Mark Twain? Albert Einstein? Lee Segall? Lee Segal? J. Millar Watt? John Peer? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: According to a clever quip it is better to have one watch instead of two. The quip has been attributed to humorist Mark Twain, physicist Albert Einstein, broadcaster Lee Segall, and others. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match known to QI appeared in “The San Diego Union” of California in September 1930 as a filler item. The creator of the quip was unnamed. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1930 September 20, The San Diego Union, (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, San Diego, California. (GenealogyBank)
Confusion—Retail jewelers assert that every man should carry two watches. But a man with one watch knows what time it is, and a man with two watches could never be sure.
The ascription remains anonymous. QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the attributions to Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and John Peer. Lee Segall probably did employ the joke by 1961, but this occurred only after the joke had been circulating for three decades.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||1930 September 20, The San Diego Union, (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 1, San Diego, California. (GenealogyBank)|