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 Expedition Camouflage Ws4 Watch Altimeter Barometer Thermometer CompassVintage Timex Woodstock & Snoopy From 1976 Feature A Dancing Snoopy In V/g/cTimex Men's Watch T49904 Expedition Rugged Field Chronograph Black DialTimex Weekender Watch Nato Straps Lot Of Timex Wrist Watches ~ Expedition Reef Gear Alarm ~ All Working ConditionVintage Timex 1980 Date Sport Diver Black Manual Mechanical Wind Up Men's Watch1963 Mens Timex Vintage Stainless Steel Vicount Viscount Watch Model 4017 Rare!!Timex Mens Expedition Military Time Water Shock Resist 100m Watch Date IndigloTimex 100 Ft Diving Chronograph Watch Expedition 30 MNicer Lot Of Mens Timex Mechanical Quartz Chrono Tide Compass Lot#92Gorgeous Gents Timex Indiglo Quartz Watch,white Dial & Bold Black Hands/markers.Vintage / Retro 1970s Timex Indiglo Calendar Quartz Watch In Working Order3/4 Gents Vintage 1971 Timex 21 Jewel Calendar Watch. Gold Plate. Ex/cond Timex T-series Automatic Men's Watch With Black Leather Strap Vintage Watch Lot Fossil Timex Indiglo Citizen Machine Swatch Swiss Ecko All RunVintage To Now Watch Lot~benrus, Waltham, Timex, More! 3-4 LbsMens Vintage Timex Stainless Steel Waterproof Watch Vintage Timex Wind-up Men's WatchVintage Mens Aegis Indilgo By Timex Watch Tachymeter Silver Blue Gold St SteelTimex 1854 Perpetual Calendar Wr100 Indiglo Men's Watch - T2m455 Timex Jcrew Field WatchTimex Expedition Chronograph Watch1970`s 24 Hour Black Dial Mechanical Timex Wristwatch, Investment Timepiece, N/rLot Of 7 Vintage Men's Wrist Watches - Seiko Timex Wenger Guess Pulsar + MoreUnion Flag Timex Indiglo Watch Brand New In Box Lot Of Vintage Watches & Bands Seiko Timex Camper Reef Gear Stuart Military Mens Rare Timex Titanium Militaryblack Dial .99 Cents No RsvLot Ladies Timex Indiglo Classic Easy Reader Wrist Watches All Working ConditionVintage Timex Manual Wind Day & Date Mens Wrist Watch. Works Great, Super Clean!Timex Men's Watch T499509j Expedition Shock Vibrating Alarm Black Resin StrapVintage Timex Automatic Watch. Almost Like New, Fully Serviced!Timex Men's Watch T466819j "expedition" With Leather StrapVintage Mens Timex Moon Phase Dial W/ Stars Blue & White Gold Tone Case RunsMen's 60's Timex With Day And Date. Great Looking Watch. No ReserveGirls / Ladies Nos 2010 Timex Tween Quartz Indiglo Watch. Exc.pink / Butterfly 9 Womans Ladies Timex Watches-7 Indiglo All Run Moonphase Casual W/bands-runsVintage Timex 1969 Sport Classic Manual Mechanical Wind Up Men's Silver Wr WatchLadies Minty Timex 1989 Mechanical Stem Wind Watch.white Dial / Black Hands.Lot Of Ladies Timex Wrist Watches ~ Expedition Indiglo ~ All Working Condition1999 Ladies Acqua Timex Quartz Calendar Indiglo Watch.vgc.easy Read. Gold ToneMen's Vintage Analog Watch Lot Seiko Lucerne Omax Timex Lipson's, Some Work, NrRolex Sieko Timex Box Lot Parts Watch Wristwatch Bands Clasp Assortment #3Rare Mickey Mouse Timex WatchVintage Timex Mechanical Watch Beautiful Blue Dial NrTimex1997 Ladies Timex Quartz Calendar Indiglo Watch.vgc.easy Read. Gold Tone£39.99 Timex Blue Union Jack Original Uk Watch, Brand New In Box, Full WarrantyRare Vintage Timex Manual Wind Mans Mens Gents WristwatchBoys / Lads Superb Vintage 2004 Timex Tween Calendar Quartz Indiglo Watch. Exc Ladies 1972 Rare Timex Sunburst Electric Watch.exquisite Design.the Best ShapeVintage Timex Indiglo Sport Elegant Roman Classic Quartz Men's Golden Wr WatchTimex Automatic Power Reserve Watch Helix Abt Sports Watch Timex Altitude Barometer Temperature Etc Etc Gents Retro Timex Expedition Wristwatch.very Collectable.full Working Order.£49.99 Timex White Union Jack Original Uk Watch, Brand New In Box, Full WarrantLot Ladies Timex Indiglo Classic Easy Reader 2 Pusher Wrist Watches All WorkingTimex Expedition Men's WatchSilver-tone Timex Men's Indiglo Quartz Watch/fair Cond/runs Good/wr-50m/day-dateRetro Gents Timex Mechanical Watch, 1970`s, Mint Condition, Very Collectable N/rVintage Mens Timex Indiglo Watch New Unopened Old Stock