US Customs and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati have intercepted a shipment of 200 fake Rolex watches that were on route from China to an individual in New York City.
The watches, which appear to be knock-offs of the all gold Rolex Day Date with gold dial known as the Presidential, would have been worth $2.56 million, according to the border force.
They were seized on August 28 from a shipment manifested as “timer”, and originating from China.
“Intellectual property theft threatens America’s economic vitality and funds criminal activities and organized crime,” says Cincinnati port director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers are dedicated to protecting private industry and consumers by removing these kinds of shipments from our commerce.”
Spotting fake Rolex watches is becoming increasingly difficult, according to experts, although a shipment of 200 gold pieces packaged only in bubble wrap would have given officers a clue.
The sort of copies sold under the counter in dodgy street markets are becoming less of a challenge, but a new breed of ever-improving super fakes is causing alarm among industry experts.
Anthony Fabiano, co-founder of Watch Certification Services of America (Watch CSA), a specialist in authenticating luxury watches for trade customers, says super fakes are a growing problem because the quality keeps on rising.
“The tier one counterfeiters of these super fakes are moving so fast with improvements. They monitor forums that share information about how consumers can spot fakes, and then immediately address those issues in the watches they make,” Mr Fabiano tells WatchPro.
The problem is getting worse because, while the total number of fake watches manufactured every year may be stable at around 40 million pieces, the quality from a handful of the most advanced Chinese factories is increasing.