Rolex watches are some of the most high-class and expensive in the world, sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars. Enjoyed by celebrities, politicians and wealthy CEOs, many people see Rolex as the ultimate status symbol of success. Rolex’s trademark could be classified as “people who wear our watches have lots of money.”
Several individuals, groups and companies have tried to take Rolex’s status symbol and make it their own. In places like China and Thailand, Rolex watches are frequently counterfeited and sold for less than $100. The differences between a real and fake Rolex can be difficult to spot. While Rolex produces about one million watches every year, counterfeiters produce far more, costing the company hundreds of millions in losses.
Chinese and Thai counterfeiters are not the only groups looking to cash in on Rolex’s success. In 2013, Rolex sued an online retailer for selling counterfeit watches and using its logo. A U.S. district court in California ruled against the online retailer for trademark infringement and counterfeiting. The watches were so authentic looking that several Rolex executives had to order from the retailer and determine they were counterfeits.
According to data from the black market research website Havocscope, counterfeit products cost the watch industry $1 billion in losses every year. The website also claims that in 2013, authorities seized over 90,000 counterfeit Swiss watches during a raid in Dubai.
The costs can be enormous to Swiss watchmakers, including Rolex, because people may sometimes pay top dollar for the trademark of “I am rich and successful.”
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