by Brian Fies An Eisner Award-nominated work in progress. Updated Tuesday and Friday. Starts HERE.
Why does he take out the watch just as she hands back the pot-de-chambre?
Impatience, I expect. Time's a'wasting.
PROCESS BREAK: Anonymous's note above prompted me to add the phrase "But you've wasted six minutes" to panel 4 above. I don't do everything anonymous commenters suggest, but this note was helpful because I had the same question myself: why does the Inventor check his watch? In my mind, he's impatient with this pointless wandering about the cavern; I also wanted him to tell the story about his father, and having Lillian ask about his fine watch seemed the way in. But the transition, which made sense in my head, came off clumsy to my friend Anon, and I agreed. I think/hope the "six minutes" comment smooths that while adding a little character touch: the Inventor is a stickler. We've seen him checking his watch before, timing things to the second. Time is always his enemy--he knows he's running out and doesn't want to waste a moment. That's a motif I can work with and build on as I go.
Yes, that little sentence makes it much clearer to me, and it does add more depth, as you said. I'm honored that I could be of some help :)