Recent research conducted by Watchfinder & Co., a luxury pre-owned watch specialist, has shed light on the prevalence of counterfeit goods in the market. The study revealed 14 of Britons have fallen victim to counterfeit products. Specifically, the research identified a staggering 1,010,572 fake watches circulating within the UK market alone.
This issue extends globally, with an estimated 40 million counterfeit watches being sold worldwide annually, resulting in profits exceeding 1 billion dollars. Notably, among luxury watches, Rolex imitations constituted at least half of the fakes identified by Watchfinder & Co. over the past year.
40 million counterfeit watches sold every year In response to this challenge, Watchfinder & Co. has taken proactive measures to raise awareness among customers about the escalating influx of counterfeit watches. The company is also urging pre-owned traders, retailers, and marketplaces to be transparent about their authentication policies, processes, and credentials. This move aims to guide consumers toward trustworthy shopping environments.
Counterfeit watches have experienced a notable increase in sales, accounting for more than 35 percent of counterfeit transactions. The sophistication of replicas has grown due to advancements in technology, such as 3D printers and CNC machines, enabling scammers to create convincing imitations. The cumulative knowledge accumulated by fake manufacturers over time has also contributed to the rising aesthetic accuracy of these counterfeits. Remarkably, Watchfinder & Co.'s experts have observed a shift in the detectability of fakes. Approximately five years ago, 80 percent of counterfeit watches were easily recognisable as such, while only 20 percent demanded closer scrutiny. Today, this pattern has reversed, with 80 percent of fakes necessitating closer inspection and only 20 percent being glaringly obvious forgeries.
Nevertheless, even with the increasing resemblance of counterfeit watches to authentic ones, genuine timepieces still stand out due to their superior technology and functionality. The study unveiled that 16 percent of counterfeit watches malfunctioned after minimal usage, underscoring the inferior quality of these imitations.
Arjen van de Vall, CEO of Watchfinder & Co., says the purchase of a luxury watch carries significant emotional and financial weight. Consequently, discovering that a purchased watch is fake can be devastating. The prevalence of counterfeit goods not only deceives consumers but also casts a shadow on the pre-owned market. The study found that 68 percent of individuals who fell victim to counterfeit products expressed reluctance to purchase pre-owned items again.
In light of these findings, Watchfinder & Co. is advocating for transparency within the pre-owned watch industry. The company's rigorous 60-step inspection and authentication process, along with their dedicated team of authenticators and watchmakers, serves as an example of their commitment to ensuring that every timepiece they handle is genuine. This effort is aimed at instilling confidence in consumers and preserving the integrity of the pre-owned market.