How to spot a fake TAG Heuer watch
Spiders, heights, needles… we all have fears, but for a watch fanatic the thought of a fake watch is enough to put any crying baby to shame. The worst part is, it can be so easy to get caught out as today's counterfeits are more widespread and convincing than ever.
Of course, there are some precautions that you can take to ensure peace of mind; such as ensuring that the piece comes with its original box and papers. However, how “original” really are these accompaniments? After all, if someone can replicate a watch then faking a convincing set of accompaniments shouldn’t be too difficult.
We don’t want you to get caught up in all that drama. Like Sweet Brown said, “ain’t nobody got time for that”. So here are some of the tell-tale signs that you can look for when shopping around for a genuine TAG.
Crown Your watch’s crown should be fit for a king. It should certainly not have a cheap, flimsy looking logo glued onto the end of its steel crown. Nor should it have any malformed guards or be wrongly positioned on the watch. A true TAG will have a stunning, crisp logo embossed into the end of its steel crown. Along with this the crown should wind smooth and free without the feel of the mechanism moving inside.
Face Glass? Not for us. A true TAG will always feature an incredibly refined scratch resistant sapphire crystal. One way to test that the material is genuine sapphire crystal is to smear a drop of water onto the surface. Real sapphire crystal will not disturb the tension of the water, therefore the water will just pool together on top of the crystal rather than dispersing unevenly as it does with glass.
Complications Before purchasing, it pays to ensure that you know exactly what complications come with an original version of the model you’re buying. Many replicas will often come with the incorrect type of complication. A genuine TAG with a date complication will display the numbers and letters perfectly in the centre of the display window. The numbers and letters will also be clear and easy to read.
In addition to this, if your watch has any sub dials, each one should be working properly and have a pusher that corresponds to it. Many replica watches have sub dials that are used purely as decoration and do not work properly. A genuine, working sub dial will use a different set of numbers that it uses to measure time, as each one has a different purpose.
Dial Your watch’s face should be so pristine that it puts the Mona Lisa to shame. The printing on the face of a real TAG will be crisp, clean and sharp; where all the features on the watch are precisely pressed into the steel of the dial. A cheap fake will simply glue the features on and not refine their edges.
TAG use a consistent, standardised font throughout all their models; where the lettering/numbering is distinct and easy to read. Along with this, the spacing between the letters/numbers is perfectly aligned both vertically and horizontally.
Luminosity If your moves aren’t getting you noticed on the dance floor, your watch certainly will… because these things glow bright!
TAG use a special chemical on the hands and numeral markers of their watches called LumiNova. It causes the hands and markers to glow brightly in the dark, making the watch readable at night. When the hands and numerals are glowing, they do not create a glare or shadow over the other characters. This is very important to take notice of as a replica watch will fall short on these aspects. The LumiNova glow of a replica watch will either glow very dimly or not at all. It will also cast a glare or shadow over the other characters.
Bracelet Like the rest of the watch, TAG’s bracelets are expertly crafted with high-quality parts that are far too expensive for a counterfeit to copy accurately enough to match the brand’s specifications.
If your watch features a metal bracelet, it is very important to take note of links. Every single part of each link should be made with separate, high quality pieces of metal. A fake will try to replicate this by using one whole link and giving it a slight engraving to make it appear as though the link is separated into individual pieces.
Caseback Your watch’s butt should make Kim K’s look drab. It should also display some strong signs as to whether your watch is real or fake.
Unlike some watch brands, TAG do not use a uniformed caseback design. Therefore, the design will differ depending on the model. However, one thing that all TAGs do have in common is that you will find the following information engraved into the back of the case; model number, unique serial number and water resistance measure.
The information on a metal caseback will be flawlessly machine etched and accompanied by a deep, clear, engraved Tag Heuer logo and/or piece of artwork corresponding to the nature of the watch. Whereas on a crystal caseback, the watch information will be engraved on the rim around the sides of the crystal. A replica watch will not be able to copy this precision engraving accurately. Therefore, the writing will not be crisp and clear to read. Many replicas also often use the incorrect information to engrave onto the watch, such as different model codes that do not correspond to the actual watch.
Bezel Like the rest of the watch, a replica’s bezel will be made of cheap materials that simply do not function to the same ability as a genuine piece. A replica bezel will often be too thick, too thin or very off centre. A genuine TAG bezel will have a snug fit and be perfectly centred and aligned.
If your TAG has a rotating bezel, it should rotate smoothly and be accompanied by the correct number of clicks throughout each rotation.
All Tag Heuer watches should originally come with a Tag Heuer branded box, an instruction manual that matches the type of movement in the watch and an international warranty card.
The newer Tag Heuer watches come with a plastic warranty card that has a unique code printed on the back that correlates to the original watch. This code can be typed into Tag Heuer's online warranty checker (tag.hr/warranty) to see the details of the watch. For a more comprehensive guide on how to use this database please check out our step-by-step video here. The older Tag Heuer watches come with a paper-based warranty card that instead holds the official stamp of an authorised dealer. The rest of the watch's details are usually handwritten on the card. These can sometimes be checked on the Tag Heuer database.
And there you have it! Some top tips to help you on your way to becoming a true fake detector. But please remember, best practice is to always buy from a reputable dealer like ourselves who offer professional protection and their own additional warranty. Also, if you enjoyed this blog, feel free to check out our video guide here to see a side by side comparison of a real and fake TAG watch.