Before getting into my thoughts, please keep this civil and refrain from needlessly trashing Ellusionist or anyone involved with the watch. I want to keep this discussion rational and civil as I am genuinely curious as to what others think of this product. Over the past week or so, there has been a lot of discussion of Ellusionist's new release, "The Stack Watch" with many people criticizing it. Personally, I don't like the product but I'll get into that later. Here are a few common criticisms I've seen: 1. It encourages laziness. Learning the stack is far more beneficial in the long run. 2. The advertising is misleading. 3. The way the watch functions makes it impractical. 4. It's exposing a well-kept secret. These arguments are rather simplistic, and I don't think they represent the majority's opinion on the product, but they were ones I wanted to address. Number 1As for #1, I agree and disagree with this statement. I personally do not think using a crib is lazy at all. Heck, Juan himself recommends using one in the book! It can be a very useful safety net for those who are not 100% confident in their ability to recall the stack. I do think memorizing the stack is more beneficial in the long run, but that takes a lot time and practice. Before one has mastered the stack, using a crib is a great way to ensure nothing goes wrong. However, this first argument about laziness has a lot of ties with the second point and how the product is being presented. Number 2 Going into point 2, these are direct quotes from the page for this product on the Ellusionist site: "THE STACK WATCH is the world's first anti-memory wearable for stack work in card magic. A covert, must-wear device for deciphering a stacked deck... Without you having to ever know stack." "You don't need to try to learn it, because the watch is there for you, exactly when you need it. It's instant, requires no work, no memory songs, no concentration and no testing. Everything you can do with mnemonica has just been made simple, because you don't have to learn it. Don't say I will. Say I don't need to." "Everything taught in Tamariz' Mnemonica or Pit Hartling's incredible book 'In Order To Amaze' is now possible to perform with the STACK WATCH." Here is where I have many of my issues with this product. I don't think whoever wrote this intended anything harmful with these statements, but I personally feel like these are very misleading. First of all, implying that you don't need to learn the stack at all to use the watch to it's full potential is outright wrong. This watch is definitely best utilized as a crib for those who are already at least a bit familiar with the stack. The way the watch functions allows you to easily locate what card lies at a named position in the stack, which is a very useful feature. However, another fundamental piece of memdeck work is knowing what position a named card lies at. As the card indices are very small, all the same color, and are very close together, I can't imagine someone with no knowledge of the stack being able to efficiently and discretely locate a card on the bezel and then find it's position. As stated before, this would be much easier for someone who has a general knowledge of the stack and knows roughly where a card is. Even Pete Turner has said this could be a valuable reminder for those with memory problems, which is a good point. Also, saying you can perform any trick in Juan's book does not seem correct to me. For the sake of argument, let's assume that someone with no knowledge of the stack is able to use this watch efficiently, one still has to justify looking at their watch twice during the trick. This may work for the trick Pete demonstrates in the live demo, but many of the tricks in Juan's book require you to be able to figure out the position or card quickly and do not really lend themselves to the watch presentation. Even Juan's suggested "Joker crib" method is limited in it's application. It can be a helpful learning tool but will not replace memorizing the deck for many tricks. Once again, I do not think Ellusionist intended anything harmful with these statements. I just think whoever wrote the ad copy did not fully think through the implications of advertising the watch in this way. Number 3I agree and disagree with this. I think if one is trying to use this as a substitute for mnemonica, it would be very impractical. As stated before, locating a card on the bezel would likely be difficult to execute if one has no knowledge of the stack. Pete has demonstrated (in the live video) that the watch can be used naturally in certain contexts if one is somewhat familiar with the stack. It will take practice, but it is possible. I don't think this watch is applicable to all stack work, but it definitely has it's place. Number 4I have only seen this argument a handful of times and I personally don't think there's much validity to this statement. First of all, Ellusionist is a site for magicians. Sure they got some mainstream attention when they released the Pyro Mini but their core market is still magicians. Despite the misleading ad copy, it seems as though the people buying the watch were previously aware of the existence of the stack. The existence of Mnemonica isn't much of a secret within the magic community. You can find study tools online for free. If one was dedicated enough to learn Mnemonica but didn't want to spend $50+ on the book, they could easily do so. I have also heard people say that laymen may see the word "Stack" on the watch and then Google "stack watch", find Ellusionist's site, and learn the secret. This was a similar criticism that some had with the initial release of the Turner Watch. I think this argument may have held some weight for the Turner Watch as the trick is entirely focused on the watch itself, the stack watch is a peripheral. If utilized properly, the focus should be on the deck and not the watch. However, lets say for the sake of example that someone did see the "Stack" on the watch, Googled it, and found the secret. Obviously this would likely be the fault of the magician for drawing too much attention to the watch, but let's say hypothetically that someone did this. They would find out about the watch and thus the Mnemonica stack. However, I don't think this is as big of a deal as it seems. A magician unintentionally exposing a well-kept secret sucks but really, the true potential of Mnemonica is still housed in the book. They do know that a magician can memorize a deck and use that for their trick. Despite this, I think many of us have had the experience of fooling someone (or even a magician) with a method they know. For laymen (and sometimes magicians) certain methods can be difficult to recognize outside of a context they're familiar with. This is especially true of memdeck work as the order of the deck will look random to someone unaware of the stack and most of the work occurs in the magician's mind. I don't think Mnemonica is going to become public knowledge with the release of this device or that it will ruin stack work for laymen.