How I found out my Casio watch was fake

After getting a new Casio watch for a pretty good price, I thought I would be very happy. But there was something fishy going on!

So, I bought a fake Casio watch, or at the very least, not a new one. Here’s how I found out.

tl;dr: I bought the same watch from a different source and compared them to each other.

Months ago, I bought a fake Casio watch, a replica of the classic A-168, which I had wanted for a while. However, the purchase was done in a rush, while I was downtown heading somewhere else. I don’t know why I didn’t think it through, but I ended up making a bad purchase. Next day I was able to exchange the watch for a different one, at the very least.

Recently, I finally bought my first G-Shock, which I shared on a post on Mastodon. However, that was not my first attempt at getting the Casio GA-2100.

Two days before that, I actually acquired it from a different seller from Mercado Libre (a very popular Amazon competitor here in Latin America), and I quickly saw some red flags that caused me some concern.

Initially I decided to ignore the packaging, a black aluminum hexagonal conatiner, maybe Casio just simplified the design or something. Opening the box was also quite underwhelming, the manual seemed real enough, but the little label that is usually in the strap’s buckle felt cheap, and had no barcode. Still, maybe it was just repackaged or something.

I openend the watch, and I immediately noticed it was scratched. It was not immediately noticeable, but even some of the printing was worn off, which was quite a bummer. From there on, I decided to store it again and return it. Only then did I decide to spend on another watch from a different seller, and do a comparison when it arrived. Here is what I saw

The unboxing experience

The original box of the G-Shock has a much better printing design, the labelling is also more detailed, while the fake only had a label that said Casio-003 in it and a barcode. Not visible in the picture.

Original boxes
Original boxes

Opening the boxes the differences are obvious. The original model comes with more paperwork, the warranty and an instruction manual, which is actually specific to the module inside the watch. The fake watch comes with a manual to a different module, and it is also shorter than the original. The fake box shows the aluminum container and the papers were just thrown in there, also the warranty card is thinner.

Opened boxes
Opened boxes

The packaging of the original watch protects the watch in a square plastic bag, inside the main container that sorrounds it with foam. all around, there’s also a sheet of foam on top of it all, hiding the watch from view once the container is first open. The fake displays the watch sorrounded by the foam, and the label too.

The open containers with the watch inside
The open containers with the watch inside
Both watches are protected by plastic bags
Both watches are protected by plastic bags

Honestly, other than the kinda bland black hexagonal container, I would have been fooled by the replica, if it wasn’t because I saw multiple unboxings online showing the original box.

The physical differences.

Now comes the time to compare the watches themselves. There are quite a few differences that are really hard to notice if you only have the replica with you.

The watch seemed pretty much identical to me, after having the original on hand, I could tell these differences:

Despite all this, the internal module was extremely similar. There are some replicas out there that have clearly different LCD displays, like, 3 rows of digits instead of two. Here it was exactly the same. The only missing feature was the two-button shortcut to move the hands away from the display.

The main comparison
The main comparison

Be careful out there

Casio is a brand that everyone in the watch world knows. They offer excellent quality at an excellent price, in a variety of styles and price ranges. From the affordable F-91W, all-rounders like the AE-1200, sporty G-shocks, and their respective luxury editions. So, of course replicas are bound to show up!

Some people out there don’t understand, they say things like “how is there a market or a profit margin for such a cheap watch anyway?”. Well, in countries like mine, 20 bucks is actually a substantial amount of money. You can buy a whole family’s lunch with that. To get this copy, I paid around 111 USD, the original was like 123 USD. It was not that big a difference, and yet I felt like it was close enough to just being a nice offer I found.

I genuinely believe many of the sellers don’t actually have any idea that they are selling fakes, not everyone is as well informed. Looking at their posting on the shop, they even share a picture of the packaging, not even knowing it is not original. On a darker, less optimistic side. I have a theory that many of the parts on this watch may be original, and the watch may be more of a rebuild out of used watches, since this is a very popular watch for modding purposes, the original parts end up unused by many, and probably sold for stuff like this.

But I don’t know, I might say the margin is not that big, but then again, there are replicas of F-91Ws out there. Thankfully, I’ll be able to return this very easily. Good luck shopping watches out there!

This is day 13 of #100DaysToOffload


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