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Authenticating Luxury Watches: Bezel's Multi-Point Approach

Our in-house team of experts meticulously authenticate and certify every watch sold on Bezel, giving you peace of mind and confidence in your luxury watch purchase.


Team Bezel

April 5, 2023


9 min read

Everything you buy on Bezel ships to our facilities first for a thorough authentication carried out by our team of in-house watch experts. We believe that in order to truly guarantee authenticity, we must examine the watch in hand. 

Ensuring you’re always getting an authentic watch that is exactly as it was described at point of purchase is of the utmost importance. Leveraging decades of experience, our team of expert watchmakers and watch specialists meticulously inspects and certifies your watch-to-be, giving you peace of mind and confidence in your purchase.

F.P. Journe Octa Automatique Lune Havana Ref. AL2 G40

Apart from wanting to increase trust and safety in a historically opaque industry, we also want to ensure that buyers are 100% protected and guarantee that their watches will be accepted for service by the manufacturer, should they need it. If you’d like to learn more about our authentication process, refer to the guide below.

Bezel's Watch Authentication Process 

Our authentication process begins before a watch is listed on Bezel. In order for a watch to be published on our platform, it must first be vetted and assessed by our experts who analyze photos and the provided information to verify authenticity, and ensure condition descriptions match the photos. Any visibly inauthentic watches are rejected, meaning that every watch listing published on Bezel has already passed this preliminary stage of digital authentication.

Once a watch is purchased, the buyer's funds are held in escrow (until authentication is complete) and the watch is overnight shipped (fully insured) to our offices where our team begins the physical authentication process. First, the watch is examined in-hand by our specialists – inspecting the quality and overall uniformity of each component, along with execution and finishing. At this stage, the poorest and most easily spotted of fake watches can be eliminated, while others passing the initial round will proceed for further examination of the following key components.

Rolex Submariner Ref. 124060-0001


Serial Numbers, Engravings and Hallmarks

The case of most every watch tells a story by way of its unique serial number, engravings and hallmarks. From these numbers alone, one can determine the make, model, metal, and range of production of most watches. During authentication, our specialists inspect engraved serial numbers and other details to ensure authenticity and to make sure that serial correctly corresponds with all  components of the watch. Similarly, we inspect all other engravings found on the watch, including reference numbers, model designations, and more. These case details must not only match the watch in question, but the quality and execution of their finishing must match that of Bezel-verified authentic examples. 

Assessing Previous Polishing

Given the prominent role the case plays in tying together an overall aesthetic, excessive polishing can sometimes drastically impact the appearance of a watch. Knowing this, we assess the degree to which each case has been polished, if at all, and make sure that’s in alignment with its condition grade, as described by the seller. 

Checking for Undisclosed Signs of Wear

When buying a pre-owned watch, signs of wear are generally to be expected. Having said that, we know the disappointment that can come with receiving a watch in worse condition than described and photographed by the seller. With this in mind, we closely inspect cases for marks or scratches to make sure there are no condition issues that weren’t disclosed in the listing at point of purchase.

Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 5070J-001

Dial and Hands

Watch Dial and Hand Authenticity 

Upon examination of the dial and hands, Bezel specialists take the serial and reference numbers of the watch into account, as these numbers guide the types of dials and hands offered on particular references during specific production ranges. 

After verifying that the dial type and hands in question are correct and correspond with both the reference and serial number, our specialists continue by examining the quality of the various finishes on the dials and hands. This includes any dial characteristics (guilloché, tapisserie, frosting, sunburst, etc.), quality of the details printed on the dial (font, signatures, hour plots, etc.), shapes of the hands, and more. The execution of the aforementioned details is assessed and cross-examined with Bezel-verified authentic examples. 

Dials or hands replaced by the manufacturer during service may be included if noted as part of the condition description at point of purchase.

Assessing Luminous Applications - Originality and Condition

If the dial or hands fitted to the watch in question feature luminous applications, our specialists will inspect each luminous plot to verify it is period correct and in original condition unless otherwise described at point of purchase. This is accomplished by viewing under a loupe and examining under a black light, among other methods. 

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin Ref. 15202BC.OO.1240BC.01


Watch Movement Authenticity 

As the heart of a watch, and often its most advanced and finely-crafted part, the importance of the movement cannot be overstated. At this stage, our watchmakers verify that the movement powering the watch is authentic and correct for the reference in question by inspecting its components, analyzing its performance, and cross-examining against Bezel verified authentic examples. This includes assessing the cleanliness and oiling of the movement, investigating any signs of improper servicing or manipulation, and more. 

High-wear components found within the movement that have been replaced by the manufacturer during regular service may be included.

Guaranteeing Functionality and Performance

Each watch sold through Bezel undergoes multiple performance tests to ensure it’s in excellent working condition, functioning as intended, and ready to be worn and enjoyed upon delivery. These include timing tests to ensure accuracy, pressure tests to guarantee water resistance, and functionality tests for all complications. 

Rolex GMT-Master II "Sprite" Ref. 126720VTNR-0002


Watch Bracelet Authenticity 

Given the crucial role the bracelet plays in the overall feeling and comfort of wearing a watch, confirming its authenticity is crucial to guaranteeing an enjoyable ownership experience. With this in mind, all end-links, links, securing clasps, and more, are checked to ensure that the entire bracelet is composed of authentic parts. 

Replacement bracelets may be included if noted as part of the condition description at point of purchase.

Checking for Undisclosed Signs of Wear 

Our specialists inspect the condition of the bracelet to verify it’s consistent with the condition description at the point of purchase; always working to communicate inconsistencies with buyers. 


Watch Accessory Authenticity 

In light of the fact that accompanying accessories like boxes and papers can dramatically impact the value of a watch, Bezel specialists take extra care in verifying the authenticity of any and all included accessories, cross-examining against Bezel-verified authentic examples.

Checking for Undisclosed Signs of Wear 

We inspect the condition of all accessories accompanying the watch for signs of wear not previously addressed by the seller, making sure to always communicate any undisclosed defects. 

Loss Registry Database Check 

After passing our rigorous authentication and performance testing process, each watch is run against a loss registry to confirm that it has never been reported lost or stolen. 

This is critically important because a watch that’s been reported lost or stolen is always at risk of being confiscated by the authorities with no requisite compensation to the individual in possession of that watch, whether they have knowledge of the lost or stolen status or not.

To add an authenticated luxury watch to your collection today, feel free to reach out to Bezel's Private Client team with any questions you might have, or download the app and begin shopping thousands of authenticated watches.


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