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    

New Timex Automatic Sl Series Men's T2m9316k Watch Black Leather Strap Rose GoldMen'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/cMen's Awesome Vintage Timex Military Date Watch Gb 1971 #25 Fwo ServicedTimex Tx Luxury Mens 730 Series Flyback Chronograph Compass Dual Time Rare WatchMens Vintage Military Timex 24hr B Dial 1978 Stunning Working Order & ConditionMens Vintage Timex Diver Gb 1974 Mid-size Great Working Order&cond S Steel StrapNew Timex Intelligent Quartz Men's Watch Thermometer Tide Indicator And CompassBeaut.rare Timex Snoopy Vintage Watch.fab Case/great Tennis Mystery Dial 60's.Men's Awesome Vintage Timex Watch Dundee Scotland 1950's Fwo Serviced AluminiumGents 1977 Timex Electric Dynabeat Day Date Retro Quartz Watch.good Example.Timex Indiglo High Tide Temp Compass Stainless Men's Sport WatchVintage Timex Divers Style Mechanical Hand Wind Orange DialStuns! V.rare Timex Snoopy Denim Vintage Best! '60'sLot Of 23 Men/womens Watches Bulova Aquatech Timex Omega Geneva Nike Etc Vintage Mens 1975 Timex Wind Up Watch Silver Color With New Padded BandJob Lot Of Vintage Gents Timex Wristwatches Mechanical Watches Spares Or RepairJoblot Of 4 Watches Timex Seiko Rotary Globa Spares Or RepairsVintage Timex Mens Divers Style Wind Up Calendar WatchVintage Gents Wristwatch Timex Electric Quartz With Balance Watch Working Timex T40011 Men's Expedition Camper Black Nylon Velcro Strap Watch OverstockBrand New! Timex T49905 Mens Expedition Leather Chronograph 100 Meter WatchVintage Gold-tone Timex Indiglo Men's Quartz Watch/good Cond/keeps Time/wr-30m.Vintage 1970's Snoopy Timex Child's Blue Dial Watch Original BandMens Vintage Midsize Winding Mechanical Watch Timex 1973 #25 Fwo ServicedX7 Vintage Watches Timex/seiko/seconda/kruger Baumen (not Working Spares RepairsClassic Timex Men's Gold-tone Watch With Day And DateTimex Mens Dress/casual Watch--silver Case/cream Dial/nylon BandTimex Weekender Slip T2n647kw Wrist Watch For MenTimex Expedition Men's Indiglo Watch - Brand New Battery - Sliver & BlackAwesome Mens Vintage Watch Timex Gb V-conic Fwo Serviced 1968*timex Tide And Time E-tide Thermo Watch 45601 Nice Strap Clean Crystal & Case*Timex Mens Or Womens Classic Beams Boy Red Indiglo Dial Blue Leather WatchRetro Mens 1988 Timex Wind Up Watch Gold Color With New Padded BandTimex Electric Dynabeat Wrist Watch Runs ExcellemtLot Of Men's Watches And Tie Clasps Estate Sale Lorus Elgin Timex Swiss ArmyTimex T49961 Men's Expedition Scout Military Indiglo Nylon Band Watch Free Ship!Mens Fully Working Vintage Watch Timex Gb 1960 S Fwo ServicedTimex Indiglo Men's Casual Wrist Watch With Brown Leather BandVintage Men's Timex Wind Up Silver Tone Watch With Flex BandTimex, Expedition, Indiglo, Date/just, Glowing Hands, Mens Watch, 590, L@@k!Timex Moon Phase Womens Watch, Date & Brown Leather WristbandVintage Black Mechanical Timex Automatic Wind Up New Leather Band WatchMen's Funky Vintage Watch Timex Gb 1971 Red Dial Barrell Shape Fwo ServicedJoblot Of Mechanical Watches-accurist-sekonda-timex- And Various OthersVintage Water Resistant Timex Wind Up Men's Watch WorkingVintage Mens 1968 Timex Wind Up Watch Gold Color WorkingTimex Expedition Ws4 Chronograph Multi Function Watch Mint ConditionTimex Expedition 200 Meter Watch20 Ladies Mechanicals.sekonda,trafalgar,timex,zenith,corteal,etc.spares,repairTimex Originals Mens Or Womens Easy Reader White Indiglo Dial Blue Leather WatchTimex Glow Wrist Watch Indiglo Wr 30m Men's Stainless Steel With LightTissot- Nicloet- Seiko-fossil- Timex Wrist Watches Most Good Need BatterysTimex Expedition Wristwatch Men's Model Wr100mMens Fully Working Vintage Watch Timex Gb 1976 Fwo Serviced Black DialVintage Lot Of 6 Timex Watches Automatic, Dynabeat, Electronic Parts ProjectsMint Timex " Expedition " Indiglo " Ladies S/s Quartz Wrist Watch Vintage Men's Timex Lot 23a-dynabeat, Automatics, Electrics, 21 J Selfwind - See - Timex Wind Up Model Mens Vintage Watch Faux Leather BandVintage Men's Timex Quartz Watch Silvertone