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 Timex 1977 Military 12/24 Hour Dial Lovely Rare Find Working Well Vgc New With Tags Timex Weekender Chrono Oversized Leather Blue Dial 2 Extra BandsJ Crew X Timex Andros Dive WatchVintage 1981 Timex 24hr Military Style Black Calendar Watch - British Made & FwoTimex X Red Wing Waterbury Limited Edition 42 Mm Chronograph WatchJob Lot Mens Watches. Seiko, Pulsar, Titus, Timex, Oris, Cyryn, Pioneer, AccurexWatch Joblot. Armani, Nixon, Timex & More. 25 Mens/ladies Watches. No ReserveGents Vintage 1980s Timex Mechanical Red Dot Calendar Wrist Watch. Rare. Vgc+Timex Tw4b04200 Men's Expedition Scout Chronograph Watch -- (new In Box; $65+)Vintage Gents Wristwatch Military Style Timex Mechanical Watch WorkingVintage 1970s Gents Timex Grand Prix Chequered Flag Watch (t174)Wristwatch Man Timex Field Chrono T49938 Leather Chronograph Green Black #2461Timex Automatic 1973 Tv Case Ufo Lovely Rare Find Dial Day Date Chunky Watch VgcGents Vintage 2009 Mint Timex Quartz Day Date 24hr Indiglo Railroad Watch.rare.Good Vintage Gents Timex Divers WristwatchTimex T2m453 Classic Indiglo Perpetual Calendar Men's WatchGents C2012 Mint Timex Quartz Calendar 50m Indiglo Watch.s/s. Smart DesignJob Lot Of Men's / Ladies Watches Bulova Timex - Vintage CollectableTimex Expedition Rugged Field Chronograph T499059j Wrist Watch For MenTimex Expedition Rugged Field Chronograph T499059j Wrist Watch For MenX3 Automatic Mens Watch Timex Astral Mondaine Day Date Function WorkingVintage Ladies Watch Lot Hamilton Elgin Caravelle Timex With Org. Boxes Look!! Men's Vintage Timex Water Resistant Led Watch W/ New Batteries - 70's EraVintage Timex Watch Lot, Sold As Is. From A Collection, See Photos. Lot 35 Lot Of 10 Men's Vintage Quartz Watches Casio Citizen Seiko Timex Qq PulsarVintage Timex Mechanical Mens Watch Timex Tw2p81700 Unisex Activity Tracker Quartz Analog Black Watch 406345 O4Vintage Timex Gents Watch - Mechanical Fully Working .Timex Intelligent Quartz Depth And Temperature Quartz Watch, Mens Model T2n958Job Lot Of Vintage Gents Timex Wristwatches Automatic Watches Spares Or RepairTimex X Red Wing The Waterbury Chronograph BnibTimex Divers 25m 1973 Tv Case Ufo Lovely Rare Black And Red Blue Dial Blue StrapGents C2014 Mint Timex Quartz Calendar 50m Indiglo Watch.leather. Smart DesignModern S/s Mens Timex 22j Automatic Power Reserve Mechanical Watch Date Exc CondVintage Timex 1950 Antique Sport Mechanical Wind Up Men's Silver Black Wr Watch12 Vintage Watches Day Date Military Nastrix Bulova Timex Winton Westclox PartsTimex T26481 Men's Two-tone Stainless Steel Wristwatch -- (new In Box; ~$45)Timex Day/date Gents Vintage Gold Plated Watch-bargain Clearance Offer!Ladies Gorgeous Mint 2006 Timex Quartz Indiglo Wrist Watch. Stunning Dial.Timex Watch 100m Wr Analog Excellent ConditionVintage Mens Timex Watches - Lot Of Approx 25Timex T49905 Expedition Chronograph Dark Brown Tone Watch -- (new In Box; ~$60)Timex Weekender Leather Watch With Box! Indiglo Nato Leather StrapVintage Men's Quartz Timex Wristwatch: Date : Mesh Band : Still RunsTimex Indiglo Quartz Watch 24 Hour Dial On Leather Strap Working WellVintage 1984 Timex Automatic Self Winding Wrist Watch - British Made & FwoTimex Expedition Chronograph Wr 50mAwesome West German Timex Electronic W/black Dial-no Reserve Auction Starts @ $1Vintage 1970's Timex Dynabeat Gmt Dual Time Zone Men's Watch Mens Vtg Timex Atlantis 100 Near Mint .02 Cents No Rsv Free Ship Men's Modern Timex Indiglo Analog Quartz Watch With 12 And 24 Hour Dials Timex Indiglo - Men's Wrist Watch, Quartz, L@@kTimex T20041, Men's Easy Reader Brown Leather Watch, Indiglo, Day/date, T20041New Timex Women's T20433 Easy Reader Leather Watch BlackVintage 1975 Timex Automatic Day & Date Wrist Watch - British Made & FwoVintage Timex Nurses Fob Watch . Boxed. 35mmVery Nice Automatic Timex Circa 1960 Keeps Great Time - Extra VintageyTimex Expedition Indiglo Mens Watch Date Water Resistant Leather Band Wr 50 MtGents Vintage Accurist 21 Jewel Wind Up Watch In Timex Case - Running Two Vintage Art Deco Timex And Sekonda Hand-wind Men's Wrist Watch Bargain