Pocket Watch Full of Miracles

First aired: 11/10/90

Written by: Doug Molitor

Regular characters: Bill, Ted, Rufus, Missy-Mom, Mr. Preston

Historical figures (& those they're based on): John Henry (a la Mohammed Ali), Hannibal (General Bull), Queen Victoria

Time periods:

  • San Francisco - 1956 (beatnik scene)
  • Big Bend, West Virginia - 1877
  • Swiss Alps - 218 B.C.
  • London, England - 1876
Notable events:
  • Bet boss man for watch on John Henry's race with rail laying machine
  • Helped Hannibal get his elephants through the Alps
  • Inadvertently introduced chocolate to the Swiss & inspired skiing
  • Helped crown Queen Victoria the Empress of India
  • Beefeaters outfits
Bill & Ted definitions:
    B.C. - "Before clocks"
Of note:
  • The rule is established in this episode that Bill & Ted cannot go back into their own time period, and this is maintained throughout rest of series.


Bill is sleeping soundly on a Saturday morning when Missy wakes him up, asking him to go buy a present for Mr. Preston's surprise birthday party.  She had found an antique pocket watch just like the one Mr. Preston always talked about losing as a child.  Instead Bill rehearses with Ted in the garage, and when they blow an amp they decide to use the money to buy themselves a new amplifier, thinking they can simply go back in time and get the watch before Bill's dad loses it instead.  However in the excitement of getting a new amp, they forget to get the watch.  Unable to find a listing for Bill's dad, they call the Circuits of Time operator and get Rufus, who is working the switchboard.  Rufus explains they are not allowed to go back into their own pasts for fear they might accidentally mess something up.  Instead Ted calls Bill's dad and pretends he's a contest representative and says Mr. Preston will win a bevy of fabulous prizes if he can remember his phone number from when he was ten.  Having what might be the number, they dial back to San Francisco, 1956, landing on the cable car tracks.  They mistake a hip kid for Bill's dad and follow him into a beatnik club, where they are scared off by the kid's mean-looking dad.  Riding the cable car back to their booth, the realize they are sitting next to Bill's dad, and when they get off the cable car a man tries to steal the kid's watch, but Bill & Ted intervene, giving the watch back to Bill's dad.  Unfortunately, he unknowingly drops it again and it rolls down a hill and gets run over by a cable car.  Bill & Ted then travel to Big Bend, West Virginia, since Bill's dad had said it was an antique railroad pocket watch.  They land on the private train of the railroad boss and find out the man owns the watch they are looking for.  Thrown off the train, they are caught by John Henry.  The boss man is introducing a new steam drill which will take over the work of his men.  John Henry offers to take on the boss man's new machine to prove that men can still work better than machines, and at Bill's urging asks for the watch if he wins.  John Henry wins the contest and is given the watch, which he then gives to Bill, but the angry boss man tries to run them down with his train and proceeds in flattening the watch once more.  Next the dudes go to Switzerland, land of watches.  There they have no luck finding a watch, but they help lure Hannibal's elephants through the pass by enticing them with a chocolate bar, which the native Swiss people start making their own chocolate.  The elephants fight over the chocolate and end up ripping the sugar sacks on each other's backs, sprinkling the countryside with a coating of sugar (people promptly take up skiing).  The dudes save Hannibal from being crushed by one of the elephants and in return he gives them his watch, but it turns out to be a sundial.  Having overheard the railroad boss as saying his watch once belonged to Queen Victoria, they head to England and land on Big Ben before dropping into her coach.  She kicks them off and they infiltrate Buckingham Palace dressed as beefeaters.  They are captured, but not before ruining the Queen's ceremonial crown.  Ted fashions a hat out of the proclamation and crowns Queen Victoria empress of India.  As a reward, she says they can have whatever they want, and Bill asks for her watch.  She agrees when Ted throws in a box of antique Swiss chocolates as well.  They hurry back to San Dimas in time to give Bill's Dad his birthday present, and Mr. Preston is amazed to find they have found the exact same watch he lost on his tenth birthday, with the inscription "Time is Money" inside.


  • If the watch got destroyed in the past, Bill's dad would have no recollection of owning it as a kid!

Fans in the U.S. can now watch this complete episode thanks to Hulu.com:  

 Continue on to the next adventure . . . .