How to Check the Authenticity of Tag Heuer Watches
By no means is a Tag Heuer watch an ordinary purchase. Therefore, you will want to ensure the piece you have your eyes on is genuine before splashing the cash. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case as there are many counterfeit models in circulation, and just as many unknowing customers.
So, before you become a counterfeiter’s next victim, here are some tips on how to check the authenticity of tag heuer watches.
- Check the Tag Heuer serial number
- Test whether the watch has sapphire crystal guarding
- Assess the logos and branding
- Check the watch’s function and features
- Test the lumes
- Assess how the crown works
- Assess bracelet quality
- Buy from an official Tag Heuer registered retailer
Tag Heuer serial number
A tag heuer serial number is made up of two or three letters and four numbers and is unique to each watch. Therefore, assessing whether the model you have your eyes on follows this pattern is the first way to check the watch’s authenticity by serial number.
Tag Heuer serial number location
A tag heuer serial number is located on the caseback. For models with a transparent caseback, the serial number should be on the edge of the crystal.
Do all Tag Heuer watches have serial numbers?
Yes, every Tag Heuer watch has a unique serial number, which is why it is one of the best ways to check authenticity. However, if a counterfeiter has gone to the effort of creating a convincing replica, it is not difficult to engrave a few letters and numbers onto the back of it.
Therefore, in order to check the authenticity, you can run a quick online search to see if the model that appears in the results matches the one you are looking to purchase. While this is also something a counterfeiter can do to ensure alignment, the chances of them making up a sequence or using one that does not match are much higher.
Similarly, you can check the accompanying papers. It is also much more likely for an authentic model to come with original documentation, even if bought second hand, which will have a serial number that should match the one on the watch’s caseback. Although a counterfeiter can create replica documents too, it is uncommon the details, such as the serial number, will match.
If you are purchasing an older model, it could be that the serial number on the back of the case has been buffed or polished away, so checking that the papers align with the model that appears in an online search can help you determine its authenticity.
Sapphire crystal guarding
Every authentic Tag Heuer watch is fitted with sapphire crystal glass. The hardy material adds to the robustness of the watch ensuring its scratch resistance and a long-lasting new condition. The glass also helps protect the intricate details present on the watch’s face, so clearly, it is an important feature.
A replica however, will not have been crafted with the same level of care and consideration. Therefore, it is far more common for an unauthentic watch to be made from a standard glass or plastic-based material which is much less robust and resistant to everyday knocks and scratches.
Understandably, if you are paying a premium price for what you believe to be an authentic Tag Heuer watch, you will want its quality to match. So, in order to test whether the glass on your watch is in fact made from sapphire crystal, try placing a few drops of water onto its surface. If the water forms a pool, it is sapphire crystal, however if it runs and smears unevenly, it is most likely standard glass.
Similarly, an authentic Tag Heuer watch will be resistant to water up to a depth of at least 100m, so contact with a few drops will not be an issue. But before running the test, and to avoid causing any damage, check that there is a water resistance stamp on the caseback - this is typically next to the serial number and states the depth to which the watch is water resistant. Of course, if there is no such marking, it is likely a fake and you will not need to run a water test.
Logo and branding
Another telling factor of an authentic Tag Heuer watch is the placement and quality of the logos and branding elements. As a luxury brand with a prestigious reputation, you are not wrong to expect high quality standards for such details. If you do see any mishaps or misalignments, you are more than likely looking at a fake.
For instance, check that the Tag Heuer logo on the watch’s dial has been cut perfectly and is neatly set. If you notice any glue residue, it is probably a replica. Similarly, there should be an embossed logo on the end of the crown. Again, if this logo is not looking too sharp, or has been fixed with glue, it is likely a counterfeit model which has been created with cost-cutting methods.
On the dial, there should also be some small text reading “Swiss Made” at the 6 o’clock mark. Non-Swiss made models, and consequently fakes, might read something different, or nothing at all.
Functions and features
Tag Heuer is known for its extensive collection of watches, all with a variety of high standard and innovative functions and features. So, while a counterfeit model might look the part, it certainly will not be able to perform to the same standards as a genuine one.
For instance, some watch calibres showcase a day date complication. Therefore, you should check whether the actual model you are intending to buy has this feature. Obviously, if the model should have the feature, yet yours doesn’t, it is a fake. Or, if your watch has the feature but it is not in the specifications of the actual model, this also tells you it is a counterfeit.
If a day or date complication is present, check that the numbers or lettering are centred and clearly visible. Any misalignments or unclarity are an indicator of a fake.
The tachymeter is another function the brand has spent years developing and perfecting. Therefore, a tachymeter scale on a counterfeit model will not work in the same way as on a genuine watch, if at all. One way to test this is by turning the bezel to check if the rotation is smooth and presents the correct number of clicks.
If your watch has chronograph functionality it is also likely to have sub dials. These can be tested through use of the pushers next to the crown. It is often the case that on fake watches, these pushers do not actually work, consequently giving you no chronograph functionality, or that the timescales on the sub dials are incorrect.
As sports watches, Tag Heuer models tend to use LumiNova coating on dial indices and hands. Although the ‘glow in the dark’ effect can be created with cheaper materials and compositions, the exceptional clarity of LumiNova is an obvious difference.
You can easily test whether your watch uses LumiNova technology, and in turn, its authenticity, by glancing at it in the dark, particularly after it has been charging in the light for some time. If the time and watch face details are unclear, the chances are you are looking at a fake watch.
Movement mechanisms are another thing the brand has spent years designing and developing, and which continues to this day. Therefore, you will certainly be able to feel the difference between a high quality genuine Tag Heuer watch, and a cheaply produced replica.
When turning the crown, you should feel a smooth, effortless movement on a real watch. But on a counterfeit, there is likely to be resistance and a noticeable movement inside.
The luxury brand also takes its time when crafting bracelets for its watches. For steel bracelet models, the links should align and join together seamlessly, and with leather or fabric straps, there shouldn’t be a seam out of place.
For certain models, such as those in the Link family, each unique ‘S’ shaped link is an individual piece, which adds to watches’ intricacy and detail. However, counterfeiters often cut corners by simply engraving the ‘S’ shape into a solid bracelet, which is another telling factor when it comes to authenticity.
The best way to ensure the watch you buy is authentic is by purchasing it from an official Tag Heuer registered retailer, such as Wallace Allan. Every purchase comes with an authentic box and original authenticity documents, as well as a manufacturers warranty, so you can be sure that the watch you receive is genuine.