How Can You Tell If A Citizen Watch Is Real


Citizen watches are being widely counterfeited, especially the higher-priced models. If you are buying a Citizen watch, it pays to know how to check for its authenticity. How can you tell if a Citizen watch is real?

You can tell a Citizen watch’s authenticity by checking the documentation and verifying the serial number. You can then compare the watches side by side with the original, observing its case, dial, and movement. You can also have the movement checked by a watchmaker. 

How Can You Tell If A Citizen Watch Is Real

This article will discuss if Citizen watches are widely counterfeited before discussing how to verify the authenticity of a Citizen watch. 

We also have several articles about Citizen watches that you can check out. If you are keen, click on the titles to read on.

READ MORE: Citizen Watches Review

READ MORE: Are Citizen Watches Swiss Made?

READ MORE: Do Citizen Watches Hold Their Value Well?

Are Citizen Watches Widely Counterfeited?

Citizen watches are widely counterfeited. Citizen’s popular and slightly expensive models are widely counterfeited, for example, the Promaster dive watches or Navihawk chronographs. 

There might be an assumption that counterfeiters will only make fakes of luxury watches like those from Rolex. Still, counterfeiters also have something to gain from counterfeiting more affordable models, such as Citizen. 

One is that these watches are less refined in their construction, which means it will take less effort for the counterfeiters to copy and produce them. 

People who purchase more affordable watches also usually do not look too much into the details of the watch since they are not too expensive either. This means the counterfeiters can make mistakes here and there and yet not be noticed.

This means even when you buy a more affordable brand, you still need to check and ensure that you own an original timepiece, not a fake. 

How To Tell If A Citizen Watch Is Real

You can tell if a Citizen is real or fake by cross-checking its serial number and checking with Citizen. You can also compare the watch with a similar original model. You will need to source pictures or specifications online if you do not have a similar model. 

Step 1: Cross-Check The Serial Number

To verify a Citizen watch’s authenticity, you may start by cross-checking the serial number on the watch with the documentation given.

You should be able to see the serial number of the watch on the caseback. It should be a series of digits, usually around 9 digits. Earlier or vintage models may be using a different numbering system. 

How Can You Tell If A Citizen Watch Is Real

Now compare that serial number with any other documentation supplied with the watch. The warranty card or sales receipt should have the serial number. 

If the numbers do not match, enquire with the seller why. Logically, the serial numbers on the watch and documentation should be the same. When they are not, it may suggest something sinister. Maybe the seller is using the actual document, but the watch is fake and vice versa. 

If you are not satisfied with the answer, leave, as there is no point in further checking if the watch does not even have a similar serial number. 

Now that the number matches, you may proceed to do further checks. Further checks require you to be able to compare the watch side by side with another similar model that you can confirm to be original. 

For example, suppose you are buying a Promaster diver. In that case, you may need to compare it side by side with another Promaster. No matter how finely made, many fake watches generally do not stand up to a side-by-side comparison. 

If you cannot find one, you may need to find the information and specifications of the watch online. High-definition, close-up images of the watch would help immensely here. 

Step 2: Dial

Is the Dial Color Similar With The Original? Compare the hue of the dial color to the original. Are they similar? Or are there tiny variations in the color’s brightness or intensity? It can be challenging for counterfeiters to achieve the color intensity and hue of the original. 

Are The Markers And Letterings Similar? Check the watch’s markings and writings against the original. Low-quality fakes can easily bungle this one, with misspellings or having printed markings when the original has applied markings. 

Are the Watch Hands Similar? Pull out the crown. It should stop the watch hands from moving. Now compare the hands-on both the watches. Check to see if the shapes are the same and if the edges are clean and sharp. A magnifying lens can come in handy while you’re doing this.

Step 3: Movement

Are The Movements Ticking At The Same Quality, Consistency? Listen to the ticking of your authentic watch by holding it up to your ear. Listen to the ticking sound and the quality of the sound. 

Now listen to the other. Pay attention to the ticking sound’s volume and frequency in particular. Original watches should sound the same, with no noticeable difference. 

Since clone watchmakers frequently use different movements to power their counterfeit models, the ticking sounds of these movements may sound different from the original.

Are The Second Hands Moving At Similar Consistency? Look at how the second hand on the original watch moves and compares to the other watch. Does it move with the same regularity, speed, and motion?

Clone watches might have different movements with different beat rates, which could cause the second hand to sweep more slowly or quickly than the genuine watch. Low-quality fakes may also use quartz instead of original movement to save cost. 

Are The Watch Crowns Winding Consistently? Now try to wind the crown of the original watch. Pull out the crown and wind it as well, feeling for the resistance the crown makes as you wind it. 

Compare the same feeling with the other watch. They should be the same since they technically are using the same movement. You may need to inspect the movement further if there is a difference. 

Are The Movements Similar? Ask for permission and open up the caseback. The movement should be similar, with a similar shape and finishing. 

A fake watch may be using a different movement, which may immediately be seen when opening the watch caseback. If they look the same, you may want to observe if things like screws and jewels are placed in the same position.

Some counterfeiters may copy the look of the movement, but not all the way, leaving some minor differences that you may notice.

How Can You Tell If A Citizen Watch Is Real

Step 4: Case

Do Watch Cases Have Similar Finishing? Pick up the watch case now to check out the case, and observe the finishing. If the polished and brushed surfaces are consistent across both models, observe if there are differences in shape. 

Do Watch Cases Have Similar Measurements? Inspect the watch case with a digital caliper, if you have one. Before attempting it on the other watch, take the measurements on the original one:

  • Lug-to-lug width
  • Case thickness
  • Diameter
  • Diameter with crown

Are The Watches Similar In Weight? Pick up the watch and feel it to see whether it weighs the same. Remove the straps and weigh the watch on an electronic scale if you want to be more confident.

The weight shouldn’t differ much from one another. Anything greater could be a warning sign.

Still Unsure? Check With Citizen

If you remain unconvinced about the watch’s authenticity, your last choice is to have the watch checked with Citizen. You may contact Citizen at their support page.

A certified Citizen watchmaker should be able to check and confirm the watch’s authenticity. They should also be able to run a check on the serial number check for authenticity as well. 

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

Recent Posts