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If you are on a tight budget then you need to look at the entry level Rolex offerings, which are the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Explorer or the underrated Rolex Air-King.

How much is the cheapest Rolex? How much does a Rolex cost? Why are Rolex so expensive?

These are questions we get asked all the time, because – unsurprisingly – Rolex is our most popular brand – and people are crazy for these timepieces.

Why? Let’s take a closer look at the world’s best known watch brand.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

Why are Rolex watches so popular?

When it comes to Rolex the fact is you are buying so much more than a watch. According to Forbes, Rolex is one of the top 100 most recognized and most powerful brands in the world, with close to 100% brand recognition.

They have a long history of innovation in their field – having registered some 400+ patents – so you are assured of superlative quality, with hand made materials and decades of in-house research and development when you purchase a Roller.

At the end of the day wearing a Rolex on your wrist is like saying, ‘I have made it!, or ‘I am successful’, or ‘I have good taste’ – and it also feels good to have such a fine piece of craftsmanship on your wrist. You are also keeping company with some pretty famous faces. Past and present Rolex ambassadors include Roger Federer, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Arnold Palmer, Mark Webber, Sir Edmund Hillary, Martin Scorsese and Placido Domingo to name a few. You get the idea…

But back to the questions.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get about Rolex is around price, but also why they cost so much – relative to other brands of course and quoted here in Aussie dollars.

Why are Rolex so expensive?

This is an easy one to answer. Supply and demand – people vote with their wallets/credit cards/PayPal/bitcoin – and are prepared to pay top dollar to get their hands on a quality timepiece with almost unparalleled brand recognition. Global brand consultancy Interbrand, publisher of the highly influential annual Best Global Brands report – ranked Rolex at number three in their ‘Best Swiss Brands 2016’ review, with Omega 7th and Patek Philippe a distant 15th. And not forgetting why there is this level of demand – people know quality craftmanship when they see it.

This is largely why there is currently unprecedented demand for Rolex watches, with many models retaining or even increasing in value. The current market value of most professional models are above retail prices as there are waiting lists at official Rolex outlets, and why the secondary market for re-selling unworn versions means some models can sell for double or even triple the retail price.  According to Rolex they are just struggling to meet demand, though they are estimated to be producing close to a million watches a year – though some models have over a 10 year waitlist (Good luck even getting onto a waitlist in the first place).

Just take a look at this 2014 graphic by Ablogtowatch, which tracks the price of a Rolex Submariner no-date over 60 years (black) verses the increase of the same watch adjusted for inflation (red). They found that the watch should cost US$1,265 today, while the watch actually costs in the region of US$7,500 – when the research was conducted.

Rolex also – cleverly – keeps a tight lid on supply (including spare parts) and there are waiting lists for many Rolex models. Want to jump the queue? Then be prepared to pay more for a Rolex online – including pre-owned models – than it’s official listed price.

How much is the cheapest Rolex watch?

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

Want a Rolex so bad it keeps you up at night?

If you are on a tight budget then you need to look at the entry level Rolex offerings, which are the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Explorer or the underrated Rolex Air-King. All are superb versatile timepieces that have everything you expect from the Five-Point Crown, with the Datejust a particularly underrated timepiece.

How much can you expect to pay? It depends if you buy new or pre-owned, but the most affordable Rolex watch is the Oyster Perpetual range. The original Oyster was first released in 1926 and was the first mass produced water-resistant (100m) and dustproof watch with a 904L stainless steel case. This houses the in-house self-winding caliber 3130 which carries official Swiss chronometer certification – for exceptional precision and reliability.

Other affordable Rolex models to put on your shortlist include a pre-owned Rolex Datejust, which with a brown alligator strap can be found for around $5k. Opt for a Ladies Rolex Oyster Datejust and you are also looking in the region of $6k, in white gold and with a stainless steel combination case and Jubilee bracelet. Or how does a new Rolex Air-King tickle your fancy, a steal for under $10k. Of course are these prices are approximate, and they do and will change over time and according to market forces.

How much does a Rolex Submariner cost?

Rolex Submariner Two Tone Blue Dial

Got to have a Sub? Well, then expect to pay for the ! If you are after the ‘standard’ no-date Submariner expect to pay anywhere from $9k to $14k – depending on the condition of the watch and if it has papers and a box. This price range will escalate if you are after a more sought after reference/movement – including anything vintage or different versions. This includes the Rolex Submariner Hulk – green bezel and face – which can fetch in the region of $20k for a mint condition example with box & papers. The same goes for a Rolex Submariner Two Tone Blue Dial which is in the region of $17k for a pre-owned mint example. Shop vintage Subs and you can expect to pay anywhere from $24k for a 1967 Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513.

What about other Rolex models?

Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel

Sure, Rolex has other highly desirable models in its range – but don’t expect them to come cheap.

For a sporty Rolex Yachtmaster Blue Dial expect to pay in the region of $14k pre-owned, or if you want a dress watch then a Rolex Cellini White Dial 18k Rose/White Gold is in the region of $18k. Expect to pay in the region of $23k for Rolex Sea-Dweller Deep Sea (James Cameron) or a Rolex GMT Master II – the so-called Batman. Last but not least how about a Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel Black Dial – yours for around $24k.

Looking to buy your first Rolex or add one to your collection? Get in touch and we will try our very best to find the right Rolex for your wrist. With showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney you can also try before you buy.

You may be surprised to know that you can get a top-shelf, Swiss made watch-for-life for under $10k. Read our article to find out what watch to put on your shortlist

Want to own a luxury watch but don’t want to break the bank?

Yes, we know – buying a luxury watch is not an impulse purchase. And $10k is not small change – far from it. Many of us have to save to own a serious watch. Others may choose to spend a bonus or windfall to treat themselves – or their significant other. But you may be surprised to know that you can get a top-shelf, Swiss made watch-for-life for under $10k.

And we are not talking about obscure brands you have never heard of. We chose ten – we could have chosen more – and all the big guys are there, including Rolex. Sure, there is no Submariner – but no one can questions the status of Omega, Cartier, IWC, Panerai and Jaeger Lecoultre as part of the watchmaking elite. Not to mention some very fine pieces from Breitling, Tag Heuer and more.

You can also browse all our luxury watches under $10k – if you want a bigger range.

10 luxury watches you can buy for less than $10K

Let’s take a look and see what you can get on your wrist for less than $10k…in no particular order.

1. Omega Seamaster Blue Dial

The whole Omega Seamaster range are priced under $10k, which is phenomenal value if you ask us. What do you get?  If you opted for the Omega Seamaster Blue Dial (just under $5K) you can be 007 – yes , this is the Bond watch. That means water resistance to 300m/1000ft, a solid stainless steel case and case back and a classy push button folding clasp. It is also chronometer/COSC certified. And if this baby doesn’t tempt you then the rest of the Seamaster range – including the 300m Diver and Planet Ocean – are all fantastic vale and a watch for life.

Buy the Omega Seamaster Blue Dial…if you want to be 007!

Shop Omega Seamaster

2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust

There are not many Rolex’s in this price bracket, but the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust just sneaks in – and is no bargain bin cast off. Rolex doesn’t cut corners so you get stainless steel, an automatic movement, solid case back, beautiful silver tone hands and even a date display. And if you choose to get it wet, it is good to 100 metres. And it doesn’t just tell the time – being officially chronometer certified means it keeps time more accurately than just about every other watch out there. Also available with a white face and Roman numerals. Buy it – you won’t be disappointed.

Buy the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust…if you must have a Rolex on your wrist

Shop Rolex Datejust online

3. Tudor Black Bay

Those who say that the Tudor Black Bay is a poor man’s Rolex Sub totally miss the point. Yes, the brand is the little brother of Rolex but that is actually a selling point for us – and should be for anyone wanting a quality timepiece. For a start you often get the same case, crown, crystal, and bracelet as big brother. And while the Black Bay is clearly a tribute to the legendary sub, the detailing is unique and has a totally distinctive, vintage look. And we all know that the vintage look is hot right now – and will be for many years by our reckoning. So what are you waiting for, if you want Rolex quality for less, a Tudor is a no-brainer.

Buy the Tudor Black Bay…if you want a great watch for less

Shop Tudor watches

4. Omega Speedmaster Professional

What can we say about the venerable Speedie that has not been said already? It is an icon and rightly so. Not only has it been to the moon – and back – but it also saved the Apollo 13 team when their instruments died. The astronauts used their Omega Speedmaster to navigate back to Earth – true story, no marketing bull here. And we think the Professional Moonwatch is a watch for life, a keeper – something fathers pass down the generations. What do you get? 42mm of brushed and polished stainless steel, with a hesalite crystal and perhaps the most famous chronograph dial out there. It also keeps the time pretty good.

Buy the Omega Speedmaster Professional …if you want to own a true classic

Shop Omega Speedmaster

5. IWC Portuguese Chronograph Automatic

Where can you get an in-house calibre and a stunning dial like that for less than $10k? Not many places is the short answer. Here you get a case size that is just right – or 40.9mm if you want the exact measurement – with ever-so elegant tapered hands. We also love the way the 12 and 6 numerals make way for the chronograph sub-dials. All-in-all an elegant watch that will great dressed up (in leather) or dressed down (with a NATO strap).

Buy the IWC Portuguese Chronograph Automatic..if you want an elegant, versatile watch for life

Shop IWC Portuguese

6. Panerai Luminor Base Logo Stainless Steel PAM1000

Ah Panerai, where have you been all our life. With a dial to die for and the iconic crown-protecting bridge, this PAM1000 is a chunky beast that will turn heads. Under that beautifully domed scratch resistant sapphire crystal lies perhaps the easiest-to-read dial out there – thanks to the bold hour markers. Best on larger wrists, as this Panerai Luminor is not a small watch with a 44mm case size, but don’t let this stop you buying it if you think you can pull it off.

Buy the Panerai Luminor Base Logo Stainless Steel PAM1000…if you don’t want to spend more than $6,495

Shop Panerai Luminor

7. Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 7 GMT

This is the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 7 GMT, which weighs in with a 43mm dial, and a rather attractive ‘Pepsi’ bi-directional rotating bezel. You also get a scratch resistant sapphire crystal, water resistance to 300m and a stainless steel band with a push button folding clasp. And did you notice the classic GMT function – all for under $3k. We think that price is great value for money.

Buy the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 7 GMT …if you don’t want to spend more than $3k

Shop Tag Heuer Aquaracer

8. Cartier Ballon Bleu

Cartier is a French fashion house, but all the elements of the Cartier Ballon Bleu are Swiss made – and the combination results in a horological work of art. What do you get? Elegant Roman numerals, a date function (only found on the larger 42mm version), stainless steel case and bracelet – and that Cartier trademark, the ‘Bleu’ sapphire on the crown. And did you notice the detailed pattern on the face of the dial – it oozes quality. Priced at $7,790, we think this is a special timepiece.

Buy the Cartier Ballon Bleu…if you want to be cool like Johnny Depp

Shop Cartier watches

9. Creux Automatiq Ghost Gen II

If you look quickly we think this watch could easily be mistaken for a Richard Mille. Ok, maybe without your glasses. Seriously though, you may not have heard of Creux and its Automatiq Ghost Gen II – but we love what they have achieved with this watch. For a shade over $3k you get 316L stainless steel with a titanium matte finished PVD coating, which is super smooth with no harsh edges. And what about that skeletonised date movement – it is sure to get a heap of attention. Let’s call it affordable Swiss luxury with very few compromises, and a steal at the price.

Buy the Creux Automatiq Ghost Gen II…if you dare to be different

Shop Creux Automatiq Ghost Gen II

10. Breitling Avenger

Last but by no means less – Breitling’s Avenger range is officially chronometer-certified – like all Breitling movements, so you can be sure it will tell the time pretty damn accurately. And for $5,899 you get a uni-directional rotating stainless steel bezel, three subdials – 60 Second, 30 Minute and 12 Hour, 300 meters water resistance – with a very pretty blue rubber strap. If you like this brand the Avenger will not disappoint – just make sure your wrist can handle the 43mm case.

Buy Breitling’s Avenger…if you are a man, or lady, of action

Shop Breitling watches


We are in awe of Julie Kraulis, who creates extremely detailed, large scale pencil drawings of classic watches

Take a moment to appreciate the art of Toronto-based Julie Kraulis, who has carved out a niche with her detailed, large scale pencil drawings of classic watches from Rolex, Omega, Cartier, A. Lange & Söhne, TAG Heuer and more.

Yes, pencil – not a medium you would expect to find being used to painstakingly reproduce high end luxury timepieces. She loves the humble pencil so much, she describes it as, ‘…an extension of my hand, mind, and soul’. And people have been taking notice – including TAG Heuer and Omega, who have commissioned her work. Thanks to her association with Omega she has even met some of the legendary ‘Moon Team’, including Buzz Aldrin. Not bad work if you can get it.

Zaeger caught up with her to find out what drives her passion, her process and much more.

julie-kraulis-rolex Shop Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

How did your journey with watches start?

I started drawing watches about two years ago. At the time, I was looking for a new subject to explore for a collection of work. I came across an article about iconic timepieces that piqued my curiosity and I had a feeling there would be plenty in the world of watches to inspire.

In terms of brands, which are some of your most commissioned watches?

Heaps of Rolex watches. Quite popular, aren’t they?! Submariners, Daytonas, Milgauss, an Oyster Sotto. I’ve done quite a few OMEGA Speedmasters, too.

julie-kraulis-rolex-submarinerShop Rolex Submariner

Have you worked with any watch brands yet?

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with collectors from all over. In terms of brands, I’ve worked with TAG Heuer and OMEGA and look forward to opportunities with others in the industry.

Why did you choose pencil?

I have always loved graphite and the ways you can work with it, not to mention its lovely shimmer when you catch it in the right light. I like the idea of using one of the simplest tools to create highly detailed, elaborate pieces of work. It was most likely the tool used to sketch out the concept and design of these icons and so it seems a fitting medium to echo the starting point. Also, I find that the monochromatic palette allows the unique details of a watch to really stand out – line, form, and balance are clearer without the distraction of colour.

What combination of pencil grades do you use?

I work with Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils in HB, B, 2B, 3B, and 4B grades.

And your paper of choice?

Arches Hot Press. It’s gorgeous and the texture really makes the graphite sing.

julie-kraulis-alsA.Lange & Söhne

How do you prevent the lead from smudging?

I work left to right and top to bottom to minimize smudging. I lay down sheets of paper on top of the artwork while I’m working and spray the finished piece with a fixative to set the graphite in place before shipping. I use a Staedtler kneadable eraser to clean up any unintended marks.

How long is each labour of love?

Each drawing takes anywhere between 200 – 300 hours and around 50 pencils, depending on the level of detail and complexity.

julie-kraulis-omega-moonwatchShop Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

What is your process for each artwork?

I always start reading about a watch. I’ll glean as many details as I can and then I let those roll around, distilling into ideas. There is often a strong theme for each timepiece and that lends itself to a different design approach. I like to incorporate elements inspired by the watch’s history and narrative, as well as anything else of significance. From there I sketch out a bunch of ideas and work together with clients refining the idea through a series of mock ups. I then move on to the final stage rendering the artwork.

What is your daily wear – the watch on your wrist everyday?

I’m on the hunt for my first watch. Crazy, I know. I spend all these hours drawing watches and I don’t own one! I tend to go through each day untethered, by feel rather than time, and so I’ve not needed one. Now that I’m working with watches, it’s impossible to resist their charm and so I’d like to start collecting.

julie-kraulis-watch-artBrand collaboration/Pencil jar/Press

And for any of our readers who want to own a Julie Kraulis – we presume there is a queue? What are the options to purchase?

There is a wait list for commissioned pieces but of course, I’m always happy to add names and projects to the list. For a different option, I offer limited edition timepiece prints through my shop and I’ll be releasing my third in the next little while, a vintage Rolex Submariner 5513 metres first.

julie-kraulis-watch-artistJulie at work

You can follow Julie Kraulis on Instagram, or check out her online shop.

Looking for the right size watch for your wrist? Read our guide to help you choose when shopping online.

It can be tricky choosing, especially if you are shopping for a luxury watch online and don’t have the option of trying it on.  And even though we give you the option of coming into our Sydney or Melbourne showrooms, we realise this is not always practical.

This guide is the next best thing – and is designed to give you an idea of what your timepiece will look on your wrist – and what to consider before you buy. Ultimately there is no ‘correct’ watch size – it’s up to you what goes on your wrist and what feels right and comfortable.

How to choose the right size watch for your wrist

A number of elements determine how a watch looks on your wrist, including:

Watch and wrist size: It’s all about proportion

Another crucial factor to consider is proportion, specifically the size of the watch compared to your wrist size. Both can play a part and could limit your choice – especially if you have a very slim or outsize wrist. Watches with large case diameters will look overly large on a thin wrist, while a small watch face will be dwarfed on a very large wrist. This is not to say that you can’t wear an overly large watch. Personal taste as well as fashion will also play a part in your choice.

What is the average watch size?

Watch sizes for men are getting larger. In fact the average watch size has been creeping up since the 1960’s when 34mm – 38mm was considered the ‘standard’ sizing for men. Today that size dial would be considered feminine, and the average is now closer to 38mm to 42mm. In fact watches larger than this are not uncommon and actually sell very well – just look at Panerai’s Luminor (44mm). This trend has also crossed over into ladies watches, where large dials and oversize watches have become popular.

Let’s take a look at some common case sizes, how they will look on an average diameter wrist and what some popular models are.

Large/oversize watches: Impressive scale and presence

If you want to make a statement go with a large or oversized watch. These were uncommon until fairly recently when models like Hublot’s Big Bang (42mm to 44mm) broke onto the scene in 2005. Panerai’s Luminor has been around longer, and has gained cult status with a new generation of watch fans who love the chunky look and impressive size of an oversized watch case.

Fit: If you have an average diameter wrist, a large or oversize watch will dominate your wrist, and the lugs may even overlap your wrist. If you have a larger wrist it should fit and look just right, while they will overwhelm a thinner wrist.

Common case sizes: 44mm, 46mm, 50mm

Medium size watches: The sweet spot?

Watches that measure 39mm to 41mm are currently the most popular watch case size, and you will have many iconic watches to choose from in this size range. This includes many models from the Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster, IWC Portuguese range – and many other brands.

Fit: If you have an average size wrist you can expect the lugs on watches this side to fit comfortably and not overlap at all. Proportionally the watch will not overwhelm your wrist. It is most probably a good fit for larger wrists, and could even work for a thinner wrist – depending on your style and preference.

Common case sizes: 38mm, 40mm, 42mm

Small size watches: Elegant, vintage and ladies

Watches this size – 34mm to 38mm – where once the ‘standard’ for mens watches. This is no longer the case as watchmakers focus on larger, oversized watches. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a modern watch in this size – Patek Philipe’s Calatrava and the Frederique Constant Slim Line range are both fine modern examples. Or you can buy vintage, where there are a lot of classic pre-owned watches to choose from. Ladies watches are also in this size range, and even go smaller down to 26mm cases.

Fit: If you have an average size wrist you can expect small watch cases to sit in the centre of your wrist, and look proportionally smaller than a medium size watch face. If you have a thin wrist this will look proportionally ‘right’ and is probably a good choice. If you have a larger wrist, this size watch is likely to look feminine and a little lost on your arm.

Common case sizes: 32mm,34mm, 36mm

Looking for a special timepiece? Read our article for the top 10 luxury watches you can buy right now in Australia. The list includes classics like Rolex’s Submariner, Omega’s Speedmaster, Hublot’s Big Bang, IWC and more…

Yes, we know – you could pick a 100 other luxury watches for this list. The fact is we are spoilt for choice when it comes to quality timepieces. So what we have done is list 10 watches that sell consistently, day in day out.

Why are they so popular?

Classics never go out of style

Well, they say classics never go out of style, and for watches this is true.

All these watches are also all quality timepieces from established brands. You get world class engineering and materials on everything from the case, to the bezel, dial, hands, movement and bracelet. Buy one of these and they will not only give you many years of faultless service, they could even appreciate in value.
Yes, some watches can be an investment. A Rolex Submariner 5513, manufactured in the early 1960s recently sold for nearly £100,000 (€113,000) at auction – it would have sold for a fraction of that originally. The watches listed here are also classics of their genre, and unlikely to go out of fashion.

via Creative Commons

How much are luxury watches in Australia?

How long is a piece of string?
Luxury means different things to different people – so one person may think $1,000 for a watch is a lot. For others luxury has no limit – a Richard Mille Automatic Flyback Chronograph (AU$ 288,764) or maybe a Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino (US$4 Million).  Thankfully luxury watches are available at a range of price points.
You may be surprised to know that even Rolex Submariners are priced competitively, as are Omega’s iconic Moonwatch – the Speedmaster Professional ($5k – $6k) and Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay range (around $4k). And you don’t have to buy new, a pre-owned luxury watch can be a sound investment that is also easy on the wallet.

Why buy a pre-owned luxury watch?

The attractions of a pre-owned watch are obvious. They cost less for a start. Just like a car leaving the showroom, a new watch depreciates in value after purchase. There are some exceptions, like some vintage Rolex Submariners from the ‘60s and ’70s, which have more than doubled in price over the last few years. Buying pre-owned also means there are more models to choose from. And then there is the character of a pre-owned watch, especially the vintage variety, which tells a story that collectors and serious watch fans pay big bucks for. But you do need to be careful – fake or replica watches are hard to spot, as counterfeiters get better at their job.

The top 10 luxury watches you can buy right now in Australia

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 luxury watches you can buy right now in Australia, starting with a legend:

1. Rolex Submariner

There is not much one can say about the Rolex Submariner, except that is one hell of a watch – which is why it is often the first ‘serious’ luxury watch that people buy. And for good reason – it oozes prestige, from the build quality to the materials used in its exterior. Inside is an amazingly accurate in-house movement that just about everyone will recognise on your wrist.

Style: The best known (diving) watch in the world
Movement: In-house 3130 and 3135 automatic calibers are regarded as the best in the business
Power: Automatic with 70 hours power reserve

Diameter: 41mm

Buy it if…you want to own a piece of watchmaking history

USP: It’s a Rolex of course!

Price: Prices for a Rolex Submariner in Australia vary. You can spend as little as $8,500 for a pre-owned Rolex Submariner in Stainless Steel (pre-ceramic) to $18,500 for a Rolex Submariner “Hulk” with the green dial and bezel.

2. Hublot Big Bang

Even though Hublot’s Big Bang has not been around very long, it has made a real impact on the luxury watch scene. The unique design – featuring a porthole with exposed screws on the bezel, is really what sets it apart from other luxury watches. Available in a range of materials including gold alloy, titanium, or carbon fiber – and with a rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet.

Style: Industrial dress
Movement: In-house caliber

Power: Manual + automatic
Diameter: 43mm – 45mm

Buy it if…you want to make a Big Bang

USP: Has to be the screws on that bezel

Prices: Prices for Hublot in Australia vary from $11,995 for a pre-owned Hublot Big Bang Tantalum to $13,495 for a Hublot Big Bang Chronograph – and you can spend more.

3. Omega Speedmaster

This watch is the true Omega classic that could take you to the moon and back – well not literally of course, but it would still work is the point. The Omega Speedmaster Professional – also affectionately known as the Speedie – is most associated with being the first timepiece on the moon. And did you know more recently, Omega charged NASA a symbolic 56 cents for the 56 watches they supplied for the Space Shuttle astronauts? You do the math – it sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

Style:  Classic and contemporary
Movement: 1861

Power: Manual


Buy it if…you like space travel

USP: Timeless design and rock solid engineering

Prices: For such an iconic watch, and considering the engineering and design you are buying into, an Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is rather good value at $ $5,625.00 (RRP $6,250)

4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

There are not many brands that can compete with Audemars Piguet, especially its now iconic chronograph – the Royal Oak Offshore. Here we also have a porthole design, like Hublot’s Big Bang, with exposed bezel screws, and a tourbillon to keep it ticking flawlessly. This is a timepiece that is made to impress!

Style: Luxury sport, dress
Movement: AP caliber 3126/3840

Power: Automatic

Diameter: 42mm

Buy it if…you want to hang with Le Bron and Jay-Z

USP: Manufactured by a true haute horlogerie brand

Price: Prices in Australia range from $23,995 for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph, to $25,995 for the Royal Oak Stainless

5. Tudor Heritage Black Bay

Looking for a watch that oozes the same quality as a Rolex without the price tag? Then look no further than the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. Rolex actually owns Tudor, so you get all the skills, and in-house expertise of this legendary brand.

Style: Classic retro diving watch with bidirectional rotating bezel and luminous indications
Movement: In-house automatic self-winding mechanical movement
Power: Automatic with 70 hours power reserve

Diameter: 41mm

Buy it if…you don’t want to shell out for a Rolex Submariner, but want the same rock solid engineering and good looks.

USP: Affordable price point
Price: Prices for a Tudor Heritage Black Bay in Australia are around the $4,395 mark (RRP $4,410)

6. Patek Philippe Nautilus

For the ultimate dress watch, that is versatile enough to double as a sports watch, look no further than the Patek Philippe Nautilus. This is a watch that screams style, substance and serious watchmaking – an heirloom to pass down the generations.

Style: Elegant but sporty
Movement: Caliber 324 S C

Power: Automatic

Diameter: 38mm

Buy it if…you want to impress people in an understated way

USP: Simple, but ever so desirable

Price: Prices for Patek Philippe Nautilus in Australia vary, depending on the model. Expect to pay anywhere from $70,000 for a steel version to $84,000 for a two tone gold/steel version.

7. Cartier Ballon Bleu

Here is another timepiece which has an unusual and iconic element – namely the ‘Bleu’ sapphire on the crown – Cartier trademark. And though it looks vintage, the Cartier Ballon Bleu was released fairly recently – in 2007. What is not to like, from the Roman numerals on the dial to the round face. Best of all it comes in versions for men and women – his and hers?

Style: Elegant, sophisticated – French

Movement: In-house

Power: Automatic

Diameter: 42mm

Buy it if…you want to hang with Johnny Depp and the Dutchess of Cambridge, a.k.a Kate Middleton

USP: That sapphire!

Price: Prices for the Cartier Ballon Bleu in Australia vary, anywhere from $7,790 (RRP $9,150) to much more for a diamond encrusted model.

8. Tag Heuer Carrera

Here is a chronograph with a real pedigree in the fast lane – having been closely associated with motor racing. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear it track-side. With a stainless steel case, the engineering here is top class. If you are short for a Sub, this one will do nicely as a replacement – and then some.

Style: Definitely sporty, preferably racing
Movement: Calibre 1887

Power: Automatic

Diameter: 43mm

Buy it if…you want to live in the fast lane

USP: That racing pedigree…

Price: Prices for a Tag Heuer Carrera in Australia vary, but are surprisingly affordable. Expect to pay in the region of $4950 for pre-owned watch in mint condition, complete with box and papers.

9. IWC Portuguese

Wow, that is a dial to die for! Not difficult to see why watch fans queue up for the IWC Portuguese range. This version is the IWC Portuguese Automatic Chronograph, which today is one of the most popular dress watches for men – and a best seller in Australia.

Style: Refined, casual
Movement: Caliber 79350

Power: Automatic

Diameter: 40mm

Buy it if…you want to dress for success

USP: The elegant dial of course!

Price: Prices for the IWC Portuguese range vary, but this Chronograph is around $5,995

10. Panerai Luminor

Last but not least the Panerai Luminor, which has a dial that rivals the IWC for elegant simplicity. Then there is the hidden crown, which belies its origins as a divers watch. And for a change, a timepiece that is not Swiss – but Italian designed. It is a large watch, so will suit anyone who wants to make their presence felt.

Style: Dress or diving
Movement: Swiss

Power: Automatic

Diameter: 44mm

Buy it if…you want to hang with Stallone

USP: Cult design
Price: Prices vary for the Panerai Luminor range in Australia, but you can expect to pay in the region of $6,900 for Panerai Luminor Marina Stainless Steel

Here at Zaeger we have an extensive range of pre-owned watches, where you can get more for your money. Or buy brand new pieces from all the major luxury watch brands. Want to view a watch? Its as easy as getting in touch to arrange a private appointment. We have showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney, where we can help you choose the right watch for you.

Looking to invest in a luxury watch, but worried you could be buying a fake or replica? Read our guide so you know how to tell a copy from the real thing.

So you want to invest in a luxury watch, but are worried you could be buying a fake or replica?

It is a legitimate concern. If you buy a watch direct from the manufacturer, a reputable dealer or outlet you do reduce the likelihood of encountering a fake. However the quality of fake or replica watches has also improved greatly – so you do need to know what to look for.

Take the risk out of your hands by reading our guide, so you know how to spot a fake luxury watch, and what telltale signs to look for.

The most common fake watches

Like the rest of the counterfeit or replica industry, be it handbags or sneakers, it is all about moving stock of what is ‘hot’ and in vogue at the moment. For watch brands, Rolex is easily the most faked manufacturer out there. You can find a cheap Submariner replica in just about every market from London to Bangkok and everywhere in between. The Rolex Day-Date and Datejust  are however the title holders of the most copied watches – at least for now. Next up are other top watches from brands like Audemars Piguet, Panerai, IWC and Omega – even the intricate Richard Mille RM27-02 has been copied.
You also need to look out for a ‘Frankenwatch’.

What is a ‘Frankenwatch’?

A Frankenwatch is not quite a fake, but is rather cobbled together from a bunch of different genuine, after market and/or replica parts. So you could be looking at a Speedmaster with an original case and bracelet, but the dial and pushers could have been cannabalized from another model. The worst scenario is that some elements could be fake. This not only devalues the watch, but it may not function as it should due to the inferior parts used. This is a difficult beast to identify, and Frankenwatches often fool the serious watch collectors. Should you care? That depends. If you are not a collector and have not intention of selling the watch – you may be quite happy to have a watch that is not totally ‘stock’, but works just fine. Others, like collectors, will generally not touch a watch with non-genuine parts.

So what signs do you need to look for to spot a fake watch? Let’s find out.

Real or fake, can you tell the difference? via Wikimedia Commons

6 ways to spot a fake luxury watch and what to look for

Use these 6 steps to help work out if a watch is fake or the real deal…

1. Weight

The first tell tale sign to look for in a high end luxury watch replica or fake is the the weight. Genuine timepieces are generally made from more solid materials, typically high quality stainless steel or precious metals, which weigh more than the inferior metals and components used to construct a fake or counterfeit watch. A fake will therefore typically feel ‘light’ in your hand – though it helps to have a genuine version to compare it to. Watchmakers will often weigh a suspected fake on an electronic scale to confirm its authenticity.

2. Crystal and date window

Does the watch dial look a little hazy through the face? Is the face scratched? Chances are it is a fake if you cannot see the dial clearly, as fakes generally use a lower quality glass or mineral crystal that has imperfections. It is also easily scratched. Genuine high end watches use a sapphire crystal that is scratch-resistant and extremely durable. The date window, or cyclops can also give away a fake watch. This is because the original manufacturers specify a certain magnification so the date is easily legible for the wearer. Fake watches often have a weaker magnification, or no magnification at all – so the digits appear small and are more difficult to read.

Genuine date window, Rolex Datejust via Thejaynotes/Wikimedia Commons

3. Finish

As you would expect the overall finish of a replica watch is nowhere near what is achieved in a state-of-the-art factory. A brand like Rolex designs, develops and produces all the components of its watches in-house, a process that includes the casting, machining, assembly and finishing of their timepieces. In fact, Rolex has three distinct sites for different components: (Plan-les-Ouates – development and production, Bienne – movements, Chêne-Bourg – dials and gemmology). This investment and attention to detail results in a flawless finish on any genuine timepiece, with a mirror finish free of blemishes the most obvious result. Counterfeiters struggle to match this quality and craftsmanship as they invariably are working in very different conditions, with inferior tools, materials and resources. On fakes this often results in ill fitting bracelet end links, where they interface with the case lugs, as well as metal cases and bracelets with rough edges and finishes. Bracelets on a genuine timepiece will also often have stamps inside the folding clasp mechanism. Another giveaway are bezels that do not rotate smoothly, or fail to rotate at all – all common features of a fake watch.

Extrmely poor fake Rolex with spelling mistakes via Wikimedia Commons

4. Movement

Movements are  where, with a little sleuthing and knowledge, you can definitively identify a fake or replica timepiece. Some luxury watch brands are famous for their movements, which are the intricate internal mechanics that make a watch do what it does. These are exceedingly complicated components that are very expensive to design, develop and produce. So complex and costly, that many top watch brands –  IWC, Breitling and TAG Heuer amongst others – rely on third party specialist manufacturers for their movements. Lemania is one of these famous movement manufacturers, having supplied the mechanics for Omega’s now iconic Speedmaster, which was was based on the their 321 calibre movement.

Omega Cal.1861 Chronograph Movement via Shane Lin/Wikimedia Commons

This inherent complexity also makes mechanical watch movements very difficult to replicate, which means fakes often have an inferior version – or on really cheap/poor fakes where many opt for a battery driven version. This can result in odd anomalies, like watch hands ticking when they should glide around the dial. As a general rule of thumb, perpetual movement watches should not tick. A movement is obviously difficult to assess online, but any serious seller should include close up photographs of the timepiece’s movement. Movements should obviously have everything in the right place, and be engraved with logos/badges and/or serial numbers in the appropriate locations.

5. Serial number

This may seem obvious, but how many of you take the time to check the serial number of a watch? For serious collectors this will often be the first step to establish a timepieces authenticity – because serial numbers are unique to each watch. There should only be one serial number for every watch produced. The first step is to do a quick Google search. If you find an online listing for the same watch with the same serial number then it is highly likely one, or even both watches are replicas. This is because fake or replica watches are often produced in batches – and it is saves counterfeiters time and money to give them all the same serial number. Watch manufacturers engrave their serial numbers in different places, Rolex is between the lugs, Omega on the rear or inside the watch while Panerai are on the back of the case. A watch without a serial number will also indicate a fake. There are various online databases you can use to verify the serial number of a watch. These include the US-based Watch Certification Services, which offers an online verification report. Manufacturers also have online databases of serial numbers, which you can use to confirm authenticity. These are often paid services.

6. Dials, printing and lettering

The dials, printing and lettering is another area where you can spot a fake or replica, especially if it is a poor reproduction. The detail on the dial including the size of the logo, typography and wording on the dial of a fake is often not perfect, though fakers are getting better at this – to the extent that some experts have been fooled. Rolex aficionado Philipp Stahl, who produces the Rolex Passion Report, has documented the production of high quality fake Rolex dials and observes, “The print is generally a bit to thick and in detail it’s very close to the original but just not perfect, not Rolex, not vintage, not original!” He recommends focusing on the coronet (Rolex crown) and ‘R’ printed on the dial, as well as the luminous added to the dial. There should also be no smudging or anything unusual about any watches logo or lettering on the dial. These detailed elements of a watch are very difficult to reproduce faithfully, and could indicate you are dealing with a fake. Unsurprisingly Panerai fakes are difficult to identify, mainly because the iconic dial is so simple and without any great detail.

Original vs fake vintage Rolex dial via Rolex Passion Report

How to buy a luxury watch safely

Take the time to do your homework on a watch before you buy it. This will a go long way to making sure that you get a genuine timepiece and not a fake. This is especially true if you are shopping on auction sites like eBay or online outlets, as opposed to a physical store. Protect yourself by making sure you:

​This guide will hopefully help you, but the best way to avoid buying a fake watch is to have it authenticated by a master watchmaker.

Here at Zaeger we have an extensive range of pre-owned watches, where you can get more for your money. Or buy brand new pieces from all the major luxury watch brands. Want to view a watch? Its as easy as getting in touch to arrange a private appointment. We have showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney, where we can help you choose the right watch for you.