Hi everyone! In this article, I’ll be talking about my recent experience of buying an IWC Le Petit Prince chronograph that turned out to be fake.
When I first discovered that the IWC Le Petit Prince Chronograph I had bought was fake, I was in disbelief. After all, I’m supposed to be a watch “expert” – how could I not have discerned it was a fake before transacting? And as I glanced down at the watch on my wrist, I was still taken aback by how beautiful the watch was. How could such a nice watch be fake?
With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I brought the watch to Bruce of the Xcess, who examined it in greater detail. The first thing he noted was how the day window didn’t change as promptly as it should, which turned out to be the first of many red flags.
Bruce next placed the watch underneath a microscope, which magnified the watch in x100 detail. He then noted how the hands were heavily scratched – uncharacteristic of IWC. It could have been damaged by an independent watchmaker, but that was also unlikely as the hands didn’t look like they were replaced.
There were also minute cracks in the day/date window, which is once again uncharacteristic of genuine IWC watches.
Interestingly, the watch contained a genuine Valjoux 7750 movement. This goes to show that even simply opening up the caseback isn’t sufficient – one really has to pay attention to the minute details.
They say the devil is in the details, and that is absolutely apt here. Teresa, the watch polisher, of the Xcess managed to discern tiny differences between the Le Petit Prince engraving on my watch, and references which she managed to find online. For example, note how the shoe of the fake IWC engraving is narrower, whereas that of a genuine example is stumpier.
After returning home, I realised that the warranty card that came with the watch was incorrect as well. On a genuine example, the card should read “IW377714”, not “IWC3777714”.
To make matters worse, I soon realised that the manuals were incorrect too. In my haste to transact the watch, I didn’t examine the manuals properly, and I am now kicking myself for it.
I immediately made a police report afterwards, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been lucky enough to get my money back. That shows the importance of taking action quickly – don’t be afraid to approach the authorities if you realise that you’ve unknowingly bought a fake watch, or any other luxury good.
This episode has served as a learning lesson for me too. Always buy from reputable sources, and thoroughly check the “full set” – including the warranty card, papers and manuals – before transacting. Better yet, bring the watch to a third-party watchmaker (such as the Xcess) before parting with your hard-earned money. You would have to pay a small authentication fee, but it will save you a lot of potential grief.
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