Archive for August, 2010

Rolex GMT Master II Ceramic Bezel: The Spy who Strapped Me

Sunday, August 8th, 2010



The rains had barely stopped when I arrived at the secret location at the predetermined time for my prearranged interview with the elusive ‘spy’ known only by his initials, K*P. Not knowing what exactly to expect, I nervously scanned the sparse crowd before me, looking for a person in a trench-coat or panama- hat. All I could find however, was the usual back-alley crowd: the male virility product seller, peddling his wares; a Filipino lady in a low-cut blouse offering ‘manicures’ to passer- bys; the blind ventriloquist with a pigeon perched on his head. I lifted a cigarette from my pocket and lit it.

I hadn’t taken a single drag before a voice spoke behind me.

Those things will kill you,” said a squeaky voice that reminded me of what a Beckham- Tyson lovechild would have sounded like.

Startled, I turned around. But there wasn’t anyone there. Instead, the ‘blind’ ventriloquist who had a pigeon perched on his head and giving indiscriminate foot massages by the corner of the walkway moved towards the kerb, beckoning me to follow him. A truly masterful disguise for a super- sleuth. “The name’s Pang,” he uttered, “K-Pang” (pronounced Kay- Pang).

I stepped back to evaluate the legend who now stood before me. North Korea, 1952. Liberated a shipment of grade ‘A’ kimchee just as it was being delivered to the grubby hands of Great Leader. ‘Nam, 73: single-handedly held back an entire legion of the Vietcong’s Giah Bargh (bloodthirsty war-squirrels) as the 21st airborne evacuated Saigon. The Persian Gulf, 1991: re-arranged the direction signs so the Scuds would fire at a Baby Milk Factory instead. The list of accomplishments could go on all day.

We both sat down on the kerb as we began to talk about his life as a super-spy. His eyes had a faraway look as he recounted to me the countless incidences of his world- saving exploits. In between tales of taking out weapons of mass destruction, assassinating dictators and rescuing hostages, he would glance occasionally at his watch, a Rolex GMT Master II Ceramic Bezel on a NATO strap. I asked him what happened to the original stainless steel bracelet that came with the watch.

“That? Used it to sabotage the crazed scientist Dr. Patek P. Lipp’s space-station “O.M.E.G.A.” (Orbital Meteorite in Earth’s Gassy Atmosphere), which was equipped with an experimental coaxial laser,” he replied, adding,”that thing would have turned Earth into a planet ocean”.

Impressive. But surely he could have gotten a replacement bracelet by writing in to Rolex? “I’m used to the NATO by now,” he shrugged. “Anyway the bracelet was too shiny, attracting the wrong kind of attention. The strap’s different. It doesn’t give away my location, whether I’m in the field or infiltration mode.”

And his job is one that constantly required him to stay in the murky depths of the intelligence world. Just like the restaurant we eventually ended up at, a dusty little noodle-shop with lots of shady customers eating chow- mien, where he revealed his Rolex’s next trick. “My job is dangerous,” he explained. “The knowledge I have, what I can do, can bring down governments. Which is why, when cornered, I will have no choice but to kill myself…with this watch”. But how?

He pointed to the shiny bezel of the GMT2. “It looks like any ordinary shiny bezel that seems harder to scratch, this,” he explains, “but its actually made of a secret, super- hard substance known only as ‘Cerachrom’. Scientists believe that aliens from the planet Rolexsior introduced this substance to Earth when they arrived in the early 20th century and founded Rolex. All we know is that Cerachrom is fatal when ingested by humans. So when cornered, I will simply swallow the whole bezel and bring my secrets to the grave”. I was stunned by this revelation. Who would ever have thought that the bezel would contain such a grave purpose?

“Oh, we spies do it all the time,” K*P remarked nonchalantly. “Back in the 1930s the Italian spies used to swallow their Panerais, as the luminous hour- markers were tipped with radium; you can imagine it was quite fatal.” He paused, before adding,” By the way, if you own a Panerai, try not to lick the dial.”

We finished our meal in silence, with me deep in thought about watch-swallowing in the intelligence fraternity. Walking to the station, we then boarded the train to City Hallz, where we would go our separate ways. We were both seated down when this teenager beside us caught a glance at K*P’s Rolex and remarked to him, “Wow! That’s a nice Seiko dude”.

“You must get that a lot, after changing to a NATO strap,” I said to K*P.

He remained silent as he began to turn the Rolex’s ceramic bezel counter-clockwise. After turning and twisting the bezel for about 495 times or so, an especially loud click could be heard, accompanied by a faint ticking noise. “There,” he remarked at last, “I’ve activated the self- destruct sequence. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, in a 5 foot radius, will be destroyed.” What? But why?!

“No one mistakes my Rolex for a Seiko and lives,” came his reply. “Even though there are nice Seikos.” I frantically tried to look for a way off the train, but couldn’t resist asking him one final question, “the GMT2 can do that?”

“Oh yes. There is a small amount of explosive hidden in the trip-lock crown; when the seconds- hand reaches 45, the incredibly accurate PARACHROM hairspring (which is unaffected by magnetism) will begin to unwind extremely fast, setting off a chain explosion. I repeat, everything within a five- foot radius will be destroyed. That kid will be Superlatively, Perpetually and Certifiably dead.”

Thankfully, the train doors opened, and I scrambled off the train. The fate of K*P and the train’s passengers remains unknown at the point of posting.

Rolex GMT Master 2, reference number 116710LN, Stainless Steel Case with Ceramic Bezel, 40mm; Movement: Rolex 3186. Price: S$9800.00 (from AD)

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