Chanel is one of the most desired luxury brands today. As a result, it is also one of the most replicated brands. There are a number of details to examine when identifying an authentic Chanel item. Keep in mind that not all Chanel replicas are made the same. Some replicas are much easier to spot than others. The replicas that are closest to the real thing, also known as “Superfakes” are pretty tricky to spot for most, as they are made to look almost exactly the same as an authentic Chanel. While these details may look close to identical, there will usually be at least a detail or two that are a little off. We’ll go over a few of the basics to help you identify an authentic Chanel bag or other small leather goods.
Real Versus Fake Chanel Serial Numbers
One of the most important details to review when determining if a used Chanel bag is authentic is the serial number. Chanel began using serial numbers in the 1980s. If the bag carries one, it would have been sold with an authenticity card with the corresponding serial number. Keep in mind, however, that neither the serial number nor authenticity card can solely be used to authenticate a Chanel item. It’s possible for serial numbers to be removed or damaged over time. Older Chanel items made prior to the 1980s will not even carry a serial number at all. There are plenty of other important details to examine in order to accurately authenticate a Chanel item.
Replica Chanel Serial Number
Take a look at this replica serial number below. There are a few issues with this one.
- This isn’t the proper font used on Chanel serial numbers
- The “1”s are missing feet
- The bottom left of the “2” should not appear pointed
- The height of the white sticker should be slightly shorter
- The shape of the serial number should look more like a rectangle and less like a square.
Authentic Chanel Serial Number
Now compare it to this authentic serial number below. This is the correct modern serial number used by Chanel.
- The spacing between each number is even,
- There are small gold speckles throughout the sticker,
- There are visible “X” cut out lines.
Next is the trademark stamping. All modern Chanel bags should have the trademark stamping with its country of manufacture clearly stamped. Chanel manufactures items in France, Italy and Spain.
Authentic Chanel Trademark Stamping
Replica Chanel Trademark Stamping
Now compare those authentic stampings with these replica stampings below. Notice how much more narrow these stampings are. Each letter of the stamping is incorrect, and the foil imprint is noticeably messy and appears to be slightly blurred.
Chanel Hardware Engraving
Another important detail to review on a Chanel bag is the hardware. Chanel uses the highest quality materials and this includes the hardware. All zippers, clasps, chains, plates, and emblems should be securely attached, and its finishing should appear smooth without any streakiness or visible air bubbles. Any CC logos or CHANEL engravings should be very clear with its correct font.
Take a look at this comparison below. Notice the engraving on the authentic hardware is crisp and evenly spaced out. On the replica, there is too much spacing between each letter, and the finishing is not quite as smooth.
Note that Chanel has used various brands of zippers, including EP, YKK, DMC, Lampo, and more. Not all Chanel hardware will be marked with the CC logo or “CHANEL”.
Below, you can compare the differences between the authentic and replica zipper. Pay attention to the main differences: the font, spacing and shape of the zipper. On the replica zipper, you’ll notice how different each letter looks. The spacing is misaligned, and the corners are much more squared off than on the authentic.
Chanel Turn Lock Plate
Now let’s take a look at the turnlock plate which is found on many Chanel flap bags. Notice the size and font of the engravings, and the screws that are used. On the replica plate, the “CHANEL PARIS” engraving is noticeably smaller. The font is incorrect and the letters are misaligned. In addition, the presence of the “+” shaped Philips screw is a sign that the item may not be authentic.
In addition to these markers, an authentic Chanel item should be fully constructed in the highest quality. The stitching should be evenly spaced out, tight, and close together. The spacing and tension of the stitching will affect the overall appearance of the bag. If the stitches are far apart or are too long, the bag may appear puffier or completely misshaped.
Chanel Wallet On Chain
Compare these two Chanel wallets on chains below. The replica quilted Wallet on Chain is noticeably puffier and misshaped. On the authentic Chanel WOC, the stitches are tighter and evenly spaced out, so the appearance of the bag is slightly flatter, more proportionate and smooth.
The Bottom Line
The fundamentals required to help you identify an authentic Chanel bag or other small leather good are fairly simple if you have a trained eye and know what to look for. Just remember that there may be some variations in different parts of the item, such as the stamping font, hardware part, or serial number. These are based on the specific style or when that item was produced. If you want to feel confident in the authenticity of your Chanel, have it checked out by a Chanel expert!