Let me begin by jumping right in and giving you a list of what to look for since this is why you chose to read this article. At the end of this list please take time to read the article because it will help put the list in perspective.
An authentic Rolex Submariner model (newer model such as the 116610) should have the following.
When you set the time and rotate the winding stem clockwise the hands should also rotate clockwise. This should be the case for Rolex watches in general. If the hands rotate counter clockwise you have a fake Rolex movement.
When you pull out the winding stem the second hand should stop moving.
When you rotate the bezel, there should be 120 clicks per 1 complete revolution.
The Submariner has a sapphire crystal. An easy way to determine if the crystal is sapphire is to place 1-drop of water in the center of the crystal and see if the drop remains in place and keeps its shape. If it does, it is sapphire. If the water drop spreads out flat and runs off the crystal it is not sapphire. All Rolex watches have a sapphire crystal.
The Rehaut is the name for the inner bezel. This is a french word for flange. The inner bezel is the ring that separates the dial from the crystal. If one carefully examines, with a loop, the word Rolex which is laser etched into the Rehaut the letters will be extremely smooth and sharp. In a fake, the laser technology is too expensive to use and the letter engraving will appear to look slightly rough.
At the 6 o’clock position on the underneath side of the crystal there is a Rolex crown symbol etched into it. This micro-etching began in 2002. This will be almost impossible to see with the naked eye. In an authentic Submariner you will need a magnifying glass to see it and even then one will need to angle the watch to just the right position. In fake Submariners you will easily be able to see it because the “knock-off” manufacturers don’t want you to miss it. If it is easy to spot, you have a fake.
Look at the Cyclops magnifying lens that envelops the date at three o’clock position. The true Rolex magnifies at two and a half times and has a definitive convex shape to it.
The hour markers, hands, and the dot in the triangle on the bezel ALL should illuminate in the same teal color in the dark. Hold your watch under a light (flashlight, table lamp, etc.) for a few seconds and then enter a closet and close the door and see if this is the case. Many fakes use the cheapest hands they can buy and these hands can illuminate in many different colors.
On the Submariner there should be 3 dots below the crown symbol on the winding stem.
The edges of the bracelet links should be smooth and have no sharp edges.
On the back of the case the protective plastic cover on the 116610 should be clear and not green. This is assuming of course that the protective cover has not been removed. Most fake manufacturers don’t realize that Rolex did away with the green colored cover and continue to use it.
Finally, check out the caseback. Rolex doesn’t make a clear caseback that enables you to see the movement so if you turn a watch over and you have a clear window in which to observe the movement, you know it is a fake. Another caseback trick is that many fakes engrave the Rolex name and crown logo on the caseback. A true Rolex has no engraving on the back.
An authentic Submariner with a stainless steel bracelet, with no links having been removed, will weigh 158 grams.
A high-end fake may meet the above requirements except for numbers 5 and 10 so you still need to be very careful.
There are many more things I could mention but I don’t want the counterfeiters to learn too much good information. Remember that there are more fake luxury watches produced each year than authentic ones. This is difficult to imagine but it is true because this is a BILLION dollar a year industry.