Expert Carmelo Armeli: counterfeiters’ terror

Temps de lecture : 2 minutes
Carmelo Armeli

Self-employed since 2018, this low-profile expert, one of the best counterfeit detectors in the world, has a long list of prestigious clients. Meet him at one of the watch markets he organizes.

Joël A. Grandjean / JSH® Magazine & Swiss Watch Passport’s Editeur in chief & Publisher
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Carmelo Armeli, the experienced expert, never one to be stingy about sharing his knowledge. Here with Aurel Bacs' regular watchmaker and restorer, Nicolas Commergnat (dr), from Alliance Sàrl

Fake watches getting truer and truer

Among the counterfeiters operating in the world today, there are some incredible artists who are comparable to the best Hollywood movie decorators. For even if they are masters of the science of trompe l’oeil, this also means that all you have to do is look over to the other side, where the scaffoldings are entangled, behind the bridges and plates, to discover with absolute certitude that you are in for a fake and not an original. That’s how Carmelo Armeli, expert watchmaker at the CFC exams of the Geneva School of Watchmaking and the IFAGE exams, describes the evil of the century: counterfeits so well executed that even seasoned watchmakers are bluffed and fall for the trap.

So auction houses, jewelry stores, private collectors and even a notary’s office are among those who, in the know, are consulting him and benefiting from his expert appraisals. Since 2018, he has been self-employed. His professional experience is quite unique. After studying to be a watchmaker, he went on to specialize in microtechnology and Quality Engineering. Above all, he worked for 31 years at Geneva’s most prestigious watchmaking company, the one that, with its indestructible “crown”, is the ultimate Grail for collectors and counterfeiters alike.

He held four positions within the company, which may explain his current incomparable skills: “I started in the R&D department. I then moved on to the Manufacturing and Quality departments, before finishing up in the Sales department, in the after-sales service, where I worked on setting up the workshop for restoring vintage watches and identifying counterfeits“, explains the man who, in his simplicity and accessibility, gives of himself in “civil protection”, while knowing how to enjoy the good life of a connoisseur gourmet.

Carmelo Armeli, in "civil protection" uniform in Geneva. Organizer of the Geneva Watch Exchange

Back to basics

It’s in the friendly atmosphere of a watch fair that enthusiasts and watchmaking treasures flow. So Carmelo Armeli became an organizer. And now, under the patronage of the SGAH (Société Genevoise des Amateurs d’Horlogerie), his popular events are finally returning back to Geneva. Bourse Horlogère de Genève at IceBergues, in the heart of Geneva, where the AHCI traditionally exhibits during watchmaking weeks. Not to be missed.

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