If you are traveling in China, especially big cities like Beijing or Shanghai, it is very likely that you’ll bump into a group of Chinese watch sellers. These sellers are typically carrying suitcases full of counterfeit or replica wristwatches inside and shouting different names of famous luxury watch brands like Rolex, Omega, Bvlgari, Patek Philippe and TAG Heuer.
Due to its luxury brand and high status, Rolex is probably the most frequently counterfeited and illegally sold watch in the world. Most of the counterfeit Rolex watches are produced in China with prices ranging from US$5 to US$1,000, depending on the quality. Lower-end replicas can be easily identified with naked eye due to their ugly quality and cheap materials. Some are even obviously fake and having wrong logo or brand name like Roolex, Foolex, Bolex, Frolex and Folex. However, it can be extremely difficult to discern the high-end replicas from the genuine Rolex watches since they are made in details from high quality materials (even from solid gold) to resemble the original watches.
So, what should you do if you bump into these fake ‘Rolex’ sellers on the streets of China?
Well, the answer is simple, just ignore them and leave, unless you are really planning to buy counterfeit watches. You can entertain them for a short period of time by admiring their collections and pretending to bargain and ask whether the watches are real or not. However, don’t stay too long since they’ll keep bugging you and chase you to buy their watches.
If you are going to buy those fake watches, think twice and be very careful! These counterfeit watches will be confiscated and destroyed if found by Customs in European countries and United States. In addition, you’ll need to pay fines. Here’s a true story:
On 10 May 2007, Mike Korpi from Portland, Oregon came back from China and brought eight fake Rolex watches for his family as souvenirs. He bought these watches for $14.40 each. US customs found these fake watches and he was fined $55,300.