My Wristwatch Obsession

I’m not sure when or where it started. All I know is I have this uncontrollable obsession as far as watches are concerned. I have between 10-15 of them; more than anyone needs.

This addiction has always been easily satisfied while walking down Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. Everything on Canal Street is a knock-off, and I would assume (though how could I really know) watches are no exception.

Years ago I bought a very lightweight, somewhat flimsy Rolex on Canal Street. I wore it, until I saw some real Rolexes, and it faded to sock drawer obscurity. There have been other similar stories.

Over the past few years, the quality of Canal Street watch has grown. What had been $5 and $10 items could now go over $50 (though the low end stuff was still there).

Two or three years ago I bought my first ‘better’ Canal Street watch. It’s a silver toned calendar watch with stopwatch that passes for a Breitling. I think I paid $35… maybe $45. It’s one of my favorite watches to wear.

Over the past few years I’ve looked for a watch that looked like a Breitling digital/analog model. I finally found one on a website that I now know is located in Malaysia. The price was $85 – no checks, no credit cards, just Western Union.

I sent the money and as soon as I did realized what a mistake I had made! I had no recourse, since the Western Union money order is the same as cash. And, even if I did have recourse, it was Malaysia! I’m not sure what language they speak there, but I haven’t been able to identify it after having read Malaysian webpages.

When no watch came after a month or so, I wrote Cal, my contact, to ask what was going on. He put me off, telling me things sometimes take time. When the delay persisted, I got angry, and Cal said he’d just send another.

Looking at Cal’s IP address on his emails (left like fingerprints at a crime scene) it looked like he was in Singapore (though I sent my money to Malaysia). He was stalling me while he got as much business as possible from this website – and then he’d disappear.

Disappointed, I wrote off the $85 to experience. I’ll never do this again.

Then yesterday, the watch came!

It’s a little larger than I would have liked, and not spot on to the pictures I’d seen, but it’s very, very nice. The face is black. The LCD readout a subdued gold. There is a logo of a single seat, combat type, jet airplane on the face. It is substantial in weight, especially the band. The back of the case is slightly convex with fancy tooling.

If it is not real, it sure is a beautiful fake.

I’ll stop and have the band sized on my way into work today.