There are some essential questions in life which rarely find an answer: "Where do I come from? Is there life after death? Can I wear brown shoes after 6 PM… is my Vacheron Constantin watch a fake?"
Seems like the last question of the list is a fashionable one here on The Hour Lounge and to help all those stressing about the genuineness of their watch and without further ado please let me introduce “Shady Joe’s Guide to Spotting a Fake Vacheron Constantin” :
1) The watch is a gift: if the watch was given to you by a grandfather, neighbour, grocer etc… chances are that it ain’t the real McCoy. This is the real world guys and chances that someone gives you a $10,000 plus gift just because you are you (no matter how well dressed you are) are remote!! Rule n° 1 does not apply if you helped your uncle Ned get rid of his nagging wife…but if that’s the case don’t settle for anything less than a perpetual calendar (a minute repeater would be de riguer if said wife had subscribed a substantial life insurance policy).
2) You had the deal of a life time: Imagine you see a restaurant offering you a full three course meal of caviar, lobster and cappuccino mouse topped with a Chateau Lafitte all for $15? Would you have any kind of suspicion that what you may be eating would be closer to meat from a hairy rodent (recently heroed as a chef in a cartoon) than what is advertised? Same with a VC!! At $200, $500, $700 etc… the guy selling you the crap is getting a good deal not you.
3) Unnecessary indications and useless push pieces: I know that it is very trendy to have useless inscriptions on the watch dial such as: automatic, chronograph, limited edition etc… but often on fake watches the counterfeiters are kind enough to go out of their way and actually print a users’ guide on the watch: so if you have a watch with quarters, minutes, tourbillon, chronograph, repeater, espresso machine written on the case back or on the dial, be warned! If you also have push buttons like a chronograph but there are no chrono functions…yup you got it, the watch is fake.
4) You bought the watch from Shady Eugene’s “Buy 2 Get one Free” shop: try to always buy from an authorised dealer or a reputable second had source. Always remember that you are not only buying the watch but also the seller and if the later has a shop downtown selling, cameras, TVs, kitchen appliances, post cards and watches, that should put a doubt in your head. And when he plunks the watch on the table and tells you that this is a “Vacheronne Constanteen and its better than a Rolex” then run out of the shop, don’t walk… run….
5) Rust and scratches are not part of movement finish: A huge part of the cost of a high end watch comes from the manual labor and a rusty, scratched up ugly movement is not a new finishing technique but just what it looks to be: a butt ugly cheap movement!
6) The funky case shape and wonderfully unique dial does not mean your watch is a valuable ultra rare timepiece: Vacheron Constantin designers never decided to take a rectangular watch and squish it on its sides and make the case look like a Cesar compression, nor did they decide to copy a Journe dial and place it on the watch. And if it was a unique piece then check to see if Rules 1,2 and 4 above apply.
What you should do: do your homework first, check VC’s web site or ask your question here BEFORE buying! And most of all if you have a doubt don’t buy. The rule of thumb being if it’s too good to be true then it ain’t….true!