Fake Watches Getting Better with 3D Printing

RANT&H | JUNE 12, 2019

In today’s episode, Christian and Anna dive into the world of 3D Printing as it relates to fake watches and, perhaps more interestingly, authentic ones too.

3D printing, by definition, is the use of a special printer that takes an image or design from a computer and, using a degree of precise cuts and other assembly, produces that object in three dimensions using whatever material you provide it with (be it plastic, paper, steel, or even gold or platinum, presumably).

The use of 3D printing has already surpassed the world of watches (the first 3D printed tourbillon has already been made), going as far as building everything from homes in Latin America out of concrete to microscopic components necessary for a fully functioning bionic arm for amputees. Clearly, watches aren’t the next frontier, but what happens when they do inevitably become a product of 3D printing?

The ability of 3D printers to replicate incredibly intricate designs isn’t a question – not only could they do it, but they could do so with such precision that you’d never know the difference between the original and the printed article. However, what they can’t do is the assembly. That being said, a watch like the AP Royal Oak, whose entire value is the intricate finishing and design of the case and NOT the way in which it’s assembled…there’s definitely risk there.

The bigger issue, no doubt, is not the actual brands themselves using 3D printing technology, but rather the counterfeiters and fake watch producers who can now, feasibly, create fake watches that are so precise and detailed that you would never really know the difference without checking things like serial numbers.