SEB Mailbag: Just an observation about the Teslar Watch edition.

This edition of the mailbag references an entry from way back in the archives – some 7 years ago – in which I wrote about the Teslar Watch which is an overpriced timepiece that supposedly has health benefits. Back in the day the claim was that it would protect you from harmful “electronic pollution” such as the sort emitted by your cell phones.  These days the claims are that it’ll help you sleep better.

Over the years there have been a few people who have stepped up to defend the watch – I suspect they were all involved in selling the watch to some degree – and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from anyone about it. Well the long dry drought of inanity is over as I present you the following missive from one Ron St. John:

From: Ron and Norma St. John

Subject: Teslar Watch

Les,

This is just an observation.

Firstly, I want for you to know that I don’t have a dog in this fight regarding your comments about the Teslar Watch.  I have nothing to do with the makers, distributors and I don’t own one.  I was looking into them, myself, when I came across your article on the web.

Secondly, my education is in nuclear engineering.  So I have a pretty good understanding of nano-technology and the effects of various frequencies that move at the speed of light, such as radio frequencies, alpha particles, radiation, microwaves, ultraviolet, infrared, and the many other names that are given for such energy.  I also understand electrical fields and how they can effect various frequencies of energy.

Such as:  Did you know that the electrical field that surrounds the Earth actually protects the Earth from various harmful radiation frequencies that come from our own Sun?  Yep, it’s not news.  This is true.

I can tell that you are very heart-felt about your opinion regarding the Teslar Watch and I can appreciate your well meaning comments and your desire to exercise good-will toward mankind.  I want for you to have my opinion so that you can decide for yourself if you may be mistaken in your assessment of the Teslar Watch.

So, here is my opinion:

The Teslar Watch does advertize that it uses a battery and a coil to create an electric field which collapses a certain range of energy frequencies.

The Teslar Watch does not advertize that it emits any sort of frequency, as you have stated.

The Teslar Watch does not advertize that it neutralizes electromagnetic fields, as you have stated.

Now, I have not analyzed this watch to see for myself exactly what function that it does perform.  I only want for you to know that your website accuses the Teslar Watch of doing exactly the opposite of what it advertizes itself to do.

It is my suggestion to you that you make an opportunity, soon, to apologize to Philip Stein for the apparent (well intentioned) but misplaced things that you have said about his product.

And Les, a lesson that I learned in life from my grandfather, also an engineer (I want to be careful that I don’t offend you when I say this) (Well, I didn’t say it, my grandfather did) (I am simply sharing granddaddy’s words with you)  “Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.”

So, Les, take care of yourself.  For your sake and for the sake of ‘TRUTH’ I hope that you will reconsider the continuation of your derogatory statements on the web.  Very respectfully, I feel embarrassed for you.

Very kind regards,
Ron St. John

I think this has got to be one of the more polite messages of this sort I’ve ever received. Though it follows a common pattern such as the claiming of having knowledge which I do not. In terms of actually laying out any reasons as to why I should give up my skepticism of the watch, however, it’s a tad bit lacking.

I’ll post my reply after the jump.

Here is the reply I sent back:

Ron,

I always love it when emails start with sentences like “this is just an observation” as it’s usually a prelude to more amusing things to come. After reading your email I am very amused indeed. You are quite the master of the big buzzword.

OK, let’s see what you’ve got to offer. Hmmmm, you claim not to have a dog in this fight and yet you felt compelled to respond. Obviously something bothered you enough to send an email. Ooo, your education is in Nuclear Engineering which somehow also includes nanotechnology even though the two fields aren’t really related. You list off a number of different types of radiation and you speak of frequencies as though they were a something other than a number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. You make a lot of claims about your background here and yet you provide no means of verifying that background. In short, I am to just take your word that you’ve got a background in Nuclear Engineering (you do not claim to be a nuclear engineer) and thus have a clue what you’re talking about beyond the big buzzwords you’ve dropped.

You’ll pardon me if I remain skeptical.

Yes I did know that magnetic field surrounding the Earth protects us from harmful radiation from the Sun. I watch the Discovery Channel too and have a basic science education under my belt. Surely you can do better than this to impart upon me your more advanced knowledge of all things nuclear.

And finally we come to your attempt to persuade me that I may be wrong in my opinion about the Teslar watch. You go on to list off three statements about what the Teslar folks do and don’t advertise about said watch. You then say that you haven’t analyzed the watch yourself, but that my article about it accuses the watch of doing exactly the opposite of what it advertises itself to do. You then suggest I may want to apologize for my entry.

I have to admit that I laughed out loud at the suggestion. Here’s why: I’ve written a sum total of four entries about the Teslar watch with the first being written back in August of 2003 nearly 7 years ago. Now I have no way of knowing which one you might have stumbled upon so I reviewed all four entries and in none of them did I make any of the statements about what the watch does and doesn’t do that you list in your email. I did say that based on what I know and the info they provided on their website I thought it was all a bunch of bullshit and I did link to a Wired.com article in which people who would know better than I took on specific claims by the watchmaker.

Two things occur to me:

One is that you are supposedly much more educated about Nuclear Engineering than I am and yet you are not smart enough to consider the very likely possibility that in the past seven years the folks who make the Teslar watch might have modified their advertising copy to get around people who point out that their claims are total bullshit. You’ll note that most of the claims about health benefits on their site today are as vague as possible so as to stave off any possible lawsuits from the government. I believe these days they are claiming their watches allow people to fall asleep faster and awake more refreshed after having more vivid dreams. Sounds good, but is just vague enough to not mean anything.

The other thing is that you apparently think that your supposed education in nuclear engineering gives you some gravitas in this discussion and you also freely admit that you have not analyzed the watch in question and yet you are apparently prepared to accept the claims being made by the watchmaker. In fact you feel strongly enough about my public skepticism of this watch that you want me to apologize for being critical about it without providing any kind of an argument as to why I should accept any of the claims made about it other than you purport to know more about nuclear engineering than I do and your Grandpappy said “stupid people will accept anything as possible.” You’ll be comforted to know that I agree with your Grandpappy: Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about. What’s amusing about it is that you don’t seem to recognize that as being a good argument against accepting the claims of the Teslar watch people as opposed to for it.

Finally, the fact that you felt the need to type the word “truth” in all caps is very telling indeed. You really shouldn’t feel embarrassed for me, however. You should feel embarrassed for being such an obvious shrill for the Teslar watch. It seems every few years one of you yahoos come along and attempt to convince me that I am wrong in my opinion about the effects of the watch and you make grandiose claims about your backgrounds and what I don’t know and how I should apologize. Yet not once do you guys provide anything in the way of a logical argument as to why I should accept any of the claims by the Teslar people as being true. I don’t know that you folks work for the company, but it’s my sincere hope that you do as the thought that you are shilling because you seriously believe the claims is depressing to consider.

For the moment, consider me unimpressed with your argument and unmoved to apologize. Come back once you’ve analyzed one of the watches and let me know what you think, but you’ll have to do better than this if you want me to take you seriously.

Sincerely,

Les Jenkins

20 thoughts on “SEB Mailbag: Just an observation about the Teslar Watch edition.

  1. Earth’s magnetic field ≠ “electrical field”. Les got it right, mister Nuclear Engineering Background got it wrong.

    Magnetic lines of force do collect charged particles, however, and do have protective role. But it makes me doubt NEB knows what he’s talking about.

    As to how big of a field you could generate from a watch battery?…

  2. I thought this guy was full of shit too, well before I even read your response. It’s not Earth’s magnetic field that protects Earth from “various frequencies that move at the speed of light, such as radio frequencies, alpha particles (alpha particles are hydrogen nuclei and have mass, thus they cannot travel at the speed of light), radiation, microwaves, ultraviolet, infrared….”.

    In fact, most of those can quite easily reach the Earth’s surface. Radio waves obviously do since we have radio observatories. IR does pretty well too. What protects those things that we really don’t like from getting us is not the magnetic field, it’s the ATMOSPHERE. The magnetic field protects us from charged particles (like alpha particles). It doesn’t protect us from things without charge, like photons which the watch and this “nuclear engineer” pretend it does.

  3. Greetings all,

    I have for quite some time visited this site, but have yet to comment. I frequently enjoy Les’s posts and opinions about many topics – in most cases they tend to mirror my own which definitely helps. I followed this thread previously and quite enjoyed it. Its amazing what people will believe about anything – especially when you throw in things like magnetic fields and other physics sounding words. In this case, I simply couldn’t help but comment, since I feel I have the background to definitively say this Teslar watch and any other devices claiming health benefits due to effects of magnetic or electric fields are snake-oil bullshit. Unlike Ron here seems to have (or not have?), I actually DO have a degree in engineering physics and currently study physics at the University of Saskatchewan, and just, for completeness, here is the the website I am currently developing for my supervisor http://physics.usask.ca/~chang/homepage/. Hopefully this is convincing enough.

    That said, after a mere skim of the web, I come across an official WHO publication about the effects of static magnetic fields, of the order of 1 tesla in this report which I’m sure you already know is MASSIVE compared to the strength of any that a watch or even the magnetic field of the earth boasts. For information’s sake, here it is.

    http://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/EHC_232_Static_Fields_full_document.pdf

    The essence of my comment is then this: I cannot believe the massive ignorance of people like Ron that they would go so far as to send an email arguing for the benefits (or circularly in Ron’s case against Les’s condemning comments) of such clearly fake devices, and I hope that in the future the next troll to come across this might read this comment and seek some reliable information sources before making a fool of themselves for our amusement.

    ..Then again, if they never commented this wouldn’t nearly as funny.
    -Paul

  4. As to how big of a field you could generate from a watch battery?…

    DOF, the following link is to an urban legend monologue on a very similar question:
    http://www.darwinawards.com/legends/legends2007-01.html

    This doesn’t prove anything (and isn’t even true), but other readers have done a great job on the science; I’m just passing on some humor.

  5. Powerwagon, thanks for that report link. Not exactly a smoking gun for health effects of tiny magnetic fields.

    This is off-topic, but I looked at your website, and remembred first time I heard of spintronics in the June ’02 SciAm. I thought; “Sounds too cool, the term will be picked up by pseudoscience whackos alongside quantum widgets and crystal energy somethings or other.”

    Then a web comic proposed a brilliant solution. You might want to mark this for future reference: …theory of spacetime….

  6. JethricOne! You posted while I was writing, and reminded me of an incident from my college days. I did once rig up a prank with a 9v battery and an automotive ignition coil.

    Don’t worry, I’ve gotten my ass kicked in various Karmic payback scenarios since then…

  7. You’re obviously unfamiliar with the magnetization of the phramistam in early protozoan by electro-sexual impulses on the order of 10 to the minus 10, clearly within the range to be expected from a watch size generator. When you have learned all the ramification of the phramistam and the phlim-phlam, please return to this site and apologize for your previous ignorance.

    Thank you.

    Peace. 😉

  8. “The Teslar Watch does not advertize that it emits any sort of frequency, as you have stated.”

    Thank God. Teslar watches may be a scam, but at least they don’t emit frequencies.

  9. I occasionally have a problem with emitting frequencies, but only after burritos.

  10. Again, what I find funny about the Tesla watches is that the sort of things they’re supposed to do/affect… the military would be all on it. If you could protect people from benign fields with a watch battery, you’d naturally (in the military at least) scale them up to nuclear reactors and viola…

  11. Mr. St. John has replied to my response. I present it here for your consideration:

    I bow to you Les Jenkins,

    I can only admire you for the enormity of your arrogance. I have nothing to match it. I have nothing that will even come close. I bow to you with admiration for your ability to defend that which is indefensible. I am amazed.

    My email to you was carefully written to be a friendly gesture to someone who I do not know. You have convinced me that I don’t want to come close.

    Enjoy yourself, and your narcissism. You may be all that you have left. I don’t want to mess with something so fragile. Take care of yourself.

    I still feel embarrassed for you. I hope that you do well.

    Ron St. John

    And in case the point wasn’t obvious he included the following image to drive it home:

  12. OMG this teslar watch fuzz is still going after all these years but you treated him and his nuclear background alright les.

    how is everyone I know around here? I missed this blog.

  13. After the fake geologist a while back I think it’s worth taking anyone who claims to be an expert to task to provide credentials. Hey, and talking about fake, or misleading, credentials and blasts from the past I could point out Kent Hovind and Chuck Missler… It’s not that we don’t believe you couldn’t possibly be a nuclear engineer or born in a nuclear power plant, or even made of radiation, Ronald – it’s that people like to inflate their qualifications to lend themselves authority, and when you’re asking people to swallow something particularly insane sounding (be it a Tesla watch or Sasquatch) people just can’t afford to take the word of self-pronounced experts without verification and analysis of their pronounced expertise.

    I mean, if everything were true on the Internet just because people said it was so at some point in time I would have a truly uncomfortably large penis, and there’d be hundreds of bankrupt Nigerian princes over in Africa terrible upset at people in the rest of the world for not helping out with their money transfer woes.

  14. I mean, if everything were true on the Internet just because people said it was so at some point in time I would have a truly uncomfortably large penis, and there’d be hundreds of bankrupt Nigerian princes over in Africa terrible upset at people in the rest of the world for not helping out with their money transfer woes.

    So, that’s where I got this uncomfortably large penis from! Have to be careful how much time I spend on the internet.

    And, I personally know an educated, fairly high social woman who was taken in by a Nigerian scam. Her husband had been a general in a foreign country. I guess the higher they are, the farther they fall. Pity.

    Once again, Mein Kampf has proven correct, tell a big enough lie, tell it often enough, people will believe it. How sad.

    And I loved the image!

    Peace.

  15. Right, he doesn’t have a dog in the fight. A simple scroogle search of his email address returned one page called freedom from harassment and surveillance. the site tag line is Seeking Freedom and Justice worldwide for those targeted with organized stalking and electronic torture.

    It appears to be for people who are mentally unbalanced. Under the “what to do tab” it has a testimonial and link to….you guessed it those shitty Teslar watches. What a dick.

  16. I bought a Teslar watch when I was 25, before any of the hype, positive or negative. I liked Teslar and some of his ideas appeared sound. I’m now 40. I have worn it almost every day for those 15 years, even over night many times, until now when just the other day I accidentally left it on the stove top and it heated up until the glass popped out and I couldn’t get it back in. (Factory machine pressed glass cover maybe)…Anyway my long term experience is as follows. I am a computer technician and have worked around electricity since the late 80’s so have been ‘exposed’ to EMF’s pretty much the whole time (work days and PC time at home). I honestly cannot say that I’ve ever ‘noticed’ any positive or negative effects when either wearing or not wearing it in regards to its supposed ‘protective balancing’ effects. I like to think I would have been sensitive enough to have noticed if there were any effects, (and always kind of wanted to notice ‘something’ with the Teslar concept) because I did things like… meditate, rode my bicycle almost everywhere (and owned a car) and have eaten healthy (mainly vego) the whole time, cared about my pets and smoked a whole heap of bud (not anymore) for most of those years. Just being honest, to give a real world ‘mixed test’ (I wasn’t a hippy, it was the 90’s, I wanted to stay fit, and eat my ‘cake’ too). If I had to say anything positive about my particular watch, (Genuine branded ‘Teslar’ with the coil and battery inside, $280 in New Zealand 15 years ago), it would be that it was a very reliable, rugged and rainproof watch. The only negatives maybe were that over the last 3 years the outer metal had worn away and had exposed the junk metal underneath causing it to corrode with a little green smudge getting on my skin if I didn’t clear it away from around the outside of the stainless steel base. It was old though so that’s understandable. So, my conclusion in general…It didn’t/doesn’t do anything other than tell the time. The inside mechanics of my watch are still going, so act as a little clock stuck to the fridge now.

  17. So as fr0Git states this watch tells time. That is the only believable thing about their claims.

    The reason this is popping up again is the company seems to have a new campaign. They have registered dozens of domain names recently from the searches I have run.

    Their website shows they are not only peddling watches but more potentially more expensive dubious devices:

    “LBG Light Beam Generator: Essential tool in Lymphatic System Detoxification Therapy. Helping your body restore and maintain proper functioning of its immune system defense.”
    “ST-8 Oxigen(sic)-fed Tissue Detoxification System: The world’s first oxygen-fed tissue detoxification system that uses energy to transform pure oxygen into super-saturated oxygen.”
    “Hyperphasix: balances the body and replaces expended energy lost to the body through trauma.”
    Watches
    Bracelets
    Cosmetics

    I wonder if the cosmetics will shield you from nuclear radiation…

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