A seller on online marketplace Carousell has alleged that a potential buyer switched his authentic Rolex watch with an imitation under the guise of inspecting the watch at a meetup, before taking off with the real deal.
The meetup took place last Friday at the Singapore General Hospital where the seller, Wafiy, was hospitalised following a surgery. The buyer – only known as Joseph – allegedly arrived on time and began to inspect the 2007 Rolex Submariner that was on sale.
After looking at the watch, which was strapped to Wafiy’s wrist, Joseph supposedly asked Wafiy to remove the watch as he wanted to inspect the back of the watch for the unique Rolex serial number that authentic Rolex watches bear.
Wafiy acceded to the request and removed his watch for Joseph’s inspection. Suddenly, Wafiy claims, Joseph said that a part of the watch had dislodged and dropped onto the floor. Joseph bent down to look for the part. Wafiy recounted:
“He checked everything and looked like he was trying to authenticate my watch. He wanted to check the serial number which is under the lug, where the watch bracelet fits, so he needed to take out the links.”
“Suddenly, he said that the spring bar popped up and flew and dropped somewhere but assured me that it was okay and he will replace it for me or buy me a new one.
“I think this is when he tried to swap my watch with his watch which I assume is fake. It is also a submariner but with a thicker case and ceramic, which is not the same as mine.”
Wafiy said that Joseph’s alleged sleight of hand trick happened so quickly that he did not realise what really happened until later.
Joseph then put the watch back together and left it in the room, before claiming that he would be back after he withdrew money from the ATM at the hospital lobby. He made Wafiy sign an agreement acknowledging the sale before he left – an agreement Wafiy signed thinking that Joseph was about to make the purchase immediately:
“He then asked me to sign an agreement if I wanted to proceed with the sale and I did, thinking that he had the money with him.
“After I signed, he told me he would withdraw the money downstairs and I said okay. He left the watch box on the table and left.
“After a few minutes, he texted me again and said that he needed to withdraw on the other side of SGH and I said sure, no problem.
“I took the box and opened it up and at one glance I knew that it was not my watch.”
Wafiy immediately messaged Joseph, alerting him that he knew what had happened and that Joseph’s personal information was traceable since he left it at the hospital’s registration desk.
Joseph said that he “accidentally” made a mistake of swapping his own watch with Wafiy’s and claimed that his own watch was an authentic 2014 timepiece. He reportedly texted Wafiy:
“I won’t wanna take yours and loss (sic) that. Lol. Come on bro, I won’t be so stupid to identification (sic) myself if I wanna ‘cheat’ u. I’m a serious buyer lol.”
Wafiy said that he saw right through Joseph’s excuses since even the sticker on his watch was switched to Joseph’s:
“My bracelet had been swapped to his watch and my back case sticker had been pasted on his watch too…what a joker.”
However, Joseph did return and assured Wafiy it was his mistake. However, before they switched the watches, Joseph said he had to use the washroom and dashed out.
He never returned after that.
“Before I could ask him why he did all this, he disappeared. I didn’t see him again.”
Wafiy added that he has since made a police report.
This is not the first time a scammer has played a sleight of hand trick on a seller selling a Rolex watch during a viewing.
In April, another scammer tried the same stunt. He was, however, apprehended by the police.