Counterfeits have plagued the watch industry since its early days. Rebecca Struthers, the only person to hold a doctorate in horology studied early fakes in watchmaking dating back as early as 1760. She came across one of them while cataloging antique watches. The watch was made around in 1760 and it claimed to be made in London. London watches commanded a premium in the 1700s just like Swiss watches of today.
However, Ms. Struthers observed that this watch was of low-quality. It didn’t take her long to find out that it was in fact, what was known as, a Dutch Forgery. These watches were made along the Swiss/French border and were then distributed by the Dutch merchants. These counterfeiting operations were carried out on such a large scale that even the most successful London watchmakers could not have kept up with counterfeit production. The London watchmakers saw their decline in face of competition from the industrialized Swiss Watchmakers.