Instagram user FakeWatchBusta is to the jewelry industry what a polygraph is to lies.
The account is run by a 30-something year old European watch geek who combs through photos of celebrities showing off their shiny watches and proves that they are fake.
FakeWatchBusta has called out the wristwear of rappers like Rick Ross, Riff Raff, and Sean Kingston. In two months he’s amassed 30,739 followers and a bunch of legal headaches. He said he received a cease and desist letter at least once a week on behalf of some celebrity upset over his mythbusting. That also includes Knicks star Carmelo Anthony who called out for wearing a fake Audemars Piguet and Panerai, which can run between $4,000 to $800,000 each according to thewatchquote.com.
The fashion industry’s problem with counterfeits and fakes is nothing new. While there’s been a crack down on these knockoff peddlers, hundreds of New York City streets have some guy trying to pawn off a Folex. Furthermore, a simple search for “buy fake watches” on Google turns up sites like perfectwatches.cn, fakerolex.evenweb.com, and georgefakes.com selling relicas.
So the question is, are these rappers being scammed out of their money or are they fully aware that they’re wearing fake timepieces? FakeWatchBusta, who owns a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master 8 days and a Panerai 312 of his own, believes it’s the latter.
“But if [the rappers] wanted the real deal from, say, Ben Baller it would be twice the price,” he said. “ I don’t think they care about the watch part—it’s the diamonds and shit that’s important to them. I think it’s more jewelry than watches for most of them. I mean Soulja Boy’s watch is a bad Audemars Piguet quartz fake and the battery has run out so it shows the same time in all his pictures. It’s 10:25 all day, every day. It’s pretty funny.”