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Is it real? A buyer's guide to spotting a fake Omega

Is it real? A buyer's guide to spotting a fake Omega

John Wallis

Many would say we live in a golden era for watch collecting. Luxury timepieces enjoy greater popularity than ever before, resulting in the birth and rebirth of some of the greatest watchmakers in history. But there is a dark side to the horological renaissance: fakes. With modern manufacturing methods it is cheaper and easier than ever to mass-produce cheap replicas, many of which are becoming better and better at avoiding detection. For buyers, this is a big problem - so we are pleased to present a guide to beating the fakes. Today we specifically look at one of the great legends of horology: Omega.

Let the Experts Do Their Thing

The pointers in this article below will hopefully get you a long way to proving that your watch is the genuine article. But you can never be too sure when it comes to such an important investment. Fake Omega watches are getting better all the time, often fooling the most confident of collectors, and the only real guarantee is the one that comes from knowing the seller. Be sure to choose a retailer with a stellar reputation like CHRONEXT. CHRONEXT ensures total authenticity for 100% of our stock, thanks to a team of certified experts in our in-house workshop, who apply an authentication process to every watch we sell. Purchasing a luxury timepiece responsibility is really the only safe option these days, and doing so with CHRONEXT will provide you with carefree service and peace of mind.

Omega is one of Switzerland's best known brands, with 170 years of history. Its watches are used by everyone from astronauts to James Bond, as they are known for their unrivalled functionality, durability and style. When it comes to how to establish the authenticity of an Omega watch, your first port of call should simply be a check for quality: a real Omega will display nothing but the finest craftsmanship.

It's also vital to do your research before you buy. Make sure you know the model you are looking for and have a good idea of how much it should cost. Check that the model you are buying has all of the features it should have, and that they work properly. It should have a unique identifying serial number engraved on the case, which you can check against Omega's records. Fake Omega watches are among the most common kinds of replicas on the market – below, we will examine two of the most popular series.

How to spot a fake Omega Speedmaster...

There are many different models of the legendary Omega Speedmaster, the most famous (and commonly faked) is of course the Moonwatch. Check the subdial layout to ensure it perfectly matches the official version, and make sure each subdial is recessed into the dail, not simply painted on. Check the central minutes hand for length – it should reach out all the way to the smaller gradations on the minute track. Fake watches sometimes have shorter hands. Check the lettering and other elements on the dial, which should be flawless. Watches with a hesalite crystal should have a tiny Omega logo engraved in the underside, dead-centre (unless the crystal was replaced by a previous owner). The lume on the indexes and hands should be bright and long-lasting – many fakes have inferior quality lume. The tachymeter on the bezel is another place to check – make sure the positioning of the numbers is exactly in line with an official Speedy.

Next up is the clockwork. If in doubt, get professional help to open the case and take a look inside the watch. Most current Moonwatch models use the rhodium-plated caliber 1861, which is based on the Nouvelle Lémania 1873 - a movement that was also used in Patek Philippe watches until a few years ago. Don't be surprised: in the newer models of the classic Moonwatch made of plexiglass and steel, the blocking lever is made of plastic. Speaking of plexiglass: on a real Omega, there is a small, engraved logo in the middle of the plexiglass crystal.

... and how a fake Omega Seamaster

Many of the same tips above apply to other Omega watches, including the iconic Seamaster. Like the Speedy, it comes in a wide range of models, so make sure you know what yours should look like. There are several tips for spotting a replica watch that work for most of these models. For example, check the helium escape valve. It should be positioned just above 10 o'clock. Some fakes place it on or just below. Check the luminous dot at 12 o'clock on the bezel – it should be in the centre of the triangle, not off-centre or outside it. Equally, the numerals in the date window should be exactly centred and not too small. This is particularly noticeable in the single digits for some fakes.