Blurred Serial Numbers

By on 27/07/2014

serialnumber2Ever wondered why watch sellers on eBay and other online watch selling websites sell watches with Blurred Serial Numbers?  To think of it rationally, wouldn’t the serial number help  validate the authenticity of the watch that is being sold and make it easier for the customer to make a decision? So why is such an important piece of information hidden from prospective buyers online?

Recently, I had a chat with an online watch retailer who told me there are a number of reasons why sellers block out serial numbers  on and offline. Some of them include curbing manufacturers of replica watches or fake watches from using the serial number. If they have an original serial number on the watch, prospective customers would be able to check its authenticity with the watch brand. While the watch may be fake, an original serial number on it will guarantee the authenticity and the customer might get duped.

Another reason sellers do this is to defend certain watch distributors or authorized sellers. The majority of watches sold online at a mark down are not done by the manufacturing brand or by a private owner, but is done through a gray market dealer who sources the watches from authorized dealers or distributors.

When brands put watches up for sale, they often keep vigilant and detailed records about what serial numbers are being sold to whom. If a brand observes that its watches are being sold at a discount, then through its serial number it can get in touch with the dealer who originally bought it. The watch dealer can get into trouble for breaching a contractual duty of not to off-load the watches in the gray market.

To conclude, the practice of distorting serial numbers is done to guard dealers who sell timepieces to online discount stores and also to protect the serial numbers from being used in fake watches.

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