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    

Men's Superb Vintage Timex Military Date Watch Gb 1974 #25 Fwo Serviced L2Vintage Nos Timex Military Date Very Nice Red Secs Hand Very Cool In V/g/cTimex Tx Luxury Mens 730 Series Flyback Chronograph Compass Dual Time Rare WatchGent's Vintage 1950s Mechanical Black Dial Military Timex Wristwatch.Men's Awesome Vintage Timex Military Date Watch Gb 1971 #25 Fwo ServicedTimex Expedition Watch, MensMens Vintage Military Timex 24hr B Dial 1978 Stunning Working Order & ConditionLot Of 3 Vintage Military Design Mechanical Timex Wristwatches - No Reserve !Beaut.rare Timex Snoopy Vintage Watch.fab Case/great Tennis Mystery Dial 60's.Vintage Mens 1973 Timex Wind Up Watch With Date Silver Color Plastic BandGents 1977 Timex Electric Dynabeat Day Date Retro Quartz Watch.good Example.Timex T2n889 Weekender Black/gray Stripe Nylon Strap Analog Watch OverstockLot Of 23 Men/womens Watches Bulova Aquatech Timex Omega Geneva Nike Etc Vintage Ben Hogan Timex Wristwatch W/caseJoblot Of 4 Watches Timex Seiko Rotary Globa Spares Or Repairs Vintage Metal Watchband Lot 25 Watch Bands Bracelets Timex Citizen Casio Seiko Timex T2n914 Weekender Mid-size Slip-thru Berry Nylon Strap Watch OverstockMen's Awesome Vintage Timex Watch Dundee Scotland 1950's Fwo Serviced AluminiumVintage Gents Wristwatch Timex Electric Quartz With Balance Watch WorkingVintage Timex Mens Divers Style Wind Up Calendar WatchVintage Mens 1969 Timex 21 Jewels Wind Up Watch Silver Color W/ New Padded BandVintage Mens 1968 Timex Wind Up Watch Silver Color With New Padded Band Timex Women's Silvertone 3-eye Bracelet Watch Silver/silver Dial T2n972. AnalogVintage 1970s Timex Divers Watch 200ft Wind Up Scarce Needs WorkClassic Timex Men's Gold-tone Watch With Day And DateJob Lot Of Vintage Gents Timex Wristwatches Mechanical Watches Spares Or RepairStuns! V.rare Timex Snoopy Denim Vintage Watch.unworn.box/papers.the Best! '60'sMens Vintage Timex Diver Gb 1974 Mid-size Great Working Order&cond S Steel StrapTimex Expedition WatchWomens Fashion Jewelry Timex Watch W/ Sterling Silver & Turquoise Band PiecesTimex Expedition Men's Indiglo Watch - Brand New Battery - Sliver & BlackVintage Gold-tone Timex Indiglo Men's Quartz Watch/good Cond/keeps Time/wr-30m.Vintage Mens 1967 Timex Self-wind Watch Gold Color With New Padded BandTimex Mens Or Womens Classic Beams Boy Red Indiglo Dial Blue Leather WatchTimex Electric Dynabeat Wrist Watch Runs ExcellemtVintage 1970's Snoopy Timex Child's Blue Dial Watch Original Band** Men's Timex Tide And Time E-tide Thermo Watch 45601 W/thermometer/compassTimex ladies White Leather Strap Watch Rrp £84.99. Brand New Official Stockist.Mens Vintage Aluminum Timex 100 Hand Wind Wristwatch Watch WorkingMens Vintage Midsize Winding Mechanical Watch Timex 1973 #25 Fwo ServicedTimex T2m515 Automatic Chronograph Black Leather Strap Men's Watch Open HeartVintage Mens 1975 Timex Automatic Watch Silvercolor With New Leather BandTimex T49961 Men's Expedition Scout Military Indiglo Nylon Band Watch Free Ship!Lot Of Ten Watches For Parts Timex Chronograph Tissot Austin Zodiac Westclox Vintage Men's Timex Wind Up Silver Tone Watch With Flex BandTimex, Expedition, Indiglo, Date/just, Glowing Hands, Mens Watch, 590, L@@k!Vintage Timex Watch Lot Automatic Manual Wind And Electronic For Parts Or RepairVintage Timex Manual Mechanical Wind Men's Military Wristwatch Sports CamperMens Fully Working Vintage Watch Timex Gb 1960 S Fwo ServicedWatch Lot For Parts As Is Mens Ladies Seiko Casio Citizen Fossil Timex Lot 1Two Gents Vintage Timex Wrist Watches Take A LookTimex Indiglo Men's Casual Wrist Watch With Brown Leather BandVintage Water Resistant Timex Wind Up Men's Watch Working Timex T40011 Men's Expedition Camper Black Nylon Velcro Strap Watch OverstockAwesome Mens Vintage Watch Timex Gb V-conic Fwo Serviced 1968Men's Vintage Quartz Watch Timex Fully Working 1978 H CellMens Fully Working Vintage Watch Timex Gb 1976 Fwo Serviced Black DialHuge Quality Mixed Watch Lot Futura Sharp Timex Fossil Waltham 50 Pce WholesaleVintage Timex Classic Moon Phase Calendar Watch Works Great Fresh BatteryJoblot Of Mechanical Watches-accurist-sekonda-timex- And Various Others