We are constantly bombarded by fake items; from leather bags, to clothing, to jewellery, to watches, “knockoff” versions are everywhere.
For some reason, most people seem to think this is a relatively recent occurrence due to the sheer volume of fake stock currently available, when in reality, counterfeiting is as old as humankind itself!
There is a small pocket of the consumer market that is fine with the phony version of larger brand products, but ultimately production of these goods harm the original manufacturers and those willing to pay for brand name and the quality that comes with it.
The problem with fake goods is that the quality of them is now almost as good as the quality of the originals, and in some cases, even authorised service centres are unable to distinguish between genuine and fakes!
To combat this, it is common practice in the watch industry that the manufacturer would use a “secret signature” to mark his product.
Here is an example of Cartier’s signature: a rose symbol stamped on the middle case, just above 12 o’clock and underneath the bezel.
This symbol is not there for the end user. It is well hidden and tucked away from the eyes of counterfeiters as well. It is there for the service centres as assurance that they are assessing and dealing with the genuine article.
Of course the “secret signature” does change from time to time, which makes our own investigative more interesting!