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    

Mens Vintage Timex 21j Automatic Gt Britain 1968 Excellent Working Condition.Mens Timex Expedition Tw4b04300 Watch (clean And Working Fine)Timex Andros Watch For J.crew - Submariner - NavyMens Vintage Timex Gt Britain 1969 Gold Pt Stunning Working Order And ConditionMen's Vintage Timex Water Resistant Mechanical WatchVintage Timex Camper Manual Wind 12/24 Hour Dial Military Watch W/original BandTimex Unisex Weekender Tw2p623009j Chrono Oversize Slip-thru Strap WatchTimex Men's T499059j Expedition Field Chronograph WatchWatch Lot Diesel, Fossil, Timex, Kenneth Cole, Guess Watches For * Parts *Vintage Mens 1970s Black Dial Timex Automatic WatchWatch Lot For Parts Or Repair Armitron, Bulova, Citizen, Pulsar, Seiko, Timex Watch Lot Nike, Kenneth Cole, Swiss Army, Casio, Timex * Parts *Timex Ws4 Expedition Watch Indiglo Barometer Altimeter Compass Temp New BatteryHuge Vintage & Modern Watch Lot Parts Or Repair Longines Gf Seiko Timex Waltham Mens Timex Expedition Indiglo Alarm Quartz Watch.all Works Well.7-3/4 Band5 Lady's Wristwatches, Narmi, Cartier, Da Vinci, TimexLot 30 Vintage Mens Woman's Wrist Bulova,g-shock,timex, Wristwatches Rd42Watch Lot Nike, Timex, Wenger, Kenneth Cole, Fossil, Guess * Parts *Job Lot Of Vintage Gents Timex Wristwatches Mechanical Watches Spares Or Repair Watch Lot For Parts Or Repair Geneva, Omega,timex, Seiko,guess,ambassador,tag..New Old Stock (nos) Vintage Timex Expedition Tachymeter New Battery WatchMens Vintage Timex Gt Britain 1977 Gold Pt Great Working Order And ConditionTimex Intelligent Quartz Fly-back Chronograph Wrist WatchNew Timex Expedition Scout Blue Watch Weekender2-estate Auction For Parts Fix Or Use Watches! Rolex & Timex No Reserve! Watch Lot For Parts Or Repair Armitron, Benrus, Citizen, Pulsar, Seiko, Timex Timex Expedition WatchClean Modern Men's Timex Expedition Wr 50 Indiglo Military Style Quartz WatchTimex Tide And Temp WatchWatch Lot For Parts Or Repair Armitron, Benrus, Bulova, Pulsar, Seiko, Timex Timex Tw2p751002a Waterbury Quartz Analog Silver Watch 623406 O11Watch Timex Expedition Mens. Stop Watch. Chronograph. Indiglo.Men's Vintage Timex Mechanical Watch - Serviced & CleanedTimex T49870 Men's Expedition Leather Strap Watch -- (new In Box; $60+)Watch Lot For Parts Or Repair Casio, Fossil, Gruen, Kenneth Cole, Timex, WalthamVintage Working Timex Watch Marked Waterproof Date Display & Sweeping SecondsBig Lot Of Old Wristwatch Timex Seiko Citizen Some Working Watch For Repair P2Watch Lot For Parts Or Repair Anne Klein, Fossil, Seiko, Timex, Waltham & OthersVtg Mixed Lot 13 Watch Automatic Wristwatch - Benrus, Wittnauer, Bulova, TimexTimex Vintage Military Wristwatch Orange Sweep Seconds Mod Serviced Nato StrapTimex, Men's "expedition" Black Resin Watch, Indiglo, Date Vintage Timex Silver Face & Case Mechanical Wind Up & New Leather Band WatchVintage 1960's Timex Electronic Watch [electric] WorkingRare Vintage Men's Lot Seiko 5 Citizen Crystron Timex Automatic Watch Dual TimeJapan Wancher Field Quartz Green Dial Military Men's Watch Same Feature As TimexTimex Military WatchMen's Vintage Timex "q" Water Resistant Watch W/ New BatteryVintage Men's 1970's Timex Mechanical Manual Wind Diver Wrist Watch 4u2fixMens Timex Indiglo Quartz Watch.runs Well On Time.8 Inch BandHuge Lot Of Vtg & Modern Mens & Womens Watches, Bands & Parts~timex +++Timex J.crew Jcrew Military Diver Watch Black Ionic Plated New Style $128 Bnib Timex Expedition Military Chronograph Men’s Watch T49893gp T49893Vintage 1970s Mens Watches Impex Waltham Elgin Timex Helbros Citizen Repair PartLot Of 15 Vintage Broken Timex Mechanical Wind-up For Parts & Repair WatchesWatch Lot For Parts Or Repair Benrus Bulova Citizen Elgin Pulsar Seiko Timex Vintage Timex Automatic Silver Face Mechanical Wind Up & New Leather Band WatchWatch Lot For Parts Or Repair Armitron, Bulova, Seiko, Timex Lot Of Five Watches Timex, Time Chain, Milus, Hp,Timex Expedition Men's Watch 100m Resist Japan Mvt (open Box)Gents New Old Stock 1980 Timex Ss Olympic "that Never Was" 38mm Dd Watch Sold Nr