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Survey finds consumers easily duped into buying fake watches when they see genuine brands’ photography

A picture taken on January 29, 2013, shows a fake Breitling watch on display during the inauguration of the exhibition "Contrefaçon, sans façon", held until March 8 at the CCI France in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

The ease with which genuine photographs from watch brands can be used to promote fake watches online is fueling an epidemic in sales of dodgy timepieces.

Consumers are increasingly comfortable shopping online and on marketplace sites such as eBay and Amazon, even for prestige timepieces, but can be persuaded that fakes are genuine just because they are advertised with a manufacturer’s original photography.

In a survey of 200 consumers in the United States by Red Points, a brand and copyright protection consultancy, 43.5% of respondents said they evaluate the trustworthiness of a product or seller by the quality of the photos.


This amount is expected to increase each year as online marketplaces continue to be targeted by counterfeiters, Red Points says.

When respondents were asked how confident they were in their ability to identify a fake watch, 27% said they were not confident.

However, after viewing photos of real and fake watches currently on sale online, that figure jumped to 42.5%, suggesting that confidence is based on a false idea of what fake looks like.

Laura Urquizu, CEO of Red Points, said: “It’s loud and clear from the report findings that buying watches is often a style-driven purchase, making watch buyers easy targets for those who use high-quality images and professional-looking websites to imitate companies with strong brand recognition. More worryingly, our findings show that over a third of watch buyers are still falling prey to counterfeiters’ deceptive product images when shopping online. At Red Points, we use an advanced keyword-monitoring system with image recognition to detect IP infringements wherever they occur and protect consumers from the dangers posed by counterfeiters.”

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