29 June 2010

A Tale of Two Watches

So this enormous black guy comes up to me in the street in San Remo and says, ‘Want to buy a watch?’ ‘No thanks’, I reply. ‘But I’ve got some real nice watches.’ ‘I’m sure you have but no thanks.’ ‘Name me a watch you’d like and I’ll have it in here’, he said pointing to his inside pocket.
In order to get rid of the guy I said, ‘OK – if you’ve got a Breitling with a leather strap I’ll consider it’, never having seen a Breitling with a leather strap. That’ll get rid of him I thought.
 In a flash out came this gorgeous silver Breitling (fake of course) with an even nicer brown leather strap. ‘OK – how much?’ ‘€1200’, he said. I nearly fell about laughing until I remembered how big he was. ‘Come on – it’s not worth more than €25’, I said. We settled on €50 and I went home with a nice new (fake) watch.
About a year later the family were sitting in an Alpine restaurant when we should have been in Vail Colorado (lost passport - long story) and Guy asked to see my watch. I passed it over, he turned the bevel face and the watch literally exploded with bits flying everywhere. It was the pressure high up in the mountains and the fact that he’d been fiddling about with it. I gathered the bits and knew it would be a while before I would wear it again, if ever, because most jewelers won’t touch fake watches.  
A couple of years later I’m back in San Remo when a huge black guy comes up and says, yup, you’ve guessed it, ‘Want to buy a nice watch?’ ‘No thanks’, I replied and the whole rigmarole happens all over again. It was like Groundhog Day.
‘OK – if you’ve got a nice Breitling with a leather strap, I’ll consider it’, and sure enough, the large wallet comes out and an even nicer black and chrome Breitling with a black leather strap appears and I fall in love all over again. We settled on €40 which considering a leather strap and a battery costs about €25, I thought was a bargain.
And then I get my first Breitling fixed and so now I’m wandering around with a different Breitling  on my wrist on alternative days. Much better than wearing my good Raymond Weil watches which get scratched, the straps get ripped off and water seeps into them when I’m watering the plants.
And before you think I’m a bit of a chancer wearing cheap, fake watches and conning people into thinking I’m a rich dude, I always own up. Only a couple of weeks ago, a lady was very impressed by my black Breitling. ‘That looks a very expensive watch’, she said. ‘Nope – fake I’m afraid’, I replied.
Now the question is – was she impressed by my honesty or did she think I was a chancer?

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