Counterfeits are one of the biggest challenges facing luxury industries today, particularly the watch business. The global market for fake goods is estimated to be worth billions—and watches are one of the most commonly replicated products on the market. In recent years, this counterfeit watch market has been growing exponentially, and no one is safe from being duped. Even some of the biggest celebrity collectors have fallen victim to fake models as counterfeits are becoming more and more convincing.
One of the latest celebs to be called out is Adam Levine, who recently appeared with his collection on Hodinkee’s popular video series, Talking Watches. In an episode released earlier this month, Levine proudly showcased his Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6263, which internet sleuth, Perezcope, speculated came with a fake bezel as well as suspicious pushers and a potentially relumed dial, to his eye, looked just a little too perfect. Perezcope has been known to call out problematic watches on his Instagram and some of his accusations have proven correct. A recent Omega scandal he commented on has resulted in an impending court case. According to Watchfinder & Co. chief executive CEO Arjen van de Vall, fake Rolexes make up 50 percent of the counterfeit market—it’s the most aspirational luxury watch brand and the highest demand, and as such, it’s the most replicated.
Levine is among a handful of celebrity watch collectors who some onlookers think have been duped into buying pieces that have been tinkered with against the “laws” of the watch community and, in some cases, buying downright fakes. Perhaps the best-known example of this is musician John Mayer. After shelling out over half a million—$656,000 to be exact—on a selection of more than half a dozen models from Rolex and Patek Philippe from friend and dealer Robert Maron, Mayer later realized the watches were counterfeit, and filed a lawsuit. Rapper Little Baby and Brazilian professional footballer Neymar are also among the celebrity collectors who have fallen victim to purchasing counterfeit timepieces. Little Baby accused Rafaello and Co. of selling him a fake $400,000 Patek Philippe on his social media, while Neymar was reportedly sold a phony Richard Mille RM 68-01.
With fake watches and replacement parts becoming both more prevalent and better made—to say nothing of the recent boom in the secondhand market—it’s more important now than ever to purchase your timepieces from a reputable dealer. And it doesn’t hurt to do your own thorough research so you can spot anything suspicious.