Picture courtesy of Sabella Recording Studios, New York, USA
Possibly the most advanced amplifier available in the early 60s, complete
with tremolo, tape echo, and a built-in microphone stand. The Watkins Joker included a
valve Copicat tape echo unit built into the chassis, and seems to have been intended as a self-contained guitar amp and PA system for a guitar-playing singer. Four
EL84 valves were used to produce a 25 watt output through a heavy duty 12"
speaker and a single tweater.
An early 60s amp, the Joker came with two-tone red & grey coverings and a red control panel which distinguished it from other Watkins cosmetics of the era, possibly deliberately. (There are un-confirmed sightings of all-black and black & grey models.) Although produced over three years from 1962 to 1964, it is very rare today to find working models in original condition. Perhaps the 90gns price made it un-competitive when compared to the other 25 watt amps such as the 75gns Selmer Selectortone Automatic fitted with a 15" speaker but without tape-echo or even spring-reverb.
A "magic-eye" valve on the control panel measures the tremolo speed. With no less than 17 valves inside there may have been reliability problems.
Watkins Advertisement from April 1963.