To the owners of fake watches

Dear owners of fake watches,

I have repaired your watches in the past, mostly because I felt sorry for the poor things. Most of the time, I spend a lot more time than I can invoice, because if you touch one thing,  the next thing breaks. Build quality is very poor, as the manufacturers are never faced with their product again. There is no warranty, no returns, and nobody cares. And that shows.

This week, I struggled with a particularly nasty watch, an AP replica, belonging to Barry. I spent amost 4 hours on it, and it was an abomination. After I got the movement going again (the chronograph blocked the movement), the central second hand touched the crystal, so I had to get the movement away from the crystal, and the second hand was terribly made, so when resetting it, it moved on its tube.

I had the blighter working, and sent it back. Barry reported it dead on arrival, and I instantly refunded him everything he had paid me, including the postage back. You can’t get better customer service. I tried hard, didn’t succeed, and that was that.

Now what does our lovely Barry write me?
“Christian pretty shocked at your response.

If you feel how you do about “Fakes”  which is clear to see and read in your response to me and blogs…do not attempt to fix them in the first place! and then make the watch completely broken..
If you agree in the first place to take on a job then that is your decision, the least you can do is follow it through not turn your back on the problem.
Your attitude to the situation is a disgrace.
The refund doesn’t really solve the situation in the slightest. “
Well, I’m speechless, and this is the last fake I’ve touched, guys. Thank Barry for it. Anyway, I never quite understood why you buy these abominations. They are badly made, and you can get a decent watch for the same money. If you want to own an expensive watch, buy one. Don’t pretend you have more money than you actually have. It doesn’t impress the girls, contrary to what you think.

83 thoughts on “To the owners of fake watches

  1. I fully support Christian here, do not repair fake watches.

    I had replica’s offered for repair who cost 400 euro and more with a so called premium swiss movement.
    The reality is it was a cheap, although good looking copy of the original maybe costing 5 euro’s rounded up in China.
    I admire the sellers of the replica’s to market a watch costing maybe 25 euro max for premium AAA quality and getting 400 plus euro’s for it from the endbuyer.
    Also the remarks a jeweller did niot spot the difference between the replica on offer and the real one is telling more on the craftsmanship of the jeweller than the quality of the replica.



  2. I have had scores of swiss, german, french and japanese watches and a few obscure others too. COSC, top grade, Grand Seikos, Rolex you name it I’ve probably had it or a version of it. Some cost £200 some £9000. I agree with Christian and I feel his pain because I have also had dozens of replicas, some cost £20 others £850. Even the best quality or most expensive of the replicas has never compared…. not even come close with the quality, reliability or feel of even the cheaper Seikos, Orients, Hamiltons, Tissots etc. I have worn many replicas for the experience on the wrist but always been upfront about it, never tried to pass it off as anything other than a replica it is before purchasing the real and original watch if the funds allow. It is chalk and cheese to me. The main purpose of a watch is for telling the time. Simple. Whether it is a £10 CASIO or a PATEK PHILIPPE GRAND COMPLICATIONS costing seven figures, I have never met anybody who actually cares which watch I am wearing, which brand it is or how much it cost when they want to know the time. I can say this with experience, Hamilton, Orient, Steinhart, Glycine and many more brands including the wonderful world of Microbrand Watches are making outstanding, I do mean outstanding quality, reliable automatic and mechanical watches which have there own styling and excellent quality control and worldwide customer support for often less than or equal to the price of these Replicas. Best time keeping automatic watch I ever had was a cheeky little Orient with a F6724 movement which ran within +1 second every 50 hours on the wrist, cost £212, says it all. Be all you can be, but not someone you can’t be. Time will tell.

  3. I have a genuine Rolex that I wore everyday for work, one day when I was delivering a worker said to me is that a Rolex, yes I said, then why do you wear it to work. the look he gave me when I said to tell the time was amazing.

  4. I have a Timex which I realize is a cheaper watch but it’s definitely not fake. Would you be willing to remove the Timex lettering and put Rolex letting on the face? I’m not asking you to change anything else on the watch. Thanks!

      • I own and sometimes wear a watch made by Tissel that looks very similar to a Rolex green hulk. I bought it because I like the styling of the green hulk. Being a teacher, I will never be able to own a Rolex, so this Tissel fits the bill for me. It has a Miyota 9015 movement and came wearing a oyster bracelet. There is nothing on the watch that says “Rolex”. Is this something you would work on? Should I be embarrassed to take it to any watchmaker if it needs repair? I don’t expect anything to go wrong with this watch as I have a few other Miyota 9015 movements and the years I’ve had them they have stayed stable.

  5. Hello,
    I have a Rolex replica watch. I don’t call it a fake since it was expensive, certainly not as expensive as a authentic Rolex but very quality made. I understand your not wanting to work on the el cheapo watches but this is a well done version that cost a fair amount of money but recently stopped working. Can you work on this type of higher grade watch?

  6. Hi found you by chance I have a replica Panerai which has stopped I’ve owned the watch two years it’s been perfect it’s not a cheap one I paid £350 for it is there a chance you could have a look at it ,or at least can you but me in touch with someone who might ,I look forward to your reply Iam desperately wanting it repaired .
    Kind regards

      • When i get my go to watch maker i state not expecting mirracles but do what you can . And in his case he shouldve still paid you and binned it . Better to bin movements and just replace the movement with new unless swiss. Cant blame you theres allways 1

  7. Barry is a short small penis Bratt who has through his hatred now caused a person who was willing to help replica owners stop Well thank you from all of us

  8. I think there are 2 kind of people who buy fake watches. First is an asshole who wants to impress people by making them think he’s a guy who can afford it. It’d all about the picture you project to people outside. I know a guy who went to a job interview with a fake Rolex and he got the job. I’m not saying he got the job because of the Rolex but they commented on it during the interview and a guy left a great impression (nice suit, nice pair of shoes and A ROLEX). There’s nothing wrong with wanting people to think better of you, it’s in the human nature. We all want to impress women, friends and even a stranger on a street.
    Then there’s another group of people who simply love the way a certain watch looks and feels like but will never be able to splash a few grand on it.
    So have a little compassion guys…

    • I have a friend that would love to own a patek but doesn’t even dream of having the money (we are in college) so he bought a replica, but since to him it as close to the real thing as he will probably ever get he treats like a son, always looking after it and being concerned about it : this has taught me that if you can’t afford the genuine item that doesn’t mean you can’t have the same experience.

    • my friend has a fake patek, but since this is as close as he will probably ever get to owning the real thing so he looks after this one and cherishes it: i have learnt that if you can’t afford the real thing that doen’t mean you can’t get the same experience

      • Completely agree. Christian you made yourself sound like a bitch with that little comment about the impressing girls thing. Some people just like the design of a watch but can’t afford the real thing. You pretentious twat.

        • Tom – it sounds like I hit a raw nerve there … If you can’t afford something, you don’t become criminal in order to have that something. Easy as that.

        • How revealing of a complete person a short message is! “bitch”, “pretentious twat”… Maybe some bad memories of trying to “impress girls”? And what a pathetic justification for supporting a company that is breaking trademark laws… “But I couldn’t afford the real thing….” Why not steal some money from someone and tell them that’s why you did it?

  9. I friend sent me a fake Rolex from Thailand. I was one of best watches I have ever owned. I worked next to a guy who had a real Rolex same model as my fake. He had nothing but problems with his. My fake was working fine when I cracked the crystal. Fear of taking a fake to a jewler has kept in in a drawer for many years.

  10. Seriously these are not meant to be repaired. In defense of Christian, as a watch repairer that has practical experience in taking these things apart, I completely agree that these would get out of hand.
    I recall a button and stem job taking 2 hours or so. The return bar/yoke kept coming adrift regardless of taking the stem out in wind or handset. Sometimes, you would need to order two or three new movements to have a fair chance of getting a good one because the qualities are so wide and far, that was ok when they were £4 each, but now they are probably £30 or more!

    I can’t remember from where but i heard that there is a high reject ratio at manufacture and i can well believe it. By opening these cases up we are circling that process again and if it needs to be rejected we don’t have a batch of other movements to pick from. I will have nothing to do with these watches.

    I remember a customer got caught out with a fake 18K gold Rolex, it even had a genuine 3035 movement inside. He sent it to rolex for a service and it came back entirely debranded They used a grinder to remove the Rolex emblem from the clasp, crown and dial. And they also punched the model and serial from between the lugs.

    He told me that Rolex said that these 18K cases and bracelets came from Italy. I imagine these are sold to unknowing customers because i can’t imagine paying several thousand for a fake anything.

    Also, lets not forget that many of these fakes go into funding criminal activities.


    P.S. one did say in the case back, ‘MADE IN S#1TTERLAND!

  11. Hi, I have a very nice looking fake but the movement is very poor quality. Putting aside that few people would work on this watch would it make sense to just put a high quality movement in the watch? Instead of trying to repair junk movement just replace the entire movement. To be clear I am not asking if you would do it for me (I respect your decision not to work on these anymore). I am just wondering if what I am suggesting is doable or if it just a waste of time. pun intended.

    • I agree. I have a ap I bought from turkey. It lasted a year. My watchmaker put a new movement in at a cost of £100 and it’s perfect. Except the crown is now different but still waterproof and scratch proof and very reliable. I’m happy.

  12. Hi. I bought a Hublot watch when I was on holiday in Turkey last year. I had never heard of the make but it was such a lovely looking watch I decided to buy it. It was bought from a very professional and authentic looking large store. However it has now stopped working and I would like, if possible to get it repaired. Any ideas where I may be able to send it or take it. It’s only since it stopped working and I have been researching the watch that I have found it to be without a doubt a fake. Like I said I had never heard of the make and bought it purely on its looks. Any help would be appreciated.

      • You are such a pretentious twat! A regular service with the A7750 movement would solve his problems since they usually stem from dry and dirty parts… Any skilled watchsmith can do it with ease.

    • I too bought a very nice looking watch in Turkey, purchased purely on looks, I’m never going to spends thousands on a watch. The make it’s pretending to be is irrelevant to me.
      Anyway, about 2 years later it stopped working, I purchased a middle of the range ‘cheap’ movement new from a supplier, and fitted it myself, it still works and I still wear it.
      Very happy with my purchase.

  13. If an examination or repair was offered without warenty and at your own risk, this fact being clearly stated.I fail to see why there should be any problem. I have a Rolex pattern date adjust perpetual which just stopped. I would not mind spending a few quid purely out of interest to know why it failed.

  14. Should have bought the real deal. I despise the thought that people intentionally purchase non-genuine products because of their lack of self-esteem and insecurities.

    No doubt there is a healthy markup on the majority of tangible products in the market place but that is their right with the consumer having the choice of declining the purchase of said products. It’s like justifying making an insurance claim because they “make” so much money from the policyholders that are lucky enough to not have made any sort of claims.

    I would have charged extra to repair a fake as well as providing no guarantees on any future failures.

    • When Christian and Mitka have waiting lists for getting watches serviced, why bother at all?
      I fully support them in turning fake watches down.
      As a professional I guess it gives little satisfaction to work on these as quality is usually very bad, and the clients that earlier submitted their monstrosities seems to be a special breed.
      Keywords: Impolite bastards….

  15. You disagree with fake watches, fair enough, so you then decide to take on the job of fixing a fake watch, even though it’s against all you hold dear because “you felt sorry for the guy” and not because you were just trying to make money off him, you then proceed to mess up the job and break the guys watch, you then send him back the broke watch and his money which you obviously didn’t earn because hey you broke the watch, then when the guy complains you get all butt hurt and write a whiny little blog post about it. All I can say is speaking as someone who’s stumbled upon this post is: You sound like a right tosser.

      • What he seems to be saying is, he can’t guarantee every watch is repairable, or worth repairing, especially badly-made fakes. What is so elitist about that? If you buy a fake, fine, but consider it disposable, not repairable, and pay accordingly.

      • I have to weigh in on this. The appearance of the Rolex Green Hulk is very appealing to me. Being a school teacher, I will never be able to afford one. Then I found out about a watch brand called Tissel. They make a very close replica, homage if you like, of the Green Hulk. Their brand name is exactly where the Rolex crown on the dial would be. The bracelet that comes with it is a decently made oyster bracelet. The movement is a Miyota 9015. All in all, the fit and finish is nice. In a way, I’m a bit embarrassed that I bought it, but it satisfies my sense of aesthetics. Christian, I would be curious if you would consider this a fake and not work on it. Should I be embarrassed to take it to a watchmaker if I ever have a problem with it?
        I agree with you on your original post. I guess too many people feel that they are entitled…In my experience, those that feel entitled are younger and did not have a proper upbringing.

        • Hi Chris,

          Even though I probably wouldn’t buy it, I can see the attraction of the watch you bought. As this sort of thing doesn’t finance organised crime, I don’t have a problem with it, and would happily service it. There is nothing illegal about it, and Tissel is a Czech company, so based in the EU. If Rolex had a problem with this, they would have already gone after them.

          Not everyone can afford a Rolex, and if the watch you buy is legal and doesn’t finance organised crime, I can’t see any problems with it.

          Best regards,


    • The assertion is the watch wasn’t repaired successfully because its quality of manufacture was not adequate to allow repair. The watch screwed itself up. If it was the watch maker’s inadequacy, he wouldn’t successfully repair the many vhq timepieces he deals with.

  16. hi i have a fake rolex submariner i had it given to me bye a family member who has sadly passed im just wondering how would i go about getting it working again i still wear it as it means alot to me so would appreciate any help thankyou 🙂

  17. I too have a fake rolex, but it has served me good, this past two years or so, but it developed a problem with the winder, so cant alter time, wind it, or change date, and the winder comes right out, I would really like to get it repared, but have tried but no luck, then I come across this Barry guy, and wonder what he has for brains, probably a lump of brown stuff and runny with it, but as they say theres always a idiot ready to put a hammer on anything, but no good in calling names, IDIOT is all thats needed, so sorry that you had to come across such a person Christian, just the kind of guy I felt could solve my problem, but all it takes is one idiot of the worst kind, to spoil it all, should you change your mind Christian, I for one would certainly NOT WANT a refund, whatever I paid would still be worth your time spent on finding it cant be done, and I would be thankfull that some one tried, where as at the moment, I have no options left, many thanks, and to BARRY, were you born an IDIOT, or did you have to WORK at it!!, Thomas.

  18. It depends what you told Barry. If you told him all this up front and he said ‘do your best’, then he can’t complain.

    If you didn’t warn him up front and you took the job on anyway, then you failed to manage expectations. You messed up and then tried to pass off responsibility. Don’t say you fix fakes and then when you can’t, say it’s ‘because it’s a fake’.

  19. I inherited a watch from a friend. I have no idea if its real or an amazing fake. But id be afraid to try and service/repair it, incase i didnt get it back. Watches in particular can carry more value than a price tag. Is there a step i could take that would be safe?

  20. Christian you will always come across idiots like Barry unfortunately. It’s very rare in this day and age that someone like you actually cares. It is a shame that this individual has made you feel the way you do and spoiled it for everyone else.

  21. a fake is a fake, it was made in a way that it was not meant to be serviced. anyone should understand better. Christian is just sympathetic to the watch. that’s all.

  22. A fake only becomes a fake when you apply branding to it. There are many higher end fakes that use genuine ETA/Unitas, Seagull movements as well as the Asian clone movements.
    How would/do you deal with say a Parnis watch that has a clone 6497 movement in it? It probably comes from the same source as the fakes but it’s not fake. All these ‘homage’ watches use the same movements as the fakes.
    Do/would you turn them away?
    So the question is…Is it the brand or the movement you are servicing?

    • I turn away anything that is illegal, e.g. breaks the copyright of someone. If that confuses you, apply the eBay rule. If it’s allowed to list it on eBay, I will repair it.

  23. Christian,
    I am so sorry this happened to you. You have been very kind and generous with your time and talents for those who don’t have or can’t afford genuine watches. It is really unfortunate that someone like Barry can offend and upset you. I have never had any dealings with you, but I am deeply saddened and sorry for the behaviour of Barry. He should be ashamed of himself, not for buying a crappy rep, but for being a jackass.

    Thank you for all you have done for so many in the past who were unable to find someone who truly loves watches and works on them for the benefit of everyone using skills and abilities rarely found for people with rep watches. Thank you for not judging less fortunate watch owners and helping to the best of your considerable abilities. There are so many people who look down on others for the things they don’t have. It is sad. You are a true gent and don’t deserve Barry’s dispicable treatment of you.

    I am not responsible for Barry, but please accept my apology nevertheless and I wish you well in all of your endeavors and know that your very kindnesses and efforts on be half of all others you have already helped will create prosperity in your life.

    Thanks for your past support to the watch community and for all of your previous services.

    Warmest wishes,

  24. Anyone who pays good money for a fake deserves what he gets. If it’s still running when he gets to the sidewalk, he’s ahead of the game.

    Fake buyers are poseurs who want look flash, without the out-lay of cash, but the only ones they’re fooling are themselves.

    Anyone who says, “Look at me, I’m wearing a Rolex” when it’s a fake has real issues.

    And any real Seiko is better than any fake Rolex or Omega . . .

    • Some real Seiko’s (GS) are better then real Rolex’s and Omega’s. Hope that doesn’t shake the hornet’s nest too much. Thank you Christian for this website. I’m starting in Horology and really enjoying it. I want to get to the stage to service my own GS one day. But for now I’m practicing on HMTs and 7S26 Seiko’s ($40).

  25. This is sad news, but I think that there will always be clients who are lacking both courtesy and knowledge. I was told by a mentor of mine that if someone is becoming unreasonably angry, the only thing it really tells is that they have a fundamental lack of understanding. I’ve no doubt Barry is such a person.

    Personally, I think there may be an opportunity missed by not seeing fake/rep repairs on this site. It’s naturally Christian’s prerogative to choose his clients, and the watches on which he works. However if the AP he worked on was timesink abomination – I’d like to know, and preferably see, why. I’d like to hear his opinions about value, craft and engineering when it comes to watches. Just as we saw with the comparison piece on ETA and clone movements, which made great reading.

    The “fake watches, fake people” is a platitude and nothing more. Fake manufacturers learn their craft, rightly or wrongly, from replicating Rolex or whoever, and in time, will make watches in their own right. You could draw similarities to the Fujigen or Matsumoku guitar factories of the 60’s who used to fake Fenders and Gibsons. They are now, given the passage of time, highly regarded manufacturers in their own right.

    I like the fact that Christian feels sorry for watches, even low end fakes. It’s that sort of relationship with work that makes people very good at what they do.

    • Very well said Paul: a polite way to say that Barry is rather ignorant. He has, unfortunately, spoiled things for others. I very much enjoyed reading Christian’s posts on the world of ‘fakes’, some of which were well made: always interesting to see what was inside them.

  26. Christian, I totally do agree with you about these fakes. (As another poster wrote, I’ve never understood why you even repaired a couple in the first place).

    Try to tell this on the WUS/Chinese forum, you’ll make friends 😉

  27. Christian,

    I have searched wide and far to find such an open, above-board and sharing, passionate watch “guy” as you. Whilst there is no pleasing of the miserable customer, I thank my lucky stars that I have found someone like you willing to take on projects, vintage stuff and brands that went down because of the quartz revolution. You make it happen, mate. This watches are often memento’s of people long gone, and you are a protector of their timely reminder.

    And as for the Barry’s out there: less words spend, the better.

    Take care, and move on Christian!

    Thanks for all your work.


  28. Hey Christian,

    Well I found your website when searching on fake watches! I find them interesting not in wanting to own one, but to see how they are made and what movements are put in them. I need not speak of the insulting letter from Mr B. Please continue to show us what is inside the fakes even if they are not fixed.

  29. Hi Christian,

    I have in the past been a bit surprised that you actually have bothered with repairing fake watches at all. Having this said, I respected it as both a sign of technical interest (your posts have been informative in telling why most fakes are crap), and it shows that you are not a snob like many other watchmakers out there.
    For the unhappy owner of the fake AP I will have nothing more to say than ask him find another watchmaker to sort it, if he can.
    The experience of having done several service and repair jobs with you all but writes Mr. Barry of as an “uninformed person with bad manners” (I will refrain, for the sake of your blog, to use the words that actually comes to mind).

    I do not really think fake watches hurt the actual brands being faked as long as this is done with the (lack of) quality found in most cases. I do not see a customer seriously considering a fake product or a real one, except for lack of taste, understanding and money.
    There is a more severs side of all such businesses on the “murky side” of the trade laws: They do not care about breaking trademarks and laws, so before purchasing you may ask yourselves “what else do they not care about”?
    For those that think buying copy/fake products does not have a darker side to it, I would recommend reading Roberto Saviano’s book “Gomorrah”

    Keep up the good work. I am certain you do not need the fake watch clients to stay afloat!:-)

  30. HaHa, I just read some of the comments, one poster sums it up perfectly,

    fake watch, fake person, how true and I wish I had thought of that quote. Brilliant.

  31. Note to Barry.

    Barry mate you are bang out of order, these junk watches are just that, pure junk, as Christian says there is no 12 month gtee, its market quality junk, when it breaks and it will break, then you throw the dam thing in the bin and forget about it.

    my opinion is if you want a decent watch you would be better served buying a decent second hand Omega or if that is to much a Citizen or Seiko automatic.

    Honestly mate how is it Christians fault, do you not see the time and effort he puts into servicing a watch, the bottom line is you own a crappy not even a 2nd rate watch, its a watch from the bottom of the barrel of junk watches, grow up and go get yourself a decent watch from a reputable manufacturer.

  32. Christian,

    I support your decision wholeheartedly. I own no fakes, but am currently in rural China (and still reading the blog), I have never seen so many rolexes in my life. Some are definitely more genuine than others…..

    In my view, a watch is an aspirational purchase. Would I want a Nautilus? Of course I would! But only as the result of years of hard work and saving (unless I hit the jackpot). Getting a fake would only take me a couple hundred quid further away from my final goal! After all, I wouldn’t buy a fake Porsche (though I’m sure if I look hard enough round here, someone will make me one).


  33. Knowing the kind of service Christian gives, and the way he communicates about it, I am very much inclined to think bad things about Barry.

    On the issue of fake watches; one of the worst jobs Christian ever came across I believe, was a watch that I bought through the WUSforums. It was a redialed piece of junk Tissot.
    Not exactly a fake, but not exactly genuine either.
    I don’t think it has made me a lot less gulloble though, and I can very well imagine myself buying a fake watch in the future, believing it is real until it arrives at Christians doorstep. By which I mean to say that a lot depends on whether one buys fake on purpose or by accident.

    And probably Barry probably would have reacted in this uncout manner anyway 😉

    Don’t let a guy like this get to you Christian, and keep on doing what feels right to you. Life’s too short for anything else 🙂

  34. I think it’s a shame. I don’t overly feel to much about fakes one way or another. I don’t like to see the blog get personal though despite the obvious problems.

    I am not sure the issue is “a fake” watch. I work in retail and sell merchandise of quality and not so quality. If a problem arises it can be from anything if the customer is so inclined.

    Christian I hope you reconsider fake rerpair although I do understand I am not fully able to appreciate all the finer issues.

    I would state I own no fakes although I do have a constellation that is not “real”.

  35. Christian good decision to stop dealing with fake watches. Fake watches fake people….. Don’t waste your time and your skills on that.

  36. To Barry. I happen to know Christian well and he is as good a bloke as you’ll ever meet. Your attitude is as poor as your taste in watches, Christian is the genuine thing-your watch isn’t. :Live with it.

  37. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear and you can’t polish a turd. Your stance seems reasonable to me.

  38. I think Barry’s actually done you a massive favour Christian!
    Servicing fakes was only ever gonna make you about as popular as a ginger haired stepson in certainly watch circles 🙂

  39. It seems eminently reasonable to decline to work on fakes based on their quality… Donatello avoided PlayDoh for similar reasons 😉

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