The expert who unmasks fake Rolexes: “Here’s how to do it”

Giuseppe Siracusa is a professor at the Turin School of Watchmaking. His main job is that of an aeronautical auditor at Leonardo. In the evening, he teaches aspiring watchmakers how to operate. And for some time now, he has become a debunker of fake Rolexes on social networks. As he himself explains in an interview with Courier from Turin, “the physical laws of aeronautics are the same as those of watchmaking. Dimensions and geometries change, but many mechanical elements are similar. An example? The ball bearing. They are also similar in the chemicals they use. And then they share another fundamental aspect: precision. Watches and planes can never be wrong. »

At wrist

He has an “Ebel El Primero” on his wrist. This is Don Johnson's watch from Miami Vice. A model that I have rediscovered to many people, its value was lost in the 80s. In addition, it has a higher frequency than other watches and this means that it works even better than a Rolex. And it's this model that the Swiss company took inspiration from to create the automatic Daytona.” And he also unmasks the counterfeits: “Yes. I also see a lot of them in the supermarket and at the bar. Now it's really a professional deformation, false beaks everywhere. Some are obvious, they are recognizable from a few meters away. But on top of that, many people turn to me to verify the originality of a product they own or wish to buy. So many through the company I work with and via social networks. I made an explanatory video to recognize counterfeits and I received hundreds of messages.”

The details

To unmask counterfeits, you have to look in the details: “The most counterfeited model of all is the Rolex Submariner. The finishes of the original are treated with platinum powders, which allow for that typical almost dark gray reflection. A technique difficult to reproduce. In copies, the ring is often painted white. But recognizing a fake is not so easy, you often have to take it apart for a thorough check. And there are cases where, only then, one realizes that it is not an original due to internal mechanisms that work differently.” And he explains that “the work must be 100 percent accurate because that item may be worth just a few hundred dollars. But in reality, the emotional value is priceless.”

Overrated and underrated

Siracusa explains that the most overrated watch is “the aforementioned Rolex.” In the sense that the price scale started from a base of 10,000 euros and now rises to 20,000 euros and beyond. In the end, at Rolex, I don't think a watch costs more than 5 thousand euros. The Submariner Hulk cost 8,000 euros, but now it has doubled: even 16,000 euros. Of course, it's a question of brand prestige. » The most underrated however are the “Panerais in general, excellent watches but not particularly fashionable. The point is this. The value is calculated at resale and it is not worth buying a watch if you know it will be resold for less. Another important element to consider are the components of the watch. Each model, produced during a specific year, has its specific elements. Simply, the strap. If the clock is changed in its complexity, the value obviously changes. And many are disappointed. »

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