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Instant Wristwatch

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"You know, if I had a watch I'd be looking at my wrist really condescendingly right now."

A character glances at their watch for the time, usually during tense situations where a deadline is looming or to show the character's growing impatience.

Then the Fridge Logic hits you: Since when has this character ever worn a watch? In this trope, a character will suddenly have a wristwatch or some other accessory worn merely for a single use, after which the article will be immediately forgotten. In extreme cases, the watch in question is obviously seen not on the character's person before and after its use. Although it can be justified by cleverly hiding such with long sleeves and other concealing clothing.

Sometimes sarcastically defied with a character who isn't wearing a watch looking anyway and commenting, "wrist-o-clock" or something to that effect.

Subtrope of The Law of Conservation of Detail. See also Chekhov's Gun, Schrödinger's Gun. See Sudden Anatomy for this trope applied to body parts.



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    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput:
    • In "Airport", Fat Doc looks at his watch along with Slim Doc while both are on the airplane. The watch appears out of nowhere since Fat Doc typically has nothing around his arms.
    • In "Lamput & the Elephant", while the docs are waiting for Lamput to fall into their pitfall, a watch once again spontaneously appears on Fat Doc's arm so he can check the time.

    Comic Strips 

  • Harry Potter somehow acquired a muggle wristwatch after he left the Dursleys (it's mentioned that he wished he had one as he had no way of measuring the passage of time during the long hours he was locked away in the cupboard under the stairs). It stops working when he goes diving in the lake for the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. The Weasleys later give him a pocket watch that used to belong to Molly's brother for Harry's 17th birthday.
  • Averted in Jim Butcher's Ghost Story. Dresden glances at his wrist, despite not actually wearing a watch (Harry's Walking Tech Bane status prevents him from wearing one). Another character calls him out on this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of the Batman (1966) TV series, it is revealed that Robin wears a wristwatch under his glove.

  • Given the usual absurd turn in The Goon Show:
    Seagoon: Right - run my bath.
    Moriarty: Don't be a fool - this is no time to take a bath, it's getting late.
    Seagoon: Nonsense - plenty of time - according to the hairs on my wrist it's only half past ten.
    Grytpype: (disbelief) The hairs on your wrist say half past ten?
    Seagoon: Yes.
    Grytpype: You must be mad.
    Seagoon: Why?
    Grytpype: The hairs on my wrist say eleven-thirty.
    Moriarty: I can vouchsafe for that, he set them right by the hairs on Big Ben this morning!

    Video Games 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Marsupilami sports a watch in the Raw Toonage short, "Jungle Fever", when he is checking Maurice's blood pressure.
  • Patrick does this thrice in SpongeBob SquarePants.
    • In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", he checks his watch after Squidward asks if he knows what time it is. It's actually a cruel joke by Squidward: Patrick's holding his bottle of bubble soap with the same hand the suddenly materialized watch is on, so he accidentally spills it when he turns his wrist.
    • In "Patty Hype", the watch is quite clearly drawn on his wrist (he draws a new battery for it).
    • In "New Student Starfish", he hangs a lampshade by asking, "When did I start wearing a watch?"
    • Happens often enough with SpongeBob himself, as is commented on by Doug Walker in his review of "I Was A Teenage Gary" ("If you ever see a cartoon character with a watch, you can bet they're gonna look at it!").
    • Pictured above, this is also done by a Plankton-possessed Barnacle Boy in "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob" while waiting for the "wholesome flavor" of a Krabby Patty to snap him out of it.
  • Mr. Bogus briefly wears one in the third act of the episode "Bogus Private Eye" when checking what time it is while waiting for the thief to come back.
  • Bugs Bunny will actually pull back the fur on his forearm like a sleeve to display the watch on his naked skin.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Party of One", Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy need to make a hasty exit, so Rainbow says something along the lines of, "Oh, just look at the time!" and draws a wristwatch on her front leg with a pencil.
    • Rainbow Dash also does this in "Too Many Pinkie Pies". When all of the Pinkies are challenged to seeing who can watch paint dry the longest without moving or talking, it turns out to drag on a bit longer than expected, and during one of the time skips, Rainbow looks at an actual wrist(?) watch she never had up until that point and is never seen again from then on.
    • In "The Maud Couple", upon first meeting Mudbriar and urging him to speed up, Pinkie points to a blue wristwatch that suddenly materialized on her foreleg.
    • In "The Parent Map", Sunburst checks his non-existent wristwatch on his foreleg to get out of an awkward conversation with his mother.
  • The Simpsons regularly has characters suddenly wearing accessories like watches only in scenes they'll be used, and sometimes only in the shot they're using them. The DVD commentary likes to point it out each time it happens.
  • Arthur:
    • In "D.W.'s Name Game", Walter does this in a Fantasy Sequence when D.W. sobs and blows her nose for an extended period of time, then gives the audience an Aside Glance. Walter is a deer, and not a deer-person like the other anthropomorphic animals on the show, though in D.W.'s fantasy, he can talk.
    • Arthur wears a watch in "The Perfect Brother" and "I'm a Poet" as well. And D.W. wears a watch once in "My Fair Tommy".
  • Rocko the wallaby does it at least 5 times in Rocko's Modern Life :
    • During the claw game in Carnival Knowledge episode, The claw grabs Rocko's watch and Heffer the Cow remarks "It's got your watch!"
    • In "Rocko's Happy Sack", Rocko only has 15 minutes to get grocery before the deadline.
    • In Popcorn Podium, He does not have time to get to the movies.
    • In "Commuted Sentence", Rocko goes into the traffic jam and has 20 minutes until 9 to get to his job.
    • In the Christmas special "Rocko's Modern Christmas", He checks his watch for time before Christmas Eve.
  • Heathcliff does so in the Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats episode: Heathcliff Pumps Iron.
  • Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls (1998) does so in the episode "The Powerpuff Girls Rule". When waiting for the bus at the end of his cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World.
  • Sonic has done it several times in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), and Sonic Underground. In the same vein, Sally in Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) wears a ring with a royal signet that only appeared when the plot called for it.
  • Timon from The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa did several times (Such as in Back out in the Outback).
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • Wander did it in "The Little Guy" and "The Tourist".
    • Sylvia did it in "The Stranded".
    • Even Lord Hater does in "The Good Deed".
  • Kaeloo: All four main characters suddenly get wristwatches in "Let's Play Spies" and in Episode 105.
  • At least one Gumby cartoon had Gumby check his wrist, which resulted in a watch suddenly materializing when nothing was clearly there a second ago. It was even given a sound effect when it appeared.
  • This trope shows up in The Raccoons, specifically the episodes "Picture Perfect!" and "Join the Club!".
  • Eek! The Cat does so in Lord of the Fleas.
  • Cow and Chicken:
    • Cow does this in the episode "Duck, Duck, Chicken".
    • The Red Guy also did this once; more specifically, he pulls back on his skin, showing a watch on his bare bone.
  • In the Sesame Street animated insert called Colonel Travel - U.K., Colonel Travel checks the time on his wristwatch and remarks "Goodness, Look at the time! It's four o'clock!"
  • This happens a lot in Ready Jet Go!. At any given moment, Sydney's Commander Cressida watch might randomly appear on her wrist.
  • Subverted on Camp Lazlo: While Raj and Clam are waiting for Lazlo to resurface from snorkeling, Raj questions how long has he been under. Clam looks at his wrist, which has nothing on it, and remarks "Don't have watch".
  • Middlemost Post: When Parker challenges Angus to hug him for 30 seconds, he instantly gets a watch on his wrist when it wasn't there before.
  • Let's Go Luna!: In "Didgeridoo and Carmen Too", Luna gets a watch on her wrist at one point, when it wasn't there before.