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    

Timex Men's Expedition Scout Olive Nylon Strap Watch (new In Box; ~$60)Timex Men's T499059j Expedition Field Chronograph Black Stainless & Brown WatchTimex Men's Expedition Stainless Steel & Brown Leather Watch T44921Vintage Timex Us Military Type Lovely 24h Easy Read Mint With Stand Quartz Timex Tw2p62300 Blue-faced Tan-strapped Weekender Watch -- (new In Box; ~$80)Classic Timex Men's All Stainless Steel 50m Indiglo Analog Watch-w/date CalendarTimex Men's Expedition Scout Black Leather Strap Watch (new In Box; ~$60)5 Vintage Hand Winding Roamer Timex Lucerne Emperor Men Watches All WorkingLot Of 4 Vintage Watches Tag Heuer Timex Expedition Timex Indiglo Gold ToneTimex T45581 Intelligent Quartz E Tide Temp Compass Watch (w-225)45mm Vintage Timex Expedition Indiglo Wr 200m Quartz Men Watch Marc Ecko Men's E18500g1 Masterpiece Chronograph Watch Stainless Steel By TimexLadies 2012 Timex Expedition 50m Indiglo Calendar Quartz Watch. Quality Look New Timex Lcd Multi Function With Gps Quartz Men WatchVintage Timex 24 Hour Black Military Dial Wristwatch.23070 02475.england/france.X10 Vintage Watches Seiko/smiths/roamer/timex/kudu (not Working) Spares RepairsJob Lot Of 20 Working Vintage Timex Mens Watches. Ideal Starter Collection Timex 1970's Vintage Military WatchRare Vintage Original Timex Mickey Mouse Wdp Wind-up Watch 1968-1971 NibTimex Perpetual Calendar Indiglo WatchTimex Expedition Indiglo Sports WatchTimex T49963 Men's Expedition 'scout' Leather Strap Watch (new In Box; $40+)Timex T2h281 Men's Easy Reader Stainless Steel White Dial Black Leather Watch Job Lot Of 25 Vintage Timex Men’s Watches Spares Or Repairs - Some Are RunningTimex Mens T499059j Expedition Field Chronograph WatchTimex Men's Tw4b008009j Expedition Double Shock Watch With Black BandTimex Men's T499059j Expedition Field Chronograph Black Stainless & Brown WatchTimex Men's T499059j Expedition Field Chronograph Black Stainless & Brown WatchVintage Working Men's Timex Automatic Self Winding Wristwatch & Flexible BandVintage Watches Waltham And Timex AutomaticsTimex Men's T40011 Expedition Camper Black Fast Wrap Velcro Strap WatchMen's & Ladies Huge Watch Lot Auction 88 Timex Indiglo Pulsar Armitron TechnoVintage Mens Timex Scouting Usa Boy Scouts Mechanical Watch Red Dial Ticks! #9ggWrist Watches 2 Mens & 2 Ladies. Timex, Seconda, Omega & SmithsTimex T49921 Expedition Wr 50m Quartz Men's WatchTimex Indiglo Wr 30m Men's Quartz Wristwatch Night Light Job Lot Vintage Gents Timex Saga Wristwatches Mechanical Watches Spares RepairTimex Women's T2p298 Easy Reader Two-tone Watch With Expansion BandTimex 1976 Lovely Rare Metallic Gold Tone Dial Cool Black Hands Runs Well Ok ConGents 2002 Excellent(+) Timex Expedition Calendar 50m Quartz Watch.olive DialVintage Gents Mechanical Watches Ramona Avia Timex Ardan SekondaVintage Mans Timex Self Winding WatchAcqua Indiglo By Timex - Men's Wrist Watch, Quartz, L@@kTimex Expedition Mens Wrist WatchNice Timex Expedition Indiglo Mens 50m Analog Quartz Watch Hour~date~new BatteryVintage Timex Automatic Wrist Watch Mens 46051 03177 Works Timex Weekender ChronographVintage Rare Timex Watch Looks Like A Diver's Watch Running No ReserveVintage Timex Led WatchVintage Timex Wristwatch In Immaculate Condition. Timex Indiglo With Date Indicator Ladies WatchTimex Ladies T2p061 White Rubber Band. White Face W Multi Functions #17458Vintage Men's Analog Casual Mechanical Aluminum Timex 12 Hour Dial Water Res.Vintage Timex Mens Watch Breguet Numerals 1978 Very CleanTimex Chronograph ,indiglo UnisexTimex Automatic Watch With International Association Of Machinists & Aerospace W12 Automatic Watches Elgin Seiko Hamilton Hebros Pennard Timex Parts Repair LotTimex Originals Watch With Wooden FaceTimex Reef Gear Wrist WatchVintage Timex Nurse's Wind-up Fob Watch