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Replicas and Knock-offs, are they legal?

By John E. Brozek

© InfoQuest Publishing, Inc., 2004

ABC 7 News KGO-TV, February 26, 2004

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I was recently asked to participate in an investigative report by Michael Finney, a consumer reporter for KGO-TV (an ABC affiliate in the San Francisco Bay area), and I was happy to oblige.

For the investigation, KGO-TV sent undercover reporters to the streets of Tijuana, Mexico where they purchased a $60 replica Rolex Submariner. Mr. Finney then purchased a $200 copy from a website which claimed to sell "high grade" Rolex replicas.

Mr. Finney took the fakes, along with a genuine $4000 Rolex Submariner, to Union Square (in San Francisco) to see if the average person on the street could tell the difference.

They also brought the fakes to me (St. Petersburg, Florida). as well as to a dealer in the San Francisco Bay area, to compare them with a genuine Rolex Submariner. While the website claimed to sell "high grade" replicas, we found them to be no better than the cheap $60 junk purchased from a street vendor in Mexico.

Also participating in the investigation was Brian Brokate, a Rolex attorney who confirmed that, last year alone, Rolex seized over 500,000 counterfeits.

(Click the screen shots below to view full size.)

LEFT: Michael Finney, ABC Reporter
RIGHT: John E. Brozek, author of The Rolex Report

LEFT: A street vendor on the streets of Tijuana selling fake Rolex watches.
RIGHT: Cannal Street (Chinatown) also selling fake Rolex watches.

Michael Finney shows the fakes, along with a genuine Rolex Submariner, to
people at Union Square (San Francisco) to see if they can spot the fake.

Does this picture look familiar? The counterfeit website claiming
this Daytona to be one of their "high grade" replicas, has actually
STOLEN the photo from a reputable dealer who ONLY sells genuine
Rolex watches. How do I know this? Well, as you can see from
these images, it was taken by the same person who donated the
picture for the cover of my book!

A comparison of the movement
in a genuine Rolex Submariner
with that of a replica.

Additional Watch Articles:



Publish Date:


The Paul Newman Daytona, An Unauthorized History... International Watchman Magazine August, 2003. John E. Brozek
The James Bond Submariner, An Unauthorized History... International Watchman Magazine October, 2003. John E. Brozek
The Vindication Swim, Mercedes Gleitze and Rolex take the plunge and become world-renowned... International Watchman Magazine December, 2003. John E. Brozek
The History and Evolution of the Wristwatch... International Watchman Magazine January, 2004. John E. Brozek
Rolex or Replica? Some timely advice so you don't end up making a very expensive mistake... Chronos Magazine Winter 2003/2004. John E. Brozek
Replicas and Knock-Offs, are they legal?
(With award winning consumer reporter Michael Finney of KGO-TV in San Francisco.)
ABC 7 News KGO-TV February 26, 2004. John E. Brozek
Everest, A Pinnacle of Achievement for Rolex... International Watchman Magazine April, 2004. John E. Brozek
30 Year Love Affair, The Paul Newman Daytona... Goodwood Magazine 2005 Issue. John E. Brozek
The POTUS Patek: A Rare Look Inside a Presidential Timepiece... Website Photo Article Summer 2013. John E. Brozek
Defending the Cup, The 1964 America's Cup Presentation Submariner... Website Photo Article Summer 2014. John E. Brozek
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