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    

Watch Lot - Rolex, Cartier, Seiko, TimexVintage 1972 Timex 24hr Military Style Black Wrist Watch - British Made & FwoRare Vintage Timex 1940s-50s Military- Us Time Corporation Superb W Order&cond.Vintage 1972 British Timex Military "school Watch" Mechanical Wristwatch Nice!Men’s Vintage 1980 Timex AutomaticLot Of 90 Vintage Watches - Timex, Seiko, Bulova, Elgin, Hamilton, More!Timex Mens Intelligent Quartz Sl Series Indiglo Fly Back Chronograph Rare WatchLot Of 4 Vintage Men's Watches. Waltham 17 Jewel. Cordura, Timex. Omega. As Is.Men's Automatic Vintage Divers Type Timex Watch Gb 1976 # 32 Fwo ServicedTimex Intelligent Quartz Iq Perpetual Calendar T2n503 (rrp £114.99) No ReserveTimex Mens Indiglo Watch T2n105Timex Mens Luxury Open Heart Power Reserve Automatic White Stainless Steel WatchTimex Mens Intelligent Quartz Sl Series Indiglo Fly Back Chronograph Rare WatchHuge Bulk Lot Of 140+ Watches Mens & Womens For Parts Benrus Timex BulovaVintage Mens 1977 Timex Automatic Watch Silver Color With New Leather BandVintage Rare Timex Men's Watch Mechanical Manual Wind Watch With DateVintage Lot Of 5 Mens Wristwatches Benrus Caravelle Timex Ralco Gem 17 All Work!2 Watch's 1 Timex Expedition 1 Tj Army Style Large Face Watch.Timex Mens Sl Series Master Annual Calendar Automatic Stainless Steel Rare WatchTimex Expedition Indiglo Watch Timex Expedition Indiglo Quartz Mens Sports Watch10 X Vintage Timex Mens Watches No ReserveVintage 1976 Timex Mechanical Calendar Wrist Watch - Made In Great Britain - FwoTimex T2n609 Gents Intelligent Quartz World Time & Date Watch - 99p No ReserveTimex Submariner Stainless Steel T29781, Rare, IndigloVintage Timex Grand Prix,chequered Flag Watch,mechanicalMens Timex Indiglo T2n677 Brown Leather Wr 30m Black Dial Quartz WatchStunning 2003 Ladies Timex 30m Indiglo Quartz Analog Watch.superb DesignTimex X J.crew Timex Andros Steel Watch (unisex/barely Worn)Timex Expedition Premium Intelligent Quartz Altimeter Stainless Steel Rare WatchTimex Military Style Mans Wrist Watch Like Vietnam Era 24 Hour Dial WorkingTimex T2n870 Womens Weekender Slip-thru Coral Nylon Strap Analog Watch OverstockLarge Watch Lot. (27) Vintage To Now. Fossil, Carriage, Timex,tag, Swatch,&more.Womens Timex Watch T2p213 Brown Dial Genuine Leather Band Rose Gold CaseArmy Style Timex Expidition WatchTimex N T Indigo Series Uomo Pelle WatchLot Of Mens Timex WatchesTimex T49689 Men's Expedition Camper Black Canvas Strap Analog Watch OverstockMen's Timex Wristwatch ClassicsTimex Men's T49862 Expedition Rugged Analog Black Resin Strap WatchVintage Men's Timex Watch Spares Or Repairs?6 X Vintage Automatic Timex Mens Watches No ReserveMens Vintage 1975 Timex Watch Textured Gold Dial Date Display RunsLot Of 6 Vintage Mens Wristwatches Watch Parts Repair Bulova Timex ElginMen's Timex,iq Intelligent, Barometric ,altimeter Quartz Watch, T2n730, (nr)Timex Military Wristwatch Keeps Perfect Time,no Band No Reserve Timex 1854 Chronograph Watch 206382 RmeTimex Intelligent Quartz Compass Black Dial Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch T2n73Vintage 1965 Timex Watch & Original Case & GuaranteeTimex T2n913 Womens Weekender Slip-thru Green Nylon Strap Analog Watch OverstockVintage Mens 1973 Timex Wind Up Watch Silver Color With New Leather BandTimex T2n492 Men's Originals White Dial Blue Fabric Strap Analog Watch Overstock Mens Vtg Timex Atlantis 100 White Lite Near Mint .02 Nr Free Ship Mens Timex Expedition Ana Digi Indiglo Date Analog Quartz Watch T4518Vintage Mens Midsize Timex Mechanical Divers Style WatchExcellent Mens Timex Expedition Military Green Black Watch LookTimex T25771 Women's Easy Read Two Tone Stainless Steel Dress Watch OverstockTimex Men's T2p383 "elevated Classics" Dress WatchGents Vintage Timex Watch 1970 S Mint Condition1996 Vintage Larger Dial Winnie The Pooh By Timex Quartz Analog Watch.