Picking Fake Ray Bans from the Real Ones!!!
Ok... so I have just bought my 3rd pair of Ray Ban sunglasses and generally I’ll buy a new pair about every 5 years. But the exception this time... I bought off eBay. Now in itself... there’s nothing wrong with that... or is there?! So here’s where I should fill you in on my background. I’m a goldsmith working for a well known jeweller in high-end jewellery so it’s my job to have an eye for detail.
So I knew exactly what I wanted! A pair of Ray Ban RB3269 004. There were plenty of auctions with this particular model and I decided to bid on a pair from a local Melbourne seller. (I figured if they were fakes I could get refunded through PayPal anyway.) I paid $70.99 which is quite a bit off retail. I knew exactly what they were supposed to look like as I’d seen them in person at local shops. My older pair were also a little similar too.
They arrived and the packaging all looked good... in fact it was excellent. Exactly as you would expect from Ray Ban. On opening the glasses case I noticed the little toggle thing attached which I’d seen in the auction pics. It seemed odd in the auction and no different here. To my knowledge no Ray Ban’s are packaged with this. (I could be wrong though?) Actually it was only after looking at the real packaging that you could see the quality difference. I doubt you'd notice without seeing the two side by side.
Fake Packaging Genuine Ray Ban Packaging
Now the glasses themselves! They were good. In fact they really were quite good. But there were things that didn’t sit right and after a moment looking at them... realised they were fakes!!! Good fakes... but fakes nonetheless. Actually, I should be using the word counterfeit because that is exactly what is being sold. They are basically criminals preying on unsuspecting buyers.
Anyhow, I confronted the seller and they did not even question it. They offered a full refund if I returned the glasses but I demanded extra money for return postage. I wasn’t going to be out of pocket for someone committing a crime. The following day I got a good deal at Sunglass Hut and purchased a genuine pair there. On comparison, there are indeed differences but it was also scary at how good the counterfeiting industry has become. So here are the differences:
1) Overall quality: Remember... Ray Ban has a fascinating history. They were basically the first “brand name” sunglasses around the 1940’s and that’s because they were such high quality. Ray Ban is still about as good as you can buy so inspect the overall look and quality of the glasses. Are there joins not quite meeting properly? Maybe a slightly rough or unfinished/unpolished surface? How are the hinges? Do they move cleanly and do the arms feel completely secure and strong? Does the plastic look like decent quality? Are the glasses nicely put together and ‘refined’? Look at the hinges below for example. The inside of the fakes on the left are a matte fininsh which is an easier, cheaper way of finishing a large inside surface while the real Ray Bans on the right are nicely polished and the hinges are much more refined and smaller.
2) Look at the printing on the arms and lenses. On the counterfeits I purchased the “Ray Ban” at the top right of the right lens was not quite where you would expect and was a little heavier. The originals always have this printing right near the top of the lens so it is completely out of view when wearing the glasses. The printing on the inside of the arms was virtually the same and there were no real quality differences. Below the fakes on the left have the printing further down the lens and it is a little heavier. Another major difference with these counterfeits is that they don't have the partial contrasting matte finish on the top of the arms. It's a lot more work to mask out different parts (i.e. top of arm and sqaure Ray Ban logo) on each arm than to just polish the lot.
3) An interesting point is that the originals weigh in at 36grams and the dodgy pair at 37.7grams. Given the dimensions are virtually identical of both pairs this would indicate that they are made from different materials.
4) Across the inside of the bridge the fakes had the glasses size printed while the originals had nothing. Now I could be wrong here but I actually thought that only Ray Bans with a ‘double bridge’ have anything stamped on them. These are a single bridge which would explain the lack of printing on the originals. The genuine Ray Bans also have smaller more refined mounts and screws holding the nose pads in place. The plastic nose pads also appear to be a softer and higher quality plastic.
5) You've probably already noticed this in the pics above but the lenses on the fakes are actually darker and greener than the originals too. Half the reason I bought the glasses I did were for the G-15 lenses that Ray Ban is known for. Interestingly enough the fakes had the G-15 lens sticker while the real ones didn't!!!
Fake on the bottom... Real on the top!!!
6) Just a point in note... the photo in the auction appeared to be a genuine pair of Ray Bans. When subtituted counterfeits are sent to you, there's little chance that you would notice the difference. Looking for the small details in the auction photos to see if they were fakes didn't work for me because the pics were a genuine pair. They also seem to be the same photo as several other sellers so watch out for that too.
So maybe you are saying ‘so what’ after all the above. Why spend so much more for a pair that the fakes copy pretty well. Ask yourself this. Do you value your eyesight? Products sold in Australia must meet strict quality assurance regulations. They can’t be sold here otherwise. These counterfeits are cheap imports from Asia and illegally imported. Did you know that if sunglasses aren’t properly UV protective then they can actually damage your eyes? The darkening of the light causes pupil dilation and allows more light in therefore more UV. (i.e tinted lenses provide no UV protection.) UV damage to eyes causes many different types of eye problems. According to the Optometrists Association Australia, “Ultraviolet radiation may play a contributory role in the development of various ocular disorders including cataract, pterygium, ocular cancers, photokeratitis (flash burns) and corneal degenerative changes. It may contribute to age-related macular degeneration.”
So there you have it. Still think the dodgy pair are worth the savings? There’s a saying that comes to mind here actually… “Caveat emptor” … Let the buyer beware!