Every magician has a drawer, shelf, closet or even room full of magic tricks that he purchased with the highest expectations, but for whatever reason, never made it into his act. In this regular feature, I discuss the effects that I bought and now sit on a shelf. This week, I discuss the Watch & Wear wristwatch.
Unlike most magicians I know, I tend to carry a lot of material when performing strolling magic. With all of my pockets filled with props, I often joke that Im a walking hardware store. With a serious shortage of free pockets, I was intrigued with the Watch & Wear mentalism effect from Bazar De Magia.
In the basic, out-of-the-box effect, the magician takes off and sets her Watch & Wear wristwatch in front of a spectator to make a prediction (the spectator does not know the time the magician has set). The spectator is then asked to name a time of the day. When the magician turns the watch around, it is set to the time that the spectator named.
According to the ad, you can use the gimmicked watch as a real, everyday watch to keep time. Since I wear a watch at all my events, this sounded like a decent effect that I could add to my repertoire and would not need a pocket to hold it.
When my Watch & Wear wristwatch arrived in the mail, it was dead. It couldnt perform the effect and wouldnt even run. I give lots of credit to Hank Lee, who sold me the effect and immediately had me send back the defective watch and sent me a new one that he had personally tested.
With a working watch in hand, I built-up my presentation and began testing it as middle material in my walkaround sets. The effect garnered adequate responses, but nowhere near the reactions that Im accustomed to receiving from my other effects.
What you dont know until you purchase the effect is that the watch can be used as your everyday watch, but after you perform the effect, you have to manually set the watch back to the correct time. As a result, to entertain with the effect I had to carry a second watch to know what time it was. To ask around for the time was not an option. Picture the absurdity of a magician who correctly predicted the time that a spectator would name and now has to ask around for the real time.
While Watch & Wear may be a killer effect in some hands, it was only a mediocre one for me. I periodically performed the trick when some new inspiration or presentation came to me. But just after the warranty period passed, the watch stopped working as a magic trick and could only function as an ordinary wristwatch. As a result, I wear an expensive $200 watch that looks like a $30 one on my wrist.
While my Watch & Wear wristwatch is not actually in my junk drawer, its an effect that I dont (and cant) perform. I guess that I should consider myself lucky that I was able to salvage some value from the trick. After all, an overpriced timepiece is better than nothing. But would I recommend the effect to others? You dont have to be a mentalist to figure this one out.
-Wayne N. Kawamoto