"All historians agree that George Washington's greatest regret was not being PERMANENTLY INVISIBLE. Now you can succeed where the man who invented America failed. Be invisible forever with the Cloak and Dagger Spy Watch!"There's something cool about wrists and devices on them. Wristwatches are cool. Wristwatches that call your special friend are even cooler. In fiction, a bracelet is never just a bracelet and a watch never just tells time. They serve some sort of function. Sometimes, multiple functions. They unlock doors, teleport you places, and create miniature harpoons. They're the super Swiss army knife of wrist wear. Oh, and sometimes they even tell the time. Often a result of Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?. Can be used as part of a Nonuniform Uniform. A subtrope of Shoe Phone. See also Magical Accessory for other tricked out trinkets.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Light Yagami hides a piece of his Death Note inside his watch, meaning he can kill anyone at any time.
- The Big O: Roger Smith uses one to summon the titular Humongous Mecha—plus, it has a grappling hook and a laser.
- In Gatchaman, The Science Ninja Team needed their watches (sometimes called "bracelets" but hey, it was the seventies) to transform, plus they contained a communications device and a gadget that could be slipped in to track radio waves. But when that was being used, the communicator didn't work.
- Erio's Strada in Lyrical Nanoha comes in watch form when not in use, serving as both Transformation Trinket and communicator.
- Chao's time machine in Mahou Sensei Negima! looks like a large pocket watch.
- In Detective Conan, Conan Edogawa's watch has a stun gun plus a very bright torch.
- Lupin III: Lupin's wristwatch can contain any number of cool things, but a grappling hook is seen the most often.
- Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop had a bracelet that controlled her Cool Starship and an anklet that controlled weighted dice.
- Giant Robo: Daisaku controls the eponymous giant robot with one.
- Youji from Weiß Kreuz hides his garrote wire inside his already cool-looking diver's watch.
- Ed's pocketwatch in Fullmetal Alchemist is a badge of rank, noting his position as a State Alchemist. These watches allegedly serve as an alchemical amplifier somehow, but this is never really shown (on the original manga. The 2003 series eventually shows that there is a very tiny False Alchemical Stone concealed within the watch's mechanism). It is mainly used as an ID to access government resources, including a massive expense account.
- Jimmy Olsen in Superman has his Signal Watch, which tells the time and gives off a high-pitched frequency that Superman can hear. Originally, it was a present from Superman to Olsen; Post-Crisis, Olsen invented it himself, and Superman sometimes finds it a nuisance.
- Dial H for Hero... which does tell time (and, oh yeah, it turns you into a random superhuman being every time it's activated).
- Funky Koval from the eponymous Polish sci-fi comic had a watch fitted with a miniature buzzsaw he used to cut the ropes he was tied with in one of the books.
- Before One More Day, Spider-Man had given Mary Jane Watson a webshooter disguised as a charm-bracelet.
- The Golden Age Astro City villain the Time-Keeper used a stopwatch that stopped time for everyone except himself and his minions.
Films — Live-Action
- Spy Kids II had Juni and Carmen receive special watches that did everything but tell the time. Gary and Gerti however, received prototypes that did tell the time and were several times more bulky for that one additional function.
- James Bond and other spies use these types of wristwatches all the time. At least for Bond, it becomes something of an AssPull, since it just so happens to do whatever he needs it for at that moment, be it a buzzsaw to cut ropes, a laser to cut steel, an electromagnet to fetch keys, a Geiger counter, and so on.
- To the point that in GoldenEye, when Bond uses his laser watch to cut his way out of a railway car, there was no previous scene of him getting from Q Branch; to the average audience, of course he would have such a gadget on him. Furthermore, the villain (an ex-MI-6 agent himself) took away his watch because he knew it was a gadget of some kind.
- In From Russia with Love, The Dragon Red Grant kills people with a garotte concealed in his wristwatch.
- Never Say Never Again. Bond uses a watch with a built-in laser to cut open the manacles holding him and escape.
- Our Man Flint. Derek Flint's watch could wake him up out of suspended animation and act as a microscope.
- Undercover Brother. Smart Brother gave the title character a watch that could spritz hot sauce on white people's food to make it edible.
- In Kim Newman's Diogenes Club stories, it's strongly implied that there's something interesting about Charles Beauregard's pocket watch "with the intricate crystal workings". The Undertaking refuse to let him into their HQ while carrying it, and he certainly refuses to let them look after it while he's there. Sadly, the glossary page explaining what it does has been censored by the current Diogenes chairperson.
- In The Girl The Gold Watch And Everything by John D. MacDonald, the hero inherits a gold pocket watch that stops time for everyone but the person holding it.
- The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything was homaged in Lady Slings the Booze (part of the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon series) where one of the bad guys has a time stop device built into a fancy gold wristwatch. Author Spider Robinson acknowledged the Shout-Out to John D. MacDonald in the introduction.
- Also homaged (without credit) in the DuckTales episode "Time Teasers."
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Borrowed Time has a similar idea, with a twist. The people Mr Symmington and Mr Blenkinsop give their wristwatches to are literally borrowing the time, and will be expected to pay it back. With compound interest.
- The teleport bracelets from Blake's 7. Apparently they had to be regularly replaced because the cast and crew kept stealing them as presents for their kids.
- Chuck has a "government issue watch" that can be used to trace him. He's also seen talking into it as a way of communication.
- Doctor Who:
- The teleport-wristwatches featured in "The Keys of Marinus" (like Blake's 7, written by Terry Nation).
- The Seventh Doctor had a pocketwatch scanner, which he used in "Survival"; possibly in other stories as well.
- The Ninth and Eleventh Doctors are both seen using their perfectly ordinary-seeming wristwatches to tell what year they're in.
- The Chameleon Arch pocketwatch in "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" and "Utopia" definitely counts as a gadget-watch. It holds the memories and Time Lord nature of a Time Lord who's going so deep cover he gives himself False Memories and even reads genetically as a human or member of any other target species.
- Vortex manipulators (wriststrap teleport/time machines used by Time Agents, and anyone else who gets ahold of one) might also fall under this; one would assume a time machine can tell the time.
- In "The Caretaker", the Doctor builds an invisibility watch.
- One of Kamen Rider Double's Memory Gadgets is the Spider Shock, a wristwatch that can turn into a spider robot; it typically functions as a "smart" grappling hook, but can also be used in conjunction with Double's weapons to make "nets".
- A one-shot gadget used on an episode of MacGyver was a wristwatch with a concealed tracer carried by Pete during a hostage exchange (for Mac to follow at a safe distance). When the hostage takers end up being clever enough to force Pete to get rid of all of his clothes (and later to change cars), Mac is forced to keep giving chase through other methods.
- In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Zordon kept in touch with the Rangers via a wristwatch-like device. It could also tap into the Command Center's teleportation system (which Billy got it to do accidentally!)
- Open Heart features a fairly low-tech one, as it only has a secret compartment hidden under the watch face. It's still important, though, and Dylan and her father are the only ones who know about it, and Dylan realizes that it was given to another doctor after viewing security footage from the day her dad vanished.
- Jarrod and Brandi found spy equipment in a storage locker in Storage Wars, and among them was one of these, which doubled as a video camera, and could be connected to a computer with a USB cable.
- Ultra Series
- The Tracy Brothers in Thunderbirds communicated with each other using these.
- Dragon magazine #130 had an article with 17 special watches for use in Top Secret.
- The COMP terminals from certain games in the Shin Megami Tensei series serve various functions. In all games, they contain a Demon Summoning Program used to call demons that you have contracts with. In IMAGINE Online, it also holds the Demonic Compendium and the chat program as well. Certain hacked COMPs serve as dungeons, and some special COMPs can style your hair!
- In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, Matt Engarde has a bracelet that works as a cell phone.
- In Absolute Obedience, the Russian spy Zhores Barsoukova appeared to have one of these. It turned out to be a completely ordinary watch, and a decoy from a less compromised spy.
- The Spy from Team Fortress 2 has three different watches, each equipped with a slightly different type of cloaking device.
- However, one of them is a pocket watch instead of a wristwatch. Unlike the other activate on demand watches, this watch requires you to take damage with it active before becoming invisible. A big downside, but in return it leaves a false corpse to trick enemies into believing you've died, along with a hefty temporary damage reduction. On the downside, it has been Nerfed many times, reducing the damage reduction and removing the ability to recharge with ammo packs and dispensers. This was not because of how effective Faking the Dead is (more experienced players are rarely fooled), but because the damage reduction and lack of Invisibility Flicker when bumping enemies allowed spies to easily survive and escape otherwise certain death and quickly recharge to do it again, making it difficult to ensure he's Deader Than Dead.
- The PokéGear, introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver, was a wrist-worn multi-function device (watch, map, phone, and radio). After skipping it in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, which had the hand-held but not wrist-worn PokéNav, the concept returned in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl with the appropriately-named Pokétch (Pokemon Watch) in the main series and a new PokéGear for the Gen 2 remakes.
- In Secret Agent Barbie, a watch is used by Barbie to communicate with her friends back at base while she’s on a mission. When it's not being used in this way, it functions as a minimap/GPS type thing.
- The titular Yo-kai Watch can detect nearby Yo-kai and summon ones that have been befriended.
- Metro 2033: Artyom's wristwatch is a handy piece of Diegetic Interface that tells how well-hidden he is via a set of LED's Color-Coded for Your Convenience, and when in sections with poisonous air such as the surface, an additional timer on the watch face indicates how much time is left in the current filter. It's so integral to gameplay that there's a control binding specifically for bringing the watch up for inspection. The hour and minute hands are synced to the computer's clock, so yes, it also tells time. Metro: Last Light changes it to a numerical display of nixie tubes for the computer's clock and a timer when Artyom has his gasmask on, and a blue light on top that switches off when he's hidden from sight. The Redux versions of both games have both kinds of watches, with Survival giving Artyom the original analogic one (with the blue lamp system instead of the three LED's) and Spartan featuring the nixie tube model. The nixie tube watch, as far as promotional material indicates, will make a return in Metro Exodus.
- El Goonish Shive has walkie talkie watches. Not much compared to a cellphone or a real walkie-talkie, but it's fun, convenient (though less so than a headset) and concealed.
- And recently, Tedd has entered the business of making wand-watches, allowing people to use their inherent magical energy to cast spells they couldn't cast otherwise (as long as they know exactly what the watch does and how it does it). Of course, since they're toy watches imbued with magic, they can't tell time.
- Befitting a Team Fortress 2 fan-comic, Intelligence Silliness has BLU Spy extol the virtues of his wristwatch, which allows him to even kill a Strider. It includes, among other devices, a signal jammer, flashlight, surgical knife, camera, PDA, sample analyzer, corkscrew, and "Zavorgian atom spreetlegaller."
"As a side function, eet deesplays ze time."
- Tower of God: The pockets, which are universal translators, watches, timers, contract makers and telephones. Plus they float around and can turn invisible.
- For one of their friendship anniversaries, Beetlejuice gives Lydia a wristwatch - specifically, a "Droolex". It has a calendar function and performs a few other mundane tasks; however, rather unintentionally, it also sprouts bat wings and flies away.
- Ben 10's, which actually Lampshaded the fact the Omnitrix doesn't tell time. Until Ben 10: Omniverse, anyway, where Word of God confirms that it actually does tell time now.
- Clue Club's wristwatches have a pager function.
- Scrooge's nephews had one (and caused predictable chaos with it, and allowed villains to steal it, etc.) in the DuckTales episode "Time Teasers".
- Inspector Gadget's entire hand functions as a gadget watch (among other things). His niece Penny has a more standard Videophone/ Remote watch, however.
- Bob from Reboot has Glitch, which literally does anything he wants it to do, even if he doesn't know the exact tool he needs.
- Secret Squirrel has a watch that when opens up has a squirt gun that douses the fuse of the missile to which he's tied in his show's Title Sequence. Not to mention it held a television that linked him to Double Q in two other episodes.
- Parodied in Sheep in the Big City when Sheep is recruited by a spy organization and receives a watch...that can tell the date. When the enemy Mooks look at it, they scream "He has a watch that tells the date! ABORT MISSION!" and start evacuating en masse before the Angry Scientist shows up and says it isn't dangerous.
- There's a subversion on an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures: Plucky is showing off all his Immature Radioactive Samurai Slugs merchandise, including a "Two-Way Wrist Slug".
Hamton: What does it do?
Plucky: Nothing! But it only costs $29.95!
- The Amulet of Merlin used by the Trollhunters inTrollhunters bares many resemblances to a pocket watch, including the various clockwork dials in it turning when the Amulet is activated.
- Brock, Rusty, and the eponymous brothers in The Venture Bros. have watches that act as video communicators, as well as contain GPS trackers so they can find each other. Rusty's brother JJ uses a device concealed in his collar instead, pointing out that watches are impractical, since in the event of being captured, the villain will almost certainly bind your hands.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle parodied Dick Tracy's two-way radio wristwatch (when it was still mainly such) with Boris having a two-way wrist television watch. When Natasha expresses surprise, Boris responds: "I'll show that Dick Tracy!"
- Real spies used at least two different models of gadget watches: one was a pretty obvious photographic camera, the other had a hidden microphone designed to be used with an external recording device. Viktor Suvorov described how during his training he used a watch with a microphone. Apparently, using it during a dinner was a mistake — all the clinking of the cutlery made the speech difficult to hear.
- There are GPS watches, cellphone watches, MP4 player watches and hidden camera watches available commercially - and unsurprisingly, they're all made in China. And they even tell time, go figure.
- Calculator watches are an earlier example.
- Jawbone has created a bracelet that doesn't look half bad but is also equipped with sensors that transmit your vitals to your iPod Touch or iPhone in order to help you lose weight.
- The Breitling Emergency has an emergency radio beacon built into it.
- The Pebble Smartwatch was the first smartwatch to actually succeed in the market, releasing in 2013. Its latest iteration, the Pebble Time Round actually has the size and form of a real, high-level watch while maintaining all of its features and a lower price than its competitors.
- The Samsung Galaxy Gear is meant to both Defictionalize and parody this trope. It's basically a cell phone on a watch. In fact, it is lampshaded in of the commercials. A bit of Fridge Logic kicks in as the commercial features a little-known wrist communicator from Star Trek: The Motion Picture instead of the iconic flip-top-style communicator. Why? Because the classic communicator design has been so thoroughly defictionalized that it's already (in the era of smartphones) become outdated. (Also of course because wrist-mounted communication is the whole point of the exercise.)