Will Watch Repair Shops Work On Replicas?


Though they are pretty prevalent, the conversation surrounding replica watches can be a tricky one. Will watch repair shops work on replicas, and what exactly is a replica watch?

Typically, watch repair shops will not repair a replica watch because they are often an authorized dealer of one or multiple watch brands. Therefore, repair shops may not want to service a fake watch when they have real watch models sitting behind the counter. 

While some shops and websites proclaim they are willing to repair replicas, you may have to do some research to hunt them down in your area. In this article, we’ll explain why some shops do not repair watch replicas and talk about what a replica watch is and where online you can ship your timepiece to get it fixed. 

Will Watch Repair Shops Work On Replicas?

Some watch repair shops will work on replica watches while others won’t since the replica watches themselves are illegal to sell and sometimes own, depending on the country you live in. Most authorized jewelry and watch dealers, such as Tourneau, Jared, and Mayors, do not fix fake watches for this reason. 

Longtime authorized watch dealer Tourneau (the brand has been around since 1900) states on its website that they’ll fix any watch regardless of where it came from. However, since Tourneau is an authorized dealer of various prominent and high-end watch brands – think Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Tag Heuer, and IWC Schaffhausen, to name a few – a watchmaker will more than likely refuse to repair a replica trying to imitate one of the brands they sell. 

And there’s also the question of ethics. Authorized watch dealers are authorized for a reason. They are trusted to sell originals, so selling/repairing replicas go against their cause.

On top of that, most watchmakers respect the genius design and craftsmanship that go into the original watches so much that they don’t even want to repair a fake one. There are many instances, for example, where watch dealers not only refuse to repair a fake watch but also refuse to give it back to the owner to keep the purity of the original timepieces.

The bottom line is: If you have a replica watch, it’s best to avoid bringing it to an authorized dealer as they’ll more than likely decline to repair it since the watch is not an original piece. 

Why Most Watch Repair Shows Won’t Fix A Replica Watch

Some local and online shops offer to repair replica watches, but most say no because replicas are fragile, challenging to work on, and damage the reputations of the repair shop and watch brand. Most watchmakers also respect the craftsmanship too much to work on replicas. 

Smaller-sized watch repair stores like your typical mom-and-pop shop may offer to repair replica watches. However, they may only do so once you bring it in, and either the watchmaker discovers that it’s a replica or you flat out tell them when you hand over your timepiece. 

If you know you have a fake watch, it’s best to tell the watchmaker before they get to work. Replica watches have a strong history of being poorly constructed, thus why they’re priced so cheaply compared to their natural counterparts. 

Fake watches most often have problems with their movement and must be touched gingerly. Perhaps you’ve already noticed! 

In addition, while some countries do not go after the owners of illegal watches – such as only the fake watch sellers in the United States – other countries like France and Italy may fine and even jail you if you are found to be purchasing a fake watch, and they may also seize your replica. 

Making repairs on fake watches harms reputations too. Repair shops often don’t want to work on fake timepieces because they could potentially get in trouble with the law and don’t align with what they are selling – authentic watches and watch repair services for authentic watches. 

What Is A Replica Watch?

A replica watch is a watch that has been copied and produced without authorization from the original manufacturer.

Over the years, all kinds of watches have been replicated. Take high-end luxury watches from Rolex (the most copied watch brand), Omega, and Cartier, to less expensive timepieces from Armani, Nixon, and even Fossil. 

Fake watches built with cheaper parts obviously don’t hold up as well as the higher-end ones. In the watch world, you do often get what you paid for.  

Why Do People Buy Replica Watches?

Replica watches are exact replicas of the luxury watch they’re meant to emulate, and they cost less than a “real ” watch. Replica watches are purposely priced lower than their authentic versions to attract people who can’t necessarily afford or don’t want to pay for the original.

Watch maintenance is also cheaper with a fake watch. And if you lose the watch, you can more easily buy a new one since the price is so low.

People are always longing for that piece of luxury, and sadly, not all of us can afford it. Because of this, some people are swayed to get a replica. A fake watch that mimics the luxury feel of the original. For many people, a replica watch is worth it purely because it makes them feel good.

Is Repairing A Replica Watch Illegal?

Repairing a replica watch is not illegal. The act of selling is forbidden, but there is no law in place that prohibits anyone from repairing a replica watch. Still, most watchmakers refuse to repair replica watches because it goes against their work and ethics.

Since it’s illegal to sell replica watches in many countries, most shops don’t want to repair them. However, this is not always the case.

Though the U.S. forbids any selling of replica watches, there is no law against repairing a fake watch or taking one in to get it fixed. Similarly, no law makes owning a replica watch illegal. You cannot get in trouble for owning and repairing a replica watch, but you might get frowned upon.

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