iconic for its sporty ceramic bracelet. As someone who never handled a J12 watch before, I was pleasantly surprised to feel the weight quality of the authentic timepiece. It’s nothing close to “plastic” as some may say. Admittedly, I assumed this watch would feel much lighter. This sense of “heaviness” confirms the quality of the materials – particularly the screws and rivets – used which have substance and only Chanel would source the very best materials for this watch.
Additionally, the color of the J12 watch is important to notate. The white J12 was released in 2003 and is a gorgeous pearly white. This color is very specific and counterfeits often have a blue-ish/ grey-ish undertone – a telltale sign of interior craftsmanship.