Sadly, there is an ever increasing number of fake or counterfeit Seiko "5" Automatic watches on ebay. Because Seiko Corp. does not participate in eBays VRO program, it is up to the buyer to educate themselves as to how to tell a counterfeit Seiko 5 from the real deal. This document will help the reader identify the fairly easy trait many of these counterfeits exhibit.
First, This document will only deal with the currant manufacture entry level MENS automatic watches containing Seiko`s 7s26 and 7s36 caliber movements. While the counterfeiters have been busy doing their best to fake the latest models, such as the "Contura" and the "Premier", it is the entry level mens dress automatic watches that are most prevalent on ebay. Did I say prevalent? On any given day I can find 10`s if not 100`s of them listed on eBay, from sellers all over the world including the USA . These watches, commonly known as The Seiko 5 automatic, are easily distinguishable by the trade marked "5 in a shield" emblem found just below the Seiko emblem on most models.
For most counterfeits, the visible METAL or Brushed Silver colored day and date wheels found in them is the easiest way to tell they are not real. Seiko has used PLASTIC day and date wheels on both of these above movements since the change over to this newer movement, which started back in 1990.
ANY recent manufacture (Post 1990) Seiko 5 Automatic, purported to be using either the 7s26 or 7s36 movement, but showing METAL day and date wheels on the dial, is a complete fake! Again, Seiko never used metal day and date wheels in the movements that are used in these newer watches. NOTE: Earlier Seiko 5`s with calibers 7006 and 7009 DID use metal display wheels, however these watches are now 25 and 30 years old and should not be confused with the newer 7s26 and 7s36 motivated watches.
If your seller DOES NOT LIST the caliber (Some sellers will list the watch simply as Automatic) ASK for the movement number before you buy the watch!! Additionally, beware of the movement number "7526", the counterfeiters got this one completely wrong, a Seiko caliber "7526" never existed! It is a mistake based on the caliber real caliber # 7s26.
I will now show three examples of late model fakes, and lastly one authentic watch.
Please note that the photos have been pulled from ebay itself, as I have no intention of buying fake watches just so I can photograph them.
Fake # 1, note the METAL brushed silver color of the day and date display wheels.
Fake #2, again, the same day and date wheels, and note the quality of the printing used on them, they are pretty rough looking.
Finally, fake #3, this watch would normally be using the 7s36 movement.
I can see the quality of the photo hosting is lacking, blame ebay. You`ll be able to see this in other photos very easily now that you know what to look for, :)
And now, an authentic Seiko 5 automatic, with its factory PLASTIC day and date wheels.
The above authentic day and date display on this watch are both white colored, denoting that they are made out of plastic and not metal as the fakes above.
Again, any recent manufacture Seiko 5 watches containing calibers 7s26 and 7s36 should have plastic or white colored displays, or they are absolutely FAKE. Once a buyer knows this, these fakes will be quite easy to spot.
A Special note on BLACK colored day and date displays: On some examples the display wheel will be colored black (White print on black background), both from Seiko, and from the Counterfeiter. Dont be suckered into thinking the watch is completely authentic untill you have looked at the rest of the sellers inventory, checking for the known fake examples. Surely if the seller is listing the above noted fakes, the watches with black colored displays are probably fake also (They paint the metal wheels black and this is hard to see). Always check out the sellers intire inventory for these fakes, before you buy a single watch! (You`ll soon see some sellers that sell only Counterfeit, but many will mix them in with authentic watches in thier listings).
There is a second generation of Seiko 5 counterfeits that DO CONTAIN the proper plastic day and date wheels, but it is the counterfeits with the metal colored displays that are easiest to spot, find, and AVOID. When I can get proper pictures of the latest generation of Fake Seiko 5`s, I will update this guide with them. But I can tell you this, these newer fakes use dial screws to hold the dial in and they are plainly visable through the display back. Seiko`s real movement has the dial held on by inserting into the movement spacer, there are no dial feet screws on the real 7s26 and the rest of the 7s family of movements.
Lastly, NEVER, EVER, buy a Seiko 5 from a stock or factory supplied photo. Even I was taken advantage of recently by a powerseller that I thought could be trusted, only to find out the reason he used a stock photo was so that he could try and send me a fake. That was a no-no with this Seiko Guru. It was second generation and I did get my money back. But I had to pay for the privilege (Return insured shipping), and from a Powerseller no less.
ONE LAST THING! This Guide came about because of the absolute frustration I went through when seeing these counterfiets every single time I did a search on Seiko. But until this guide gets enough votes, it wont even be seen when you are searching on Seiko! It has to get positive votes, or its gets buried in the 72,436 guides that are currantly on ebay. So please vote YES that it helped you, so that it might help someone else.
Thank you for reading, and Best of luck!