Refined robotic servants for the gentleman dandy.

Written by Ademal

A gentleman is never found without his watch.
— Walter Wyatt Whittaker
  Watches are robotic beings made by Walter Wyatt Whittaker Watchworks pre-Lacuna before the company went defunct. They come in all shapes, sizes, and functionalities, and have varying degrees of intelligence and Sophonce.   What makes Watches unique from other Infomorphs and Robots is that they possess a soul from the moment of their creation. The nature and strength of this soul is as variable as anything else about them—some seem to have a soul as more as a useless token while some boast a command of metaphysics and emotion on-par with flesh-and-blood Sophont.


What began as a bit of playful humor and advertising promoted by Walter Wyatt Whittaker Watchworks over time grew into a bona-fide superstition over the ages. There is a belief any expedition with a Watch present will be fruitful by at least one measure, and so superstitious Victoriani are rarely found without one when they leave their world, even if it means dropping a massive sum to rent someone else's.

Supply and Demand


The specifics of how Walter Wyatt Whittaker was capable of producing his high-grade Watches is one which remains a mystery even to this day. Archive probing into the matters suggest that perhaps Walter had access to misunderstood metaphysical tricks or, perhaps, to some sort of Affinity which allowed him to bring life to his creations.   As such, no new Watches have entered circulation since his death.


High-Grade Watches are the holy grail for robot hobbyists from all corners Ethnis. The most coveted are the ones which Walter personally attended to—robotic manservants with inhuman reflexes, an arsenal to protect their master with, a full range of turing-complete conversational interactions, and all the knowhow a gentleman should have.



Quigley are the most common model of Watch. They fit easily on one's person, and are capable of handling many number of operations any gentleman might require, such as (but most certainly not limited to, oh no): ironing, rolling smokes, lighting smokes, mixing, brewing, and pouring drinks, take dictation, reciting poetry, recitation of fact and trivia on all brands of (worthwhile) drink, and hologram projection.


Grimsby are the second most common model of Watch. They stand around 6ft. tall, which makes for easy outfitting, and offer a suite of activities akin to Quigley models, but more robust. On top of Quigley's suite, Grimsby can tailor clothes, cook, clean, do card tricks, tend to children and animals, and carry conversation with a dry wit. They are also accomplished coiffeurs.


Steadfast are an increasingly rare model of Watch. Only 200,000 were made, and of those made half were shipped to various planets lost by the Lacuna, half of the remaining were lost in The Directoriate vs. Walter Wyatt Whittaker, and most of the rest remain serving Victoriana.   Steadfast models were built for combat. They are modified Grimsby units, stand around 7ft. tall, and are outfitted with a number of hidden weapons and defenses that make them horrifying in a fight.


How were the Watches made?
Did Walter have access to an Affinity, did he figure out how to program a mind or engineer a body which could properly house and grow a soul?
How many Watches remain?
Thousands remain on Victoriana itself, but countless more were sold to buyers all over Ethnis before the Lacuna hit. How many of them survived to modern times? How has that experience changed them?
How do Watches survive so long?
Most other mechanical minds (and even most biological ones) cannot survive the ravages of time without losing their mind. How are Watches still so lucid and sane after so many years?

Article Navigation

Genetic Descendants
Sophonce Classification
Sapient or Sophont, depending on model. Quigley models are Sapient, but Grimsby and Steadfast models are Sophont.

Tech Info

Walter Wyatt Whittaker
Tech Clade
Mecha and Meta.

Their mechanisms are Mecha in nature but they possess an internal meta core, a heart, which contains their Soul.
Rare. There are an estimated 50'000 Watches in circulation, over 66% of which are on Victoriana.

The process to create a Watch is uncertain, though rumors persist of rare sellers who have figured out how to recreate the Watches and are making their own. Information like that is kept quiet, however, as in most Banners the creation of Informorphic life is outlawed by civil rights except under certain circumstances.
20cm to 3m


Common backstories, ordered by frequency.
For one reason or another you are attached to another member of the party. You serve and protect your charge diligently, perhaps as bodyguard, butler, maid, or protector, and will continue to do so until your charge is released or you become unfit to operate any longer.
Free of Victoriana
You have served Victoriana since before the Melancholic Lacuna, but you are finally free, free to be your own being, to explore the stars and to find your place among them.
Left Behind
Some prosperous patron acquired you from the Watchworks before the Melancholic Lacuna, and so you were left stranded on whatever world they took you to. They may still be alive, but that's a doubtful prospect. More likely you wandered that world alone, at the mercy of the laws and biases of your world.

Cover image: Grimsby by Ademal


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5 Jul, 2018 15:49

I like how there is a mystery on how these are produced, might be a good myth article!

Check out my worldbuilding in the Ethnis Universe!
5 Jul, 2018 15:57

I like that art you... Didn't use. /shrug   Very good information, will take that into account with future Quigley art.

Now working on
The Hylian Fantasy
5 Jul, 2018 16:27

Don't worry! I want to add that to Quigley's article still I just didn't have time to make it look like it was in Crow's journal. :D

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5 Jul, 2018 17:19

That's a really interesting mystery these guys have! I wish there were a couple examples of what some look like, even if they come in all varieties. Watches sound like they would look pretty cool!

5 Jul, 2018 19:57

I'll put some up when I can!

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

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5 Jul, 2018 18:05

I like their background and place in society! Though I'm having trouble picturing them as anything other than literal watches, but a quick description of common appearances would really help there

5 Jul, 2018 18:15

Oooh good point! Heath up there illustrated one so I'll put it up, but they're basically humanoid-ish little robots. They're as much a watch as your Smartphone is a rotary phone, but they retain the name for a similar reason.   Plus it helps with their steampunk aesthetic!

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15 Jul, 2018 17:19

It's a really interesting concept and the article's perfectly sized; the side panels and main text is really impeccably lined up. I'm struggling to think of some feedback that isn't just nitpicking.   Do they have free will? They have a soul, which I guess leads to some interesting interactions with other elements of the setting?

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
15 Jul, 2018 17:22

I'll better describe it here at some point (I am writing the article on Souls now, actually) but yeah, the implications of having a Soul are huge because they allow you to use magic and they are generally the bar within Ethnis for "oh, this creature is a free-thinking being with free will" so it's a big deal that they have one.   I'm glad you enjoyed!

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15 Jul, 2018 17:26

That makes their legal situation and servitude interesting and complicated, to be sure. Which I'm sure will lead to many awesome plots and sidebits. :)

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
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