Amazon has become a 280 billion revenue-generating company worth over 1 trillion dollars, famous for being in any thinkable industry. There is a bigger debate going on in the watch community, whether buying watches on Amazon is a thing and whether the watches are real or fake.
In general, watches sold on Amazon is not fake. Amazon has over 8,000 employees devoted to removing fake products, including counterfeit watches. There is a small risk that independent sellers can sell fake watches. Look for ratings of the product and the seller to be sure.
Taking Amazon as an example in the fight for counterfeit products, they are considered to be in a higher standard regarding counterfeit safety. However, this is mostly secured through Amazon’s own fulfillment and not from its third-party sellers.
Are Products on Amazon Legit or Too Good to Be True?
While Amazon is not majorly connected with fake products like other big e-commerce such as Wish, there is fake products on Amazon. These fake products can be not just counterfeits but also dangerous for the consumer.
Anything from poor quality products to rat poison is found in fake products bought on Amazon. So it’s not easy being a shopper on Amazon. Nonetheless, counterfeit products are not a majority on Amazon.
To be clear, Amazon will check and verify products where the seller is having fulfillment done by Amazon themselves. However, if the seller is during the fulfillment themselves, Amazon can’t guarantee its authenticity.
A lot of the counterfeit sellers ship their items from low labor countries like China. Although products from China is not an indication of a fake product, it should make you check the product and seller an extra time. Sadly, China is known for producing knock-offs, so just be extra careful.
In 2019 alone, Amazon spent more than $500 million to fight fraud and counterfeit products. Amazon has devoted more than 8,000 employees to fight fraud and counterfeit products.
Furthermore, Amazon reports stopping and closing more than 2.5 million bad accounts before any sales were made. In the closing of bad accounts, they also removed more than 6 billion bad listings.
Now, this begs the question:
Does Amazon Sell Counterfeit Watches?
Many things make counterfeit watches hard to distinguish from real watches. The first thing is that counterfeit watches have started to come in very high qualities, making them hard to tell apart from the legitimate. Although it’s easy to tell them apart if you get the watch in your hands and under a microscope, this is not easy to do online.
No, Amazon themselves doesn’t sell counterfeit watches. However, third-party sellers can sell fake watches, as Amazon is only a platform to sell their products. If fulfillment is done by Amazon and counterfeit products is found, they will possibly dispose of the products and withhold funds.
Amazon is putting a big emphasis on stopping the sale of counterfeit products. People will not return to Amazon if there is a big chance of getting counterfeit products. Therefore, it’s also important for Amazon to remove the counterfeiters.
Amazon themselves have done a lot to get rid of the counterfeiters. They have put strict policies against fake products, which would financially hurt the counterfeiting seller.
- Amazon will dispose of counterfeit products in their possession (e.g., if Amazon is during the fulfillment) at the counterfeiting seller’s expense.
- The money “earned” through counterfeited products will be withheld by Amazon until the buyer receives the authentic product they ordered.
- Sellers caught in listing fake products, illegal activities, selling counterfeit products, or committing fraud will result in closing accounts and losing the right to sell through Amazon again.
- Amazon is also working with law enforcement and right holders worldwide to take and support legal actions against sellers and sellers of counterfeit products.
When Amazon themselves are not selling fake watches, then why are they so cheap compared to the watches found in boutiques?
Why Are Watches Cheaper on Amazon?
Finding reasonable prices online is nothing new. Every time you need to check the price of something, you Google the item and check the prices. I bet in 90% of the searches, you find the item cheaper online. Why is that?
The reason watches is cheaper on Amazon is due to the lower overhead cost of selling items online. Selling through Amazon saves the staff and location and the cost of running a boutique.
A lot of the cost of running a retail business comes from running the stores. In a supply chain, there is warehousing, logistics, manufacturing, and the point of sale. When the point of sale is a store, the business has to pay for staff in the stores, inventory, insurance, electricity, and everything else connected to having a store.
When the point of sale is moved online, the stores disappear, which means lower cost on staff, decentralized inventory, and the store locations itself. Selling the watches online is, therefore, a much more cost-efficient operation overall. Yet, there is no personal relationship with the staff, typically found in the luxurious brand stores.
But if you are looking for a watch, you might not care about the relationship and service in the stores.
Are Rolex Watches on Amazon Real?
There are frequent questions from newer players to the watch game, whether they should go to stores rather than shopping online. Some of the questions go like: is watches sold online authentic? Is the Rolex watches on Amazon real, which online stores can I trust? etc. In reality, the headline could just as easily have been: Are (watch brand) watches on Amazon real?
Nothing is indicating that Rolex watches sold on Amazon is fake. However, Rolex is a coveted brand to replicate for counterfeiters because the brand is desirable. This makes higher-end watches like Rolex difficult to purchase online.
Amazon is a very popular platform and, therefore, also a great place to sell products. Although Amazon themselves has good handling of counterfeiters, the third-party sellers using the Amazon platform has a good outlet to sell their products.
In 2019 just over half the products sold through amazon came from third-party sellers. Now, only a very minor fraction of the third-party sellers have bad intentions.
If you find a Rolex watch on Amazon that has a very good price, you should look at the Rolex watch’s characteristics to ensure the authenticity of the Rolex. It’s challenging to look at a watch up close when you don’t have it in your hand. Furthermore, the listings pictures might be of an authentic watch, but the product sent is a fake. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to research the seller.
Is Buying a Watch on Amazon Safe?
We all use Amazon from day to day for different purposes. Amazon is an online hypermarket. The wide variety of products makes Amazon a place where we all purchase some products. So why not watches?
Amazon is safe for buying watches and other products. There is a problem with a small fraction of third-party sellers who sells counterfeit watches and other products. Yet, the majority of items sold through Amazon is legit watches.
Buying watches on Amazon is safe. Amazon has strict policies in place that make the sale of fake products very unattractive. Amazon claims its rights to dispose of any counterfeit products.
When products are sold through Amazon, they are standing behind authenticity. Whereas, if the products are sold through third-party sellers, the third-party seller is responsible for the authenticity.
Therefore, it’s important to research the sellers.
How to Avoid Counterfeit Watches on Amazon
To avoid counterfeit products on Amazon, there are some preliminary measures to take before throwing your money to different sellers. It’s not worth saving a few dollars on a watch if it turns out to be a counterfeit anyway.
With today’s technology, the replica watches are made at a very high standard making it difficult to distinguish between the replicas and the legitimate.
The preliminary measures are straightforward, and the time spend to research is worth it for the amount you potentially save.
- Select products sold by Amazon
- Research the characteristics of the watch
- Do price checks
- Look for a serial number
- Check and research the seller
- Use other reputable online stores
I know that number 6 is not really a way to avoid counterfeit watches on Amazon. It’s more a way to avoid counterfeit watches, which I think is worth a standalone section.
Select Products Sold by Amazon
Thinking about all the measurements Amazon themselves do to avoid counterfeit products, the safest route is to buy directly through Amazon.
However, you face 3 options when buying products on Amazon:
- Third-party selling products with their own fulfillment.
- Third-party selling products with Amazon doing the fulfillment.
- Amazon is selling products and doing fulfillment.
When looking for watches to purchase, there are many temptations on Amazon. To be frank, there is a major selection of watches at reasonable prices.
The best option for avoiding counterfeits is to find products sold by Amazon, as illustrated in the picture below.
If Amazon themselves does not sell the watch you are looking for, the “sold by” will name the seller with a link to their reviews and information. Now, just because they are a third-party seller doesn’t mean they are selling fake watches. Just be mindful before cashing out.
Research the Characteristics of the Watch
Many watch brands have some characteristics that replicas would not think about redoing. This could be because the counterfeiter doesn’t have the required technology or because the counterfeiter tries to cut costs.
Rolex is a prime example of where counterfeiters try to replicate but simply fail. On the sapphire crystal at 6 o’clock, Rolex has an extraordinary technique to engrave its logo. However, counterfeiters either makes a very poor engraving or doesn’t engrave at all.
However, brands all have their own way of trying to make different initiatives to make their watches hard to replicate.
Do a Price Check
Have you ever heard the expression: “If the price is too good to be true, it probably is”? Well, counterfeiters have figured this out as well. Therefore, this rule no longer applies all the time.
If the price is too good to be true, it might be right, but it might also be too good to be true. The way counterfeiters do nowadays is to list the fake watches are market price or just below to grab the attention of the customer.
To determine if the price is right or if the price is too good to be true, you should do price checks. Look at authentic resellers, the manufactures’ own website, and the secondary market. If the price is hovering within this range, the price is something to check off your “worry list.”
Look for a Serial Number
This is a difficult one. Usually, on the secondary market, people will blur their serial numbers or simply avoid taking pictures of the area with the serial number.
Hiding the serial number is not a sign of counterfeits. Actually, it’s because people protect their own watches from being used by counterfeiters. Serial numbers are a way for manufactures to track their watches. Therefore, counterfeiters can use someone else’s serial number.
Suppose you were to check the serial number by an authorized retailer. In that case, they could verify whether the watch is authentic or not. Yet, if a counterfeiter has taken the serial number and used on a fake watch, and you call the authorized retailer, they would say the serial number comes from a genuine watch. Now you think the watch you are about to buy is authentic. In reality, it’s not that simple.
If the serial number on the watch matches the serial number on the receipt and the included documents of authenticity (often looks like debit/credit cards), the watch is most likely authentic.
Check the Seller
Going to Amazon to purchase watches is legitimate. However, it should be noted you can be safer by checking the seller.
- Check reviews of the seller on Amazon.
- Go on Google and search for the seller for a physical address and additional information.
- If the seller is also operating outside Amazon, go on Trustpilot and watch the reviews.
There is reported fake reviews on Amazon before, and it seems to be a legit problem. Therefore, going on Google to search the company can give a different view of the seller.
Another thing is that some reviews on Trustpilot can be fake as well. Some fraudulent companies will pay random people or bot services to write fake reviews giving the company a positive image.
Use Other Reputable Online Stores
The last way to protect yourself against counterfeit watches on Amazon (and other online retailers) is to use authentic watch sellers. This could be online stores that specialize in selling watches, such as Jomashop.com.
If you don’t feel comfortable buying watches through Amazon (since it typically is regarding larger sums of money), you can just buy through vendors who guarantee the authenticity of their watches.
A seller like Jomashop is guaranteeing the authenticity of a watch. I haven’t heard of anyone receiving a fake watch from there.
I can tell you that I’ve purchased dozens of watches from Jomashop over the years and have always been nothing but satisfied completely.Watchuseek
Alternatively, you could also use a store that has an online outlet for watches. Keep in mind that using a store with an online shop typically also carry higher prices to cover the costs of running their physical stores.
Should You Buy a Watch From Amazon?
Buying watches through Amazon should be as safe as safe can be. Nonetheless, people have been caught selling fake products through Amazon, making it a worrying experience.
Buying watches below $500 should be fine as they are not targeted by counterfeiters as much. However, when the costs of the watch increase, the desire typically also increase. Looking at Rolex confirms this hypothesis.
I would personally use an online store such as Jomashop due to its guarantees of authenticity and good prices when the watches cost more than $500.
The demand for a fake Citizen or Seiko is much lower than fake Rolex watches. Many people want to show off their Rolex. Still, you will only see watch enthusiasts brag about their new Citizen or Seiko. This mindset of prestige towards expensive items will also make people buy fake watches to appear expensive.
Buying watches through Amazon is not entirely risk-free. However, Amazon has made many incentives to try and remove a good portion of the counterfeiting sellers.
Amazon themselves are not selling any counterfeit goods, including watches. Nonetheless, the Amazon platform is also hosting many third-party businesses. These third-party businesses can only be held accountable for the fake watches if detected.
Personally, I wouldn’t worry about buying mainstream “cheaper” watches through Amazon. Somewhere in the price range seems to be the tipping point for whether the counterfeiters want to make the fake watches. Therefore I recommend buying any watches above $500 outside Amazon.
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