Buy a fake watch on holiday and get a big fine when you get home

In many popular holiday countries you can buy counterfeit perfume, designer clothes or watches for next to nothing. Sounds innocent, but if you get caught at the airport, you can get into serious trouble. There are also rules for importing real brand watches into the Netherlands. Therefore, read everything about buying watches abroad in this blog.

Buying (counterfeit) watches abroad

The import of counterfeit items is officially prohibited in the Netherlands, unless it concerns a very small quantity for personal use. Then Customs turns a blind eye. But if you take full suitcases with you or buy items to trade, the items can be confiscated during inspection and you will receive a hefty fine and criminal proceedings.

Rules also apply to genuine brand watches when imported into the Netherlands. You are only allowed to import a maximum of €430 worth of items from outside the EU per person. You have to pay tax on everything above that. So, are you planning to buy an expensive watch on holiday; First read the import rules on the customs website. Please note: popular holiday countries such as England, Switzerland, Croatia, Norway and Turkey are not members of the EU.

Shop window with fake watches
▴ Imitation watches often look deceptively real

The price doesn’t say everything

Abroad, watches from expensive brands such as Rolex and Omega with a value of thousands of euros are offered for a few hundred euros or even a few tens of euros. But watches that you can buy here for less than 200 euros are also being counterfeited. Think of G-Shock, Fossil and Ice-Watch.

You can often immediately see that it is an imitation, but from a distance it is not always possible to see that it is a fake watch. It is therefore common enough that fake watches are sold as ‘real’ with a hefty price tag. So stay alert.

Tips for recognizing genuine brand watches

When you pay a lot of money for a nice watch, you naturally want the watch to be real. Therefore, always pay attention to the following points:

1. Know where you are buying and do preliminary research

Try to find a reliable, official dealer. Do preliminary research; Study the original timepiece online on the brand’s site carefully on various points, so you always have comparison material.

2. Check the watch for weight

Authentic, luxury watches are made from high-quality (often heavier) materials. Fake watches are often made of cheap materials such as plastic or hollow sheet steel.

3. Look for authentic features

Check the watch for authentic seals, labels or certificates with holographic stickers. This is what you can expect from quality watches. But be careful, certificates of authenticity and labels are also counterfeited!

4. Check the serial number

You can often find verifiable serial numbers for most luxury watch brands online. You can find more information about the unique ID on the manufacturer’s website.

5. Make sure the warranty papers are in order

When you actually buy the watch, make sure that the (warranty) papers are completed correctly on the spot and that you receive a clear invoice. The manufacturer’s warranty also applies to a Dutch dealer and you have proof of purchase if Customs asks about the origin of the watch.

Tips for recognizing fake watches

1. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is

A real Rolex for less than 300 euros. That’s impossible? That is indeed not possible.

2. Messy presentation

Stores that sell fake items often have a messy presentation. All brands – from cheap to expensive – are mixed together. You can be sure that a store that sells genuine brand watches will never present the watches in such a way. The brands control that.

3. Real brand watches are not sold on the street

Real brand watches are not sold from stalls on the street or in tourist shops with an open facade.

4. You are not allowed to view the product before purchasing it

The watch looks like a chronograph, but you cannot press the pushers with which you operate this function. Often sub-dials are also printed on the dial and are not functional. The seller therefore usually tries to prevent you from holding the product in your hands before purchasing it.

Fake watches in Turkey
▴ A shop with fake watches in Turkey

Replica watches: cheap or expensive?

Back to your holiday destination and the fake watch. We can well imagine that when you come across the (financially unattainable) Rolex, Breitling or Audemars Piguet watch of your dreams for cheap, you will be tempted to buy. To do or not to do? The choice is of course yours.

As a watch specialist, we would like to point out that the quality of the movement of a replica watch is significantly lower than that of an authentic watch. Although there are replicas that cannot be distinguished from the real thing with the naked eye, these watches will never be 100% identical. Replica watches usually come from Asian countries, mainly China, where people are not so strict with the rules.

Research also shows that the conditions in which replicas are made are terrible. Hazardous substances are used and child labor is involved.

Replica watches are not repaired

What is also important to know: repairing a replica watch is not carried out at jewelers. Our watchmakers do not tinker with a replica either. In fact, if you send a fake watch to the brand manufacturer for maintenance, it will be confiscated there and you can receive a high fine or criminal proceedings. Even if you didn’t know beforehand that the watch was fake! Unfortunately, this happens regularly.

Buy luxury watches (online) at Techzle

Techzle is an official dealer of more than 60 watch brands. With us you are assured of original watches with a full warranty from the brands themselves. Also on the heavily discounted watches in our outlet. This way you still have money left over for an extra drink on a terrace. Happy Holidays!

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