18.08.2023 - Patek Philippe

How to spot a fake Patek Philippe watch

There surely could be few things worse than saving up thousands to buy your dream Patek Philippe timepiece only to find you’d actually been duped in the sale.

Renowned globally for incredible design and movements, as well as intricate hand finishing, Patek is regarded as one of the best watchmakers in the world. But sadly, that reputation tempts counterfeiters too with Nautilus and Aquanaut copied most often due to their immense popularity.

People who want to buy a Patek often turn to preloved watches because new ones can be virtually impossible to get hold of – unless you want to wait in line for a decade. If you’re in the market for a Patek we will share some pointers that you should know to ensure you get the real deal.

Check out the Patek reference

Always do your research. If you know what Patek model you’re after, find the reference number.

Understand the style, size, materials, dial colors, strap and bracelet types, and movements of the watch in question.

Some references are only available in stainless steel or only come on straps, not bracelets so be sure to check, especially the movements. The more you know, the more armed you’ll be.

Letters will tell you what the material should be for each watch. For example, A = stainless steel, G = white gold, and P = platinum.

Cases and metals

A fake Patek will often have a thicker case to hide a poor quality movement inside.

You would also expect to find a serial and model number on the inside of the caseback on any solid caseback watches. Timepieces with exhibition backs will display these around the interior edges. If you see any numbers on the caseback, then you’re looking at an imitation Patek watch.

A good indication of quality is to check the edge of the case for a hallmark to show the purity of metal, for example, 950 for 95% pure platinum. The metal used for a fake may be what it says but not of the quality expected by this brand. 

A fake will have tiny imperfections but given the quality control standards used by Patek, a watch with such flaws would never leave the facility where they are made.

The crown and screws

The crown is likely to be the biggest giveaway of a fake Patek watch. The crown on a real Patek Philippe watch is etched to perfection with details that you need a magnifying glass to see.  See a blurry or mottled design? It’s not real.

When it comes to the screws, they mean everything on a Patek. If you see blue ones, you are holding a fake. Screws can have a blue hue when they are heated to harden them and make them more resistant but because Patek uses top quality screws, the brand doesn’t use this technique. A counterfeiter may use the bluing method to make the watch look of higher quality.

The dial

Patek Philippe has built its pristine reputation on impeccable quality and finishing, so be sure to check out the font used for the lettering. A counterfeiter may be tempted to use bigger or bolder lettering to make it stand out to a buyer. It could also distract potential buyers from seeing flawed details.

If you look at the lugs at 6 o’clock, a Patek that is platinum, will use a single diamond at that mark. If it’s missing or sporting a larger jewel, it’s pretend.

Look closely at the lugs found around the 6 o’clock mark. One of the details that sets the real  platinum Patek Philippe apart from the fakes is the use of a small single diamond setting between those lugs. If you’re looking at a watch using what appears to be a larger diamond or is missing this feature altogether, that watch is a fake.


If it seems too cheap, it probably is – although some fake models have recently been asking for $30,000. While some of the counterfeit models these days have had some hours put in to make them look genuine, they won’t cost anywhere near as much as genuine models. This could be to make it tempting for buyers who may not have the cash for the real deal.

And the best advice?

The best way to ensure you get a genuine watch is to buy from a reputable seller, such as Luxe Watches. If you’re buying a pre-owned Patek Philippe watch, we have decades of experience in buying and selling these and we will check for the authenticity of every watch we handle, so you do not end up out of pocket.

Contact our experts today.