The first Timex model wristwatch was released in 1950 by the U.S. Time Company. Building on years of military-equipment manufacturing during World War II, Timex distinguished itself by emphasizing the indestructible quality of its products. The watch that “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” was shown in advertisements strapped to Mickey Mantle’s bat, frozen in ice cube trays, or wrapped around a live lobster’s claw.

Formerly part of Ingersoll Watch & Waterbury Clock, U.S. Time was responsible for the first Mickey Mouse themed watch, and achieved great success through product endorsements. Durability was also a big selling point. Television audiences watched as newscaster John Cameron Swayze hosted “live” torture-test commercials, in which Timex watches were attached to boat propellers or sent flying over the Grand Coulee Dam.

As the company expanded its sales network, Timex sold its products in places like pharmacies and hardware stores instead of conventional jewelry shops. The company’s low prices (high-priced wristwatches would not have sold well in corner drug stores) and advertising blitz paid off, and by the end of the 1950s, one in every three watches sold in America was a Timex.

In 1954, Timex released the popular Ben Hogan model, a shock-resistant, waterproof, and dustproof watch “born out of 100,000 golf swings.” At $25, or nearly double the price of Timex’s standard Marlin model, the Hogan watch was still a great seller for the company, and forged the way for future marketing partnerships.

Timex’s first ladies wristwatch, the Cavatina, was released in 1959. The model came in a variety of styles, and was inexpensive enough that Timex claimed a woman could have a different Cavatina for every occasion for the price of a single ordinary wristwatch.

In the 1970s, in response to competition from Texas Instruments and others, Timex introduced a number of digital watches. By the mid-1980s, Timex was developing digital watches for high-endurance racers, and by 1986, the Timex Ironman debuted. This watch was later acquired for the permanent collection of the Smithsonian, but fashion enthusiasts were irked when an Ironman was worn by President Clinton, with a tuxedo, no less, at his first Inaugural Ball.

In 1994, Timex released the Data Link watch series in conjunction with Microsoft. Ahead of its time, the watch featured wireless transfer technology to sync data with a personal ...

Timex recently updated a classic military-style wristwatch in partnership with clothing retailer J.Crew. The watch featured a stainless-steel case with distressed face markings and a solid or single-striped nylon watchband. In contrast with Timex’s past successes, this model was notable for its fashionably pared-down appearance, rather than its exciting new technological features.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Mens Watches Lot Hamilton Helbros Timex Gruen Heritage Bulova Lot#mx51977 Timex Snoopy Tennis Mechanical Watch Original Denim Strap, British Made FwoVintage Timex Black Max Mechanical Gents Watch 1979 Based On Orfina PorscheTimex Vintage Rally Divers-st Steel Rally Type Bracelet-in F.w.o-good TimekeeperVintage 1975 Timex F1 / Rally Type Mechanical Calendar Watch - British Made, FwoVintage Watches Lot Seiko Bulova Accutron Timex Hamilton Gruen Caravelle Lot#mx4Mix Lot 3 Timex Invicta G Shock Mens Luxury Sport Watches For Parts 306956 N5Vintage 1974 Timex Automatic Calendar Wrist Watch - British Made & FwoGents Vintage Timex Quartz 30 Min Chrono Calendar Indiglo Triple Sub Dial WatchVintage Timex Black Max Mechanical WatchVintage Black Dial Military Looking Timex Watch 24 Hour Dial In Working Order Timex Tw2p71300 Blue Tone Weekender Chronograph Watch -- (new In Box; ~$70)Vintage Mens Watches Lot Elgin Helbros Bulova Timex Wyler Incaflex Buren Lot#mx2Lot Of 17 Vintage Timex Mechanical Wristwatches For Parts, Repair Or CraftsMixed Non-working Watches & Watch Parts Lot, Approx. 11 Lbs, Timex Rolex FossilVintage Ladies Womens Quartz Watch Lot Citizen Tag Heuer Timex Austin Small DialHuge Lot Of 114 Watches Cartier, Bulova, Timex, Etc. (disney, Ferrari, Vintage)Gents Vintage Timex Sprite Watch - Excellent / Near MintVintage Mens Watches Lot Ingersoll Caravelle Kelton Westclox Timex Lot#mx8Timex Men's Chronograph T49823 "expedition Military" Stainless Steel WatchLot Of 4 Non Working Men's Watches Suunto Vector Merona Timex And CasioLot Of 15+ Vintage Timex Mechanical Wristwatches For Parts, Repair Or CraftsOld/vintage Watches Lanco Rotary Timex Etc Joblot Spares/repairVintage 23 J Bulova & 21j Timex Self Winding Wristwatch Free Ship Old Men'sCollection Of 20 Watches For Spare Or Repair,sekonda, Timex, Technos,etc.Vintage Timex Sport Elegant Date Moon Phase Quartz Women's Golden Dress Wr WatchTimex Mens Luxury Open Heart Power Reserve Automatic Ss Rare White Watch New!Timex Men's Reef Gear 200m Dive Watch Indiglo T53751 Timex T49870 Men's Expedition Leather Strap Watch -- (new On Stand; $60+)Timex 200m Reefgear Watch And Casio 100m Thermometer WatchVintage Timex Watch /*men's Silver Tone Manual Wind-up With DateJcrew Timex 1600Vintage Ladies’ Timex Moon Phase Gold Tone White Leather Band Woman’s Timex Expedition Men's Watch With IndigloVintage Gts Timex Watch. Rare Camouflage Dial. Runs. Original Strap. 2-tone BlueTimex T26481 Men's Two-tone Stainless Steel Wristwatch -- (new In Box; ~$45)Timex 2m935 Men's Two-tone Champagne Dial Dress Watch -- (new In Box; ~$45)Timex Women Ladies' Expedition Indiglo Brown Watch Nr$1 Free Ship!Six Vintage Wristwatches - Swiss Emperor, Cimier, Timex, Everite, Helsa, CortealMixed Lot Of 3 Akribos Redline Timex Luxury Mens Watches For Parts 306961 N5Lot Of Watches For Junk Crafts Repair Parts Wear Timex Frog Wenger Lorus Seiko(gents Timex Indiglo Watch T2h291 Date Working Gold PlatedTimex Black/ Croc Leather Band Automatic Multi Function Day/date Watch-t2n292)gents Timex Indiglo Watch T2h291 Date Working Gold PlatedLot Of 8 Working Men's Wristwatches ~ Automatic & Battery ~timex, Natl Geo, MoreVintage Timex Military Style 1972 24 Hour Date Watch Fully Working No ReserveVintage Timex Expedition Indiglo Date Sport Military Dial Quartz Men's Wr WatchLot Of Timex Sport Watches - Iron Man, Reef Gear, EtcGold Plated - Timex Indiglo Brown Woven Leather Band 51.3g - Watch (mens) Bf7302Mens Vintage Timex Electric Wrist Watch Timex Quartz Atlantis 100 WristwatchTimex Men's T77511 Expedition 100 Black Resin Strap WatchMen,s Timex Electric Dynabeat Watch3 Vintage Timex Divers Watch Movements Non WorkingVintage Timex Gents Watch Leather Strap Good Working ConditionStainless Steel - Timex Gold Accent Chronograph 152g - Watch (mens) Bf8442Stainless Steel - Timex Indiglo Gold Plate Band 54.1g - Watch (mens) Bf7272Lot Of 100+ Wrist Watches 10 Lbs Elgin Timex Lorus Fossil Benrus BulovaVintage Timex (moonphase) Watch. Runs Great. In Good Shape. Timex Delux Indiglo Watch 2004 Gold Tone Flex Band, New Battery Great!!