This looks to me like a piece of whatever preceded urban myths, but it’s a bit of fun anyway.
During the war of 1796 a sailor went to a Mr MacLaren, a watchmaker and presenting a small French watch to him, demanded to know how much the repair of it would come to.
Mr MacLaren, after examining it, said ‘It would be more expense repairing than its original cost.” ‘
The sailor said, “I don’t mind that, I will even give you double the original cost; for I have a veneration for the watch.’
The clockmaker said, “What might you now give for it?”‘
“I gave a fellow a blow on the head for it and if you repair it I will give you two’.