27 profs duped by woman selling 'colour-changing' wristwatches

Published: 21 December, 2012 07:42 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar |

Con artist sells watch for Rs 500 saying dial will change to match colour of owner's clothes 2 hrs after pressing button

With advancement in technology it seems anything is possible, and 27 college professors swayed by a ‘chameleon wristwatch’ that would change colour and match the colour of their garment were under the same impression when such a product was pitched to them at a fraction of the normal price.After purchasing it and then waiting for two hours to witness the technological marvel, they realised it was a rip-off, as the colour of dial remained unchanged and the seller untraceable.

The con job: Posing as an electronics researcher, woman tells professors that the watch she is selling was manufactured at her institute

The incident took place at a polytechnic college in the city on Tuesday after a well-educated woman parading as an MBA student took the professors in her confidence by telling them that the watch she was selling had special features, and by simply pressing the crown on the timepiece a sensor would be activated and the colour of the watch would change and will match the colour of their garment within two hours.

A receipt displaying sale of two watches, which was given to the purchasers

Impressed by the features and her convincing skills, all the professors purchased the watch for Rs 500 each. “On Tuesday afternoon, six of us were at the college checking examination papers when a woman in her 20s entered the class and introduced herself as an MBA graduate and a researcher in electronic goods,” said a lady professor who was duped.

“She told us that she had taken permission from the college principal and wanted to sell the special feature watch to us. She took out some wristwatches from her bag and showed it to us,” said the professor who did not wish to be named.

There was nothing extraordinary about the appearance of the watch and it looked normal, but when the con artist cleared that the watches were made at their institute, which takes pride in bringing innovation into technology and said that the watches are laced with extraordinary features, the professors were convinced it was a good deal.

“She said that after wearing the watch, and by simply pressing the side key the sensor would get activated and within two hours the colour of the watch will change and will match the colour of the shirt of the person,” said the professor.

The lady professor said that the manner in which she was explaining the features, everybody, including herself, was amazed with the presentation.

“She even told us that the price of the watch in the international market is high. However, as the company wants to promote the product, the promotional price has been kept low and we could buy it for only Rs 500.

She even told us that they could visit ‘Raj Watches’ in Shanipar anytime if they had any complaints of the product after purchase,” she said.

She also gave the professor an address of the shop, and willingly shared her mobile number for further correspondence. When one of the professor’s asked her to wait for two hours so that they could validate her claims, the con artist said that only a few minutes ago she had sold the same watch to 21 other professors from the other section in the college, and that they have witnessed the colour-changing and validated the authenticity.

Since the professors were certain it was a genuine product, they paid her Rs 500 each and demanded a guarantee card for the same.

“Hearing our request, she took out a small memo book from her bag and wrote her number and also signed on it S S Shinde and on the flip side wrote down that the guarantee period of the watch is eight years, and it included service maintenance of the belt and dial,” said the woman professor.

“After handing over the watches, she immediately left the college premise, leaving us waiting for the colour change to occur. After two hours, nothing happened and we realised we were conned.”

“We then contacted the other 21 professors who had purchased the watches and they too confessed that they had been duped,” she added. “We then tried to contact the number given on the receipt. However, the number was unreachable and after digging around we were informed that there was no ‘Raj Watches’ store in Shanipar,” she said.

“We do not want complaint to the police, as it will come out in the open that we entertained a person during working hours and unnecessarily our principal will be dragged into a controversy. Our intention is to make people aware of this con so that they don’t fall prey to such con artists,” said the professor.

It was later ascertained that the wristwatch had a market price of Rs 100 or 150. 

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