About 25 million authentic watches roll out of Switzerland’s manufacturing plants annually, compared to China’s 663 million. It is a known fact that some of these latter watches are illegal copies of others, resulting in a colorful and dynamic, albeit seedy and clearly criminal fake watch industry. Why are some of the world’s top brands copied when others are left alone? Who buys these replica watches and why? What can you do to ensure you’re getting the real thing? Let’s see.
While preparing this article, I spoke with a number of people who freely admitted to being replica enthusiasts. “Just don’t use my name,” each said. One young man told me how he justified buying his first copy watch.