Mickey Mouse, the beloved Disney icon, first appeared on a wristwatch in 1933, five years after his debut in Steamboat Willie. The watch, created by Ingersoll-Waterbury, was such a hit that it saved the Connecticut clock company from bankruptcy—more than 11,000 were sold at Macy’s in New York the first day it was released. It retailed for just under $3.
The watch featured Mickey Mouse in the center, his outstretched, gloved hands rotating around as the hands of the clock. Below, a small circle depicting three mini-Mickeys ticked off the seconds.
Around the same time, Ingersoll also produced a Mickey Mouse pocket watch, which retailed for $1.50, and Mickey Mouse clocks. It has been said that a Mickey Mouse watch was buried in the time capsule during the New York World’s Fair in 1939—a tribute to its influence on culture and style.
Many different styles of Mickey Mouse watches have been developed over the years, from cheap plastic novelty watches to diamond-encrusted, high-end variations. Some feature close-ups of the cartoon character’s face, while others simply state his name in text. Mickey is usually depicted alone, although some watches include his girlfriend Minnie Mouse.
Ingersoll became Timex in the 1960s and produced Mickey Mouse (and Minnie Mouse) Mod Watches with simple straps.
Some of the other notable manufacturers of Mickey Mouse watches include Seiko, Lorus, Chopard, Gérald Genta (which is now owned by Bulgari), Bradley, and Fossil.