Right outside the shop where I purchased those magnificent T-shirts, I was once again approached about buying a watch and, this time, I simply replied, "How much?"
Just like that, it was time to negotiate. The woman pushing the knockoff timepieces pulled out a laminated sheet of paper with pictures of all the various items that were available. I settled on a Rolex Submariner with a green face, because it was the brightest picture and I'm immediately drawn to anything that looks shinier than the rest of the stuff around it. I asked the price, and she replied, "For you, one-fifty." While the "For you" was a nice touch, I wasn't having anything to do with it, so I offered her $20. Back and forth we went until finally settling on a still absurd price of $35. Whatever, I can write it off on my taxes as a business expense. That's one of the joys of being a writer.
Alcoholism is another.
What went down next was a transaction of the utmost shadiness. I was told to wait while she whipped out a motherfucking walkie-talkie and sent my order off to God knows who. Then she just went about half a block up and stood there, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. After about 10 minutes, a man walked up to her, placed something in her hand in the same way a spy might pass off documents to a foreign dignitary and then continued walking. I've seen heroin deals that didn't look this suspicious. But a few moments later, I had what I came for ... a fake Rolex.
I have to admit, if you're just glancing at this marvel of forced labor camp engineering, it doesn't look too bad. Granted, I don't know shit about watches, but it's not like the thing says "Holex" on the face or has a pencil eraser where the crown should be. But the first-glance test is about the only one this beast would ever pass. The bezel feels as if it's constructed from the finest of plastics, a feature you just don't find on the more well-constructed Rolexes of the world. Like any knockoff, the smooth motion of the second hand on a real Rolex is conspicuously absent, but that's to be expected.
By far the biggest surprise, though, was the crown. To say this watch is hard to set is an understatement. It actually required prying the crown apart with a knife to even get it into a position that would facilitate winding it to its correct setting, and even then, the razor-blade-like ridges on the crown made doing so unspeakably painful. As for the performance, a Rolex Submariner gets its name because you can take it to the farthest depths of the ocean and it still functions like a champion. I didn't have an ocean handy, but I still wanted to test the waterproof feature out, so I opted instead to just pour beer on it. And by that I mean I accidentally spilled beer on it the same night I bought it. I don't know if that's the most scientific test possible, but it was revealing nevertheless. An hour or so after the beer test, my new watch stopped working. The second hand just stopped moving altogether. Because I'm not wealthy, I can't confirm if this is how a real Rolex would respond to such treatment, but I have my suspicions that it would fare at least slightly better than that.
So what's the conclusion here? Basically, a fake Rolex purchased on a street corner in New York City does not amount to money well spent. Who could have possibly seen that coming?
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. Be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
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