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    

4 Mens Wristwatches - Rennett, Timex, Omega & WinderrtTimex Mens Aviator Intelligent Quartz Fly Back Chronograph Ss Black Watch New!Men’s Vintage 1977 Timex Self-wind Automatic 24 Hour Military Style DialTimex T499059j Men's Brown Leather Band Expedition Field Chronograph Watch 42mmMens Vintage Timex (diver Type ) Watch (running) Wr 100 Ft Vintage Military Timex Diver Date All Black 40mm Great Working Order&conditionTimex Red Led Vintage 70's Electronic Big Gold Plated Retro Collectible Rare VtgMixed Watch Joblot. Pulsar, Timex, Lorus, Casio & More. Selection Of 25 Watches.Timex Mens Luxury Open Heart Power Reserve Automatic White Stainless Steel WatchVintage Mens Timex Military Watch Mechanical 24 Hour W/green Fabric Band Runs ExVintage Divers Watch Timex 25 Meters Spare Or Repairs Timex Men's T2n720 Intelligent Quartz Compass Tide Temperature Silver Case B...Timex Weekender Slip Thru Strap Watch Unisex Olive Green NewJob Lot Mens Watches. Citizen, Timex, Altus, Alba, Piratron, Sheffield, AerotimeTimex Men's Intelligent Quartz Premium Altimeter Watch - Barometer T2n728, NewTimex Expedition T49961Lot Ag: Large Lot Of Mens Timex Battery Quartz Watches - UntestedVintage Timex 24 Hour Military Manual Windup Watch Green Strap Vietnam Era Works Mens Vtg Timex Melody Atlantis 100 White Lite Mint .02 Nr Free Ship Timex T2p1359j Men's Elevated Classics Blk Sunray Dial Expansion Band Watch 40mmTimex Expedition Mens Watchindiglo Wr 50 Metersnm 08Timex Expedition Ws4 WristwatchVintage 1953 Timex Watch Ben Hogan Golfer For Parts Or RepairUseful Timex " Expedition " Indiglo " Gents Military Styled Quartz Wrist Watch Timex Expedition T49831Timex T5j151 Women's 1440 Sports Pink Resin Watch Indiglo Alarm 50m Wr Mint CndVintage Timex Red Led Gents Watch For Repair (d41)Timex Men's Expedition Indiglo With Date WatchTimex For J.crew Andros Navy Nylon 18mm Strap 100m Diving Resistant 38mm WatchTimex Men's Indiglo Blue Silvertone Steel Stretch Expansion Band Watch T20031Timex Men's T2h291 Easy Read Leather Band Indiglo Light Analog Date Watch MintMens Timex Q Date Gold Plated Original Strap New Battery Full Working OrderLot 5 As Is Mens Wrist Watches Timex , Liberty , Oris , ChronographVintage Divers Watch Timex Spare Or Repairs Original Vintage Disney Timex Bradley Ingersoll Mickey Mouse Watch Lot Of 5 L7Vintage Timex 30 Meters Water Resistant Day & Date Divers Wristwatch WorkingName Brand Watch Lot For Parts Or Repair - Casio, Citizen, Timex, Fossil, ElginVintage Timex Electric Mickey Mouse Men's Watch Running Lot#not-40Vintage Timex Blue Face Mechanical Wind Up & New Blue Leather Band WatchTimex T49631 Men's "expedition" Brown Leather Band Watch Indiglo Light Date Timex Indiglo - Vintage Men's Wrist Watch, Quartz, L@@kTimex Indiglo Wr 30m Mens With Date Water Resistant, Works!Solid Men's Timex Gold Tone Indiglo Analog Watch Day And Date FeatureVintage Military Type Watch Timex Made In Gt Britain , Spare Or RepairsBrand New! Timex T49905 Mens Expedition Leather Chronograph 100 Meter WatchVintage Timex Black Pvd Case Mid-size Dive WatchVintage Timex Mercury 1959 Gents Watch Manual MovementMen's Timex Expedition Indiglo 50m Wr Silver-t Quartz Watch W/ Date And Wr BandMens Vintage Timex Gt Britain 1969 Date Gp Lovely Working Order And ConditionMens Timex Expedition Ana Digi Indiglo Date Analog Quartz Watch Vintage Timex Automatic Gold & Stripe Face Mechanical Wind Up & New Band WatchWomens Vintage Timex Mickey Mouse Watch (wdp) Lot (wind-up)-(red Leather)-rare Women's Timex Expedition Indiglo WatchTimex Women’s Casual Silver Dial Dark Blue Crocodile Pattern Leather Band WatchMen's Watch Timex Quartz With Date Interesting Dial Big 1970's Case Design Ladies Retro Led Display Timex 550 Wristwatch - Working & Rare!!Timex Great Britain Automatic Divers Watch Beautiful! Runs Great!! 1970'sVintage Mens Timex Electric Wristwatch Back Set Fully Working ?gold PlatedVintage Timex Electric Dynabeat White Face New Battery & New Leather Band WatchVintage Timex Silver Face & Date Mechanical Wind Up & New Leather Band Watch