Sorry, even your Dh190,000 watch could be fake


Dubai - People fall into the counterfeit trap when they buy from the grey market.

by Anjana Sankar

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Published: Thu 27 Jun 2019, 7:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 10:47 AM

Khalid Farooq is the 'go-to-person' when his friends want to check the authenticity of a watch.

He's a watch collector and a forensic expert, so it is unlikely that a fake can pass his hands as real.

But this Emirati, who works as a forensic director in a multinational firm, said fake watches are the hardest to spot.

"The techniques that the makers of counterfeiters use are mind-boggling. They can replicate even the minutest of details of a dial or the crown."

"I, myself, have come across many such watches and the difference from the real one is hard to tell even for an expert," said Farooq, who has an impressive collection of watches from some of the most expensive to low-end brands.

According to him, people fall into the counterfeit trap when they buy from the grey market.

"There are many websites and social media platforms where rare and expensive products are sold. When people are purchasing from the grey market, they are obviously walking into the trap of counterfeiters," said Farooq.

The best way to avoid such dangers is, Farooq said, is to buy from authorised dealers.

"When you purchase from authorised dealers, you know you are getting the real product. You don't have to check the authenticity."

If someone is buying a pre-owned watch, they should buy it from reputable pre-owned dealers that have their own in-house watch makers.

But if someone struck a great deal online, Farooq's simple advice is to get the watch checked from a dealer before buying.

"The solution is easy. It takes only five to 10 minutes to get a watch checked. It is better to be safe than sorry. But many people don't want to take that extra step."

Farooq said he has seen cases where residents buy watches from people who are in the UAE on a visit.

"By the time you figure out the watch is fake, the person has exited the country and cannot be traced."

"If someone is offering you a watch for Dh190,000 when the market price is Dh340,000, you have to ask some basic questions, to begin with. Why is he doing you a favour if he is a stranger?

"You should never pay or transfer money unless the veracity of the product is verified."

Farooq said it is human nature to ignore the red flags when the product offered is rare and unavailable.

"If you want something badly, we ignore our gut feeling and go ahead with the transaction and land in trouble."

For those who willingly buy counterfeits, Farooq reminds them that they are not only harming themselves but others as well.

"When you buy fakes, do you know where this money is going? For what is it being used? And who invests in this kind of business? The money could be going to criminals and other illegal and dangerous activities."

According to him, it is a social responsibility not to aid these illegal businesses.

"I think we need tougher regulations to stop counterfeiting. We are a world-class city and we should remain clean from these illegal practices. It is a joint responsibility," said Farooq.


1-First, you need to buy your watch from trusted sources

2-Alway buy the watches with box and papers, and ensure that the serial numbers match those on the watch

3-Pay attention to the writings inside the dial and the date ink

4-Check the crowns and bracelets of steel watches

5-Check the serial number - again

Anjana Sankar

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