Many well known highly desirable global brands are targeted by counterfeit activity.

Because of the high value of each watch, Rolex is a prime target.

Its relatively easy to spot a fake Rolex as they weight much less than a genuine Rolex.

It becomes more tricky if some parts are genuine and others fake.

On 16 December 2011, a relative purchased from a US based Internet website timeandgems.com what was described on the website as “A Ladies’ Rolex Stainless Steel Black Diamond Lug Oyster Band Datejust.”

On the Order Confirmation from the company, also dated 16 December 2011, the watch was described by Time & Gems as “Ladies’ Rolex Stainless Steel Black Diamond Dial Channel Set Bezel Diamond Lug Oyster Band Datejust.”

The name of Watch Empire LLC was also printed on the Order Confirmation.

The small print in the PRODUCT DETAILS described the watch as:

“Like-new, Excellent working order and excellent condition.”

Under “Appraisal & Documentation” it stated:

“Your luxury watch is guaranteed to be genuine for the life of the watch. If for whatsoever reason you ever find it to be otherwise, you can return it for a full refund, or exchange, for as long as you own the watch.”

Payment was made by bank transfer as requested by Time & Gems.

My relative paid several thousand dollars for the “Rolex” watch. It was supposed to be a 10th Wedding Anniversary Present.

The watch arrived within days via Priority Shipping by UPS.

On 24 December 2011, 8 days later, my relative notified Time & Gems that an expert had inspected the watch and advised that it was a not a Rolex.

In an emailed response the same day, TimeAandGems.com still described the watch as a “Rolex” despite the fact that this was untrue.

At best, the watch is a combination of genuine Rolex parts and imitation Rolex parts.

The watch did not even perform the basic function of a timepiece – accurately telling the time. Instead it lost more than 20 minutes per day.

Despite the above written promises, TimeandGems.com declined to refund the monies paid.

At the time of purchase, my relative was unaware of warning postings, like this one, that were already on the Internet:

They did check out the potential legal ramifications of being in possession of a fake Rolex. In at least one country, Switzerland, you can be imprisoned. According to another Internet posting, you can be fined $5,000 in the USA for having a fake Rolex.

Interestingly, Rolex itself has reportedly recently started taking legal action in the USA against parties using the Internet to sell fake Rolex watches.

My relative was so frightened about being caught is possession of a fake Rolex that she returned it long ago to TimandGems.com who have thus ended up with her money and possession, though not ownership, of the fake Rolex.

I asked TimeandGems.com to kindly indicate in percentage terms how much much of the relevant “Rolex” is made of genuine Rolex parts, as opposed to the imitation parts described as “custom.” In other words, I asked what is genuine and what is imitation (fake)? There was no response.

I feel sure that in any event, Rolex would say that unless a watch is 100% Rolex, it cannot and should not be represented as being a “Rolex.”

Unfortunately it is not viable to bring legal proceedings from a foreign country against a US based company when the claim is only for several thousand dollars.

Advice can be found here on “How to shop safely and securely online.

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