Fake watches: Stop supporting child labor and terrorism.
The harsh truth: Fakes support terrorism, child labor and organized crime
You think that's a bunch of over-blown hyperbole? Fine, don't listen to me, do some research. Better yet, I did some for you. Here is the transcript of a US Senate hearing discussing the direct link between counterfeit goods, including watches, and funding of terrorist organizations. Here is a news report linking counterfeit goods, including watches, to child labor and organized crime. Here is a Ted talk about how counterfeit handbags support terrorism and organized crime, and if you think this kind of thing doesn't apply to fake watches... please. Pull your head out. There is no doubt whatsoever that fake watches can and do represent a direct link to the funding of all sorts of evil behaviours, including the exploitation of children and the murder of innocents through terrorism. It's a fact. Is that where you want your money going?
"But my "hommage" isn't a Chinese junker, it's a custom one-off made by a craftsman"
No it's not. If your "hommage" has the name of any existing brand on it and it's not made by that brand or with their express permission, then it's a FAKE and your FAKE is a custom rip off made by a counterfeiter trading on designs, patents and brands they do not own and have no right to reproduce. If you're lucky. More likely, your fake is an assemblage of cheap parts made in sweatshops and then assembled hastily by someone looking to turn a quick buck by selling cheap garbage. The counterfeiter you bought your watch from can't be bothered to build their own brand, make their own mark and create something of quality with their own name on it, instead they take the easiest path to your wallet by stealing from others and selling to you using fancy words like "hommage". Knock it off. Stop buying that crap.
What owning a fake basically amounts to
"I don't care about child labor or any of that, I just can't afford a real Panerai"
This is the most common reason people state for buying fakes: "I can't afford a Panerai/Rolex/AP etc. etc." I get it, you want the high end watch but you can't afford the high end price, I was there for most of my life myself. That's absolutely NO reason to run out and support criminals and denigrate your own standards by wearing a fake. With many high end watches at the very least you can buy an actual hommage, aka a watch that looks in most ways like the high end version you want, but is made by an actual company such as Steinhart. I'm not big fan of hommage watches personally, but there's certainly nothing "wrong" with them and they're perfectly legal. Now you get the look you want, if not the quality, and in the process maintain some dignity for yourself and keep your money out of the hands of criminals. But even better IMO is the option of buying a fantastic original watch at a reasonable price from a company like Seiko. Unbeknownst to most Seiko is a truly vertically integrated watch making company, even more so than Rolex. Seiko makes fantastic watches at very reasonable prices as do many, many other brands. You don't have to spend thousands to get a great watch on your wrist and spending your $$$$ on original designs from legitimate companies means you're a watch enthusiast and collector at heart.
On the other hand, if you choose to buy a FAKE because you can't afford the real thing, there's only two things it can mean: 1) you're trying to fool yourself or 2) you're trying to fool everyone else. Either way it's completely hollow and demeaning, to you and everyone around you. And what in the hell is the point of owning a luxury item if you didn't earn it, anyways? When you buy a FAKE you're robbing yourself of the joy and dignity of buckling down, setting a goal and reaching it. Watches are just like any hobby: If you make it a priority in your life, you'll get where you want to be with it. People spend "Rolex money" on cars, stereo equipment, dining out, expensive TVs and all sorts of other stuff all the time, and then claim they "can't" afford a fine watch. People of modest means can afford a Panerai or Rolex when they put their mind to it, work hard for it and exercise discipline in their spending.
Bottom line: Fakes are damaging to the watch industry, to civilized society and to yourself
I haven't touched on the damage fakes do to the watch industry in general and the watch collecting hobby in specific, but they obviously do. Fakes are injurious to the hobby that I love most, a hobby that provides my income and is my profession, so of course I can't stand the damn things. Fakes demean watch collectors, they cost people their pride and they fund criminal networks that engage in all sorts of evil in the world. There's no excuse for buying and owning fake watches, and I beg you not to do it. Take the money you were going to throw away on that trashy fake and buy a Seiko. Or start saving. Work hard, set your goal and get motivated. A genuine fine watch will make you smile. A fake will just make you another poser lining the pockets of criminals. Don't do it.
The best thing that can happen to fakes