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    Re: Indian sextants
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2013 Mar 26, 14:07 -0700

    Alex wrote:
    "Looks interesting, like they cloned some old C-Plath or Astra"

    Right. They appear to be Astra counterfeits. Why would anyone buy one (or fifty)? Well, why would anyone buy a counterfeit Rolex watch? The obvious reason is to sell them to the next idiot as the real thing. You find a marine store that wants to sell sextants but doesn't know any better and you offer them "half-priced wholesale sextants: $150 each --special price, just for you". And incidentally, this online seller could easily be that "next idiot" who purchased them as the real thing and now needs to unload them.

    Another reason to buy a counterfeit is to impress the gullible. Sextants don't have the luxury value of expensive watches, but they could still impress an inspector. Many ocean-going vessels carry sextants SOLELY to pass inspection by regulators at some level. Nobody really knows how to use the sextant, and it stays in its closet except when the inspectors come around. A good counterfeit could easily persuade a slightly distracted inspector and save hundreds of dollars for whoever has to pick up the bill. I suspect that this is the prime market for these fakes.

    Could they work? Sure --up to a point. They are, in fact, proper "instruments of reflection", but the arc is probably so inferior that you could not count on anything better than 10 minutes of arc accuracy, and as you noted, the shades appear to be junk.

    -FER


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