Counterfeit watches on auction sites
I saw a nice-looking watch on Yahoo Auctions today, but then noticed that the same watch was showing up as a recommendation. They were both bidded up to about $100 or $200. I checked at Jomashop to see how much I might want to bid, and was surprised to see the thing at $6,000 or so there. The watches are IWC Portuguese Chronographs (one has the blue hands) -- feel free to bid, I'm not going to touch them. I hadn't realized that these were such iconic watches, but now knowing that, I wondered: Fake? There are actually pages online on how to tell a fake Portuguese from a real one. For such pages to exist is not a good sign, although the Yahoo watches seem to not have the telltale signs of fakes. The photos are conveniently just blurry enough for me not to be sure. And the fakers may have upped their game. And (here's where I get really paranoid) the fakers may have made the "how to tell a fake" pages.
So I read the descriptions. One is a Little Old Lady from Pasadena story about buying the watch a couple of years ago from a famous Ginza jeweler (which is named, as well as the date of purchase). The watch was a gift for a family member, but was just too darned heavy and wasn't worn. She took it and had an extra hole punched in the band and wore it a bit, but now wants to sell it.
The other seller is a gentleman who bought it a couple of years ago from a famous Shibuya jeweler, also named. He loves it, but dang, he needs money for a new business venture. His photos are also just blurry enough to not see the watch as clearly as you'd like.
Each posting has the box, warranty, manual, etc. pictured. The stuff seems complete and legit looking, but each is different, with the documents being different in size, wording, etc. One had a document from the jewelery shop. So maybe it's not fake? Maybe it's an even more sophisticated con? They bought one or two real ones for the photos but ship you the fakes?
The auctions are from two different accounts, with no feedback. And the two auctions were posted 13 seconds apart. Very suspicious, except how do you even do that unless you have two windows open at the same time? And why wouldn't you stagger the auctions to avoid their being simultaneous?
At any rate, I've learned that it's probably a good idea to avoid buying watches at auction that are in demand or famous or expensive. Twenty dollar bills are counterfeited, but nobody counterfeits a nickle.