Would you buy a fake watch? (Part 3)

From angry maids to fakes. We are back to life in Hong Kong.

With a couple of very good friends, Mrs B and I went to China last week-end. We went looking for old Chinese antiquities, and ironically enough, this is one recycling area where China excells. Recycling furniture is good business and I find it interesting to note that all young Chinese want to do is throw out their grandparents stuff and bring in Ikea. All we want to do is throw out the Ikea furniture and buy their old stuff.... So off we went into China to meet a friend of a friend who owns a salvage company/restoration building house. Here their items include (many over 100 years old) stone lions, cabinets and even old Cantonese castle door or two.

So Mrs B had a good days shopping. I kept expecting a Chinese david Dickenson to pop up and say "bargain!"

On the trip back I sat down and listened to a podcast from the BBC. The focus of the article was on fakes and how people in the UK are now more openly flaunting the fact that something they brought is a fake. At the same time I read in the SMCP editorial that China was making a real effort to crack down on fake goods.

Both the BBC and the SMCP articles raised some interesting points. The BBC spoke abut how people want to talk about having a fake because its a perceived bargain. It also raised (and in my opinion) the far more relevant point that many of these brands (***cough Gucchi, Prada & Todds cough***) have been making these bags in China for years and then shipping them back to Italy to sew on a zip for the "made in Italy" tag and now its coming back to bite them in the arse.

As a man who likes watches (and who owns many real items) I was shocked when we came to the border and walked through the shopping center to see that it was FULL to the brim of sellers selling, yes, you guessed it fake handbags and watches. Everything was very open, and if this is on the boarder, I'm guessing that it doesn't get any better as you venture further into the mainland.

So much for the crackdown eh central government boys? The question al l this raised is what do Chinese people think of these fakes? Of course I saw plenty of westerners buying a couple of fakes (me included I am guiltily going to admit) and loving every minute. But here is the raw fact - The fakes are good. Some of them are very good. Especially when you consider that they may well have come from the same factory.

A friend recently told me a story of how he took his TAG watch diving. Now this was a REAL TAG (like mine) and it leaked. Yes, a diving watch leaked. Can't believe it, no nor can I. This is a $4,000 watch and it leaked! Now in China I can pick you up a replica for less than $100 (and it will leak to) but for $1,000 you can pick up a Swiss fake - Now I have NO evidence but when I put the Swiss fake next to my real watch.... Well lets just say some Swiss gentlemen and I are going to be having a friendly chat about where they actually make their watches...

The question is should we as consumers care where our goods are made? Well in the case of these luxury items I would say yes. If I am paying $4,000 for a watch I want the damn thing made in Switzerland. When I put it to my ear I want to hear Hedi signing in the hills with Julie Andrews and a Cuckoo clock chiming in the background. If these companies are happy to lie to me about where they are made, maybe I'll be just as happy wearing a fake version.

At least I know where that was made (and not to take it diving admittedly...)

4 Responses to "Would you buy a fake watch? (Part 3)"


It's not about where it was made, it's about the quality control. Many parts of an ETA movement are made in South China. They go into Swiss watches. China also makes airoplanes. I guess you just need to know what the quality guarintee is all about. I would not by a fake bag or watch, for the above reason. Quality control. Do you really think that a Rolex or a Zenith is really worth the money. Of course not ..... you get the name and the reliability. You do not get that in a knock off in China. Unless it's a plane made by a joint venture. China can do it.. but can it really ensure it?....

ali bullock says
2 August 2007 at 06:20

So true Mr Snow so true.

What watch do you wear by the way? Glad its not a Rolex though!


It's not always about the quality control and where it is made. all watches are only water proof because of the rubber seals. Rubber do dry up and crack over time, so if the watch is over a year old, the chances of leaks are higher. Also if you have changed the battery at a tiny store or battery center, you watch will definitely leak because the rubber will rub against the watch's case when the back is turned to open it up. A PROPER watch replacement will cost $30+ on a luxury watch. Automatic watches (such as Rolexes) also have seals, and if you look at the warranty booklet, you will find that the watch needs to go through expensive maintenance every few years.

So YES, a $4,000 CAN leak, not that it should, and that's why I never take my luxury watches (my Tag Heuer AquaRacer, Rolex Sea Dweller, Rolex Yacht-Master, Omeaga SeaMasters) in the water they are just too expensive to risk....got myself a Suunto just for that purpose!

ali bullock says
3 November 2007 at 01:07

Agreed. Its a good point, my £10 Casio watch has never leaked!