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How to spot fake Patek Philippe watch

April 26, 2021

As a premier luxury watchmaker, Patek Philippe is celebrated by everyone from watch novices to the most astute of watch enthusiasts.

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With over 180 years of masterful watchmaking experience, Patek Philippe has been constantly raising the bar of luxury watchmaking standards.

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Due to their extremely limited production, coupled with the high demand and high value of their watches, there are unfortunately many fake Patek Philippe watches on that market that can deceive the average buyer.

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Here we share some tips on how to spot fake Patek Philippe.

1. Look for perfection

When judging a Patek Philippe begin by looking for perfection. The precision of the case lines and the excellence of the working movement are signatures of Patek Philippe that cannot be fully reproduced without their unique manufacturing capabilities and know-how.

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If you can see into the mechanics of a Patek Philippe movement, either through a sapphire case back or because the watch has been opened up, you will see micro-machinery comprised of gears, wheels, bridges, synthetic rubies and rotors that are fixed firmly and then move together seamlessly. These components are assembled with a high human touch and not with the force of brute and repetitive machinery.

2. Front of the watch

On the front of the watch, the brand name should be crisp, clear and properly spelled: that’s Philippe with one L and two P’s. Fonts are carefully chosen and consistent. Any errors or abnormalities found with the words, letters or any markings on the dial or movement are a sign of a replica watch.

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The brand is very proud of their Geneva home and origin and will often feature “Geneve” prominently on the dial or elsewhere on the watch. The brands logo, the Calatrava Cross, is a balanced and intricate design. This emblem is often found on the dial, bridges and parts inside the movement as well as the winding-crown.

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For the company, the design symbolizes their values of independence, chivalry, and courage. For a counterfeiter it is something very difficult to reproduce, especially as well as Patek Philippe creates it.

3. Serial Number & Model Number

Patek Philippe serial numbers and model numbers are found with official paperwork and permanently printed inside the watch. There are no numbers printed or stamped on the outside of Patek Philppe watches. While serial numbers are unique to every individual watch the model number defines the look and the design of the watch.

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Model numbers are typically four digits followed by a letter. The letters indicate the material of the case:

  • “A” stands for Acier which is stainless steel
  • “J” stands for Jaune which is yellow gold
  • “R” for rose gold. “G” is for Gris which is French for grey and denotes white gold
  • “P” is for platinum

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These are the base materials used by Patek and if you see a brand watch constructed of any materials that are inferior to these it is a sign that something is not the real deal.

4. Seal

The Patek Philippe Seal, which appears on the watches as the double letters PP surrounded by a shield, is both a quality check and a promise made by Patek Philippe that ensures their watch is of their complete manufacture from movement parts to watch case in its entirety.

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With this seal Patek Philippe attests that their watch is an instrument that measures time with great accuracy. A modern Patek Philippe can be expected to be accurate within the range of -3 and +2 seconds per 24 hours. A copy may occasionally look right, but it cannot perform this well.

5. Documentation

All supporting documentation that comes with a Patek Philippe watch is invaluable. Numbers and descriptions should match the watch and dates should correspond with the age of the watch.

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Patek Philippe provides a supporting service that can corroborate the watch’s authenticity and origin. A Patek Philippe owner can request, with a nominal fee and application, an official “Extract from the Archives” from the company that should confirm the watch model details and even reveal the date of manufacture. Although this document cannot be used to confirm absolute authenticity, like any complementary paperwork it remains a great asset to have.

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