How to spot a fake, and recognize a genuine Cartier timepiece.

Cartier remains one of the most valuable brands in the world; 170 years since it was founded. The French brand made its name by creating jewelry and timepieces for royalty and society’s elite. Due to the iconic nature and global reach of Cartier’s creations, they are always targeted by counterfeiters – but you don’t have to be a victim of their schemes.

There are a few elements you can look into so you can spot a fake Cartier timepiece, and know when you have a genuine Cartier on your hands. Let’s take a look. First is the dial.

Cartier watch dials are intricately made and hard to replicate. In most Cartier watches, you’ll find that the dial has a symmetrical guilloché pattern. The guilloché is a decorative technique that creates a repetitive and very precise, circular wave-like pattern. A Cartier watch will also have high-quality finishing on the dial. Look for jagged lines on the hour markers, blobs of paint on the dial, and irregular fonts.

A genuine Cartier dial should be flawless. Cartier watches also have a secret signature on the dial, that most counterfeiters tend to miss. Look closely at the Cartier dial. Placed on either the 10 o’clock or 7 o’clock roman numeral markers, as seen above, is CARTIER spelled out in clear text. Right below the 6 o’clock marker, you should also find the words SWISS MADE spelled out in legible text. It is hardly visible. Inspected under a microscope, you should also see just how clean and crisp the print is. Cartier also has signature blue details in most of its dress watches. The Cartier Tank, Ballon Bleu, Panthere, Santos, Tortue, and Ronde would usually have these signature blue details: the blue steel hands, and the circular grained crown set with the blue spinel cabochon.

The hands should have refined edges and a deep blue luster. Also, look very closely at how the cabochon is attached to the crown: it should be securely set into the crown and not merely glued on it. In most of its watches, Cartier’s case is also secured by high-quality, uniform screws. Look out for consistent, flathead screws that secure the caseback, and case.

This is generally the case for fine Swiss watches, and is proof of quality craftsmanship. On the other hand, a counterfeit Cartier will usually have inexpensive and thin snap-on cases or they can have screws but use rounded, Phillips head screws. A minor detail, but one worth looking out for. And finally, we have the case. The body of the watch itself can clue you in on lesser workmanship. Cartier cases are compact and precise. It should be well-polished. The details are symmetrical and uniform in finish. And lastly, on the case back, you should find the following information engraved in a crisp and clean manner.

The Cartier logo, a four digit model number, a serial number, and the words water resistant and Swiss Made. Pay special attention to the overall construction of the watch. Cartier watches are made of the finest materials, so its weight will be more substantial and any element on the watch will be of high quality. As always, it’s best to only buy from reputable dealers. If you already own a Cartier, always bring your watch to any authorized Cartier dealer to have it checked for authenticity.