In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode(s) Time's Arrow we learn of time travel shenanigans happening on earth in the 1800s through various artifacts discovered in an abandoned mine. One of these was a watch. We learn later that it's Samuel Clemens' watch when he winds up in the 24th century. However, when he gets back to the past he sees his watch in the mine and picks it up, thinks about it and puts it back.

Did he already get back his watch when he was in the future, or did he go on watch-less?

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    Don't worry, Samuel Clemens wasn't super rich but certainly could afford to buy a new watch just as good as the old one. Commented Jan 27, 2019 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


The implication is that the watch, which would have contained steel parts and that had been left for centuries in an unsealed cave, was rusted or decayed beyond reasonable repair and Clemens simply left it to be disposed of or kept as a curio by the crew.

Clemens notices something on a nearby table... picks up the watch from the cavern.

CLEMENS: My watch...

GEORDI: It was found in the cavern... near Data's head.
After five hundred years, I doubt that it'll work either.

Clemens puts the watch back and regards the lifeless android sadly.

CLEMENS: Mister Data... I fear I sadly misjudged you.
As I have misjudged many things.

Times Arrow, Part II - Original Screenplay

In real life, Clemens (Twain) is known to have owned multiple pocket-watches. There are several numbered among his stored personal effects on display at the Mark Twain Museum and at least two are on current display.

Two watches from the Mark Twain Museum. One is labelled "Hunting Case Watch", with the description "Presented to Samuel Clemens on December 13, 1863 by Sandy Baldwin and Theodore Winters at a mock Nevada Legislature session of journalists in Carson City, Nevada. Inscribed to "Governor Mark Twain".", and the other labelled "Christmas Watch" with the description "Given to Mark Twain December 25, 1878, by Hess & Metford Watch Company, Geneva, Switzerland.".

It might also interest you to learn that he gave his name to a shady pocket-watch mail order company that marketed a patented "Mark Twain" watch (that stopped regularly and failed to keep correct time). After the failure of this pyramid scheme, he was utterly scathing about watchmakers as a profession.

  • Why do you insist on making the source so small? It makes it difficult to read.
    – Mithical
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 8:11
  • I prefer it that way.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 8:57
  • Double freehand red circles. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
    – Longshanks
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 9:44

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