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    

Men's Vintage Divers Type Timex Watch Gb 1979 Fwo Serviced All OriginalVintage Timex Submariner Divers Military Type Strap Rare Find Red Sec Hand G/c Vintage Watch Lot Caravelle Deep Sea Diver Timex Vantage Heritage Wolbrook MensVintage Timex Mens Divers Style Watch With Original Band 92'Timex Tw2p62300 Blue-faced Tan-strapped Weekender Watch -- (new In Box; ~$80) Vintage Lot (60) Ladies Wrist Watches-bulova Timex Gruen Many Other P/r New Men's Timex J. Crew Vintage Collection Field Watch, 2 Bands W/box Msrp $150Timex T2h281 Men's Easy Reader Leather Strap Watch -- (new In Box; ~$40)Vintage Men's 1970s Timex Divers Style Watch 131 Vintage Timex Ladies Wind Wrist Watch Some Run Some Parts/repairClean Vintage Mens Timex Automatic Diver Watch Running Original Band 3 DaysExcellent Vintage Winding Watch Timex 21 Jewels Gb Ca 1965 Serviced FwoTimex Unisex T2n893 Weekender Silver-tone Watch With Leather BandWatch Lot Of 17 Timex, Casio, Manhattan, Wavecepter Watch Parts Or RepairHuge Watch/watches Repair Lot *elgin*gruen*fossil*bulova*welsbro*waltham*timex* Vintage Men's Timex Dress Wrist Watch Aluminum Waterproof Dustproof Aluminum1964 Bulova 214 Accutron M4 (running Need Work) Timex Electronic Time Zone +bandVintage Mens 1975 Timex Hand Wind Watch Telephone Dial 26852 02775 Runs Day DateBig Vintage Gold Tone 70s Timex Electronic Date Watch. RunsBulk 1.01kg Lot C.1960-70's Wristwatches Parts/restoration Waltham, Timex, Edox29 Wind & 6 Self Winding Vintge Timex Men's Wrist Watch Some Run Some Repair42rTimex Ws4Timex Watch Lot Repair Parts 22+ Items Women Men Vintage ModernLot Of Wrist Watches Timex Pulsar Bulova Chopard Lot Of 18 Working?Vintage Timex Automatic Divers Watch & Band Look Brand New 36mm Timex Tachymeter Watch T2p058 No Box Or Papers $3 ShippingMens Timex Expedition Indiglo Watch Wr 50m New Timex Unisex T5k738 Personal Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch Gray/bl $99.99Timex Ws4 Watch Altimeter Barometer Temp Compass T49664 Black, NewMens Vintage Watch Lot. Bulova Self Wind, Timex Waterproof, Caravelle. RepairExcellent Fully Working Vintage Winding Date Watch Timex Gb Ca 1965 ServicedTimex Mens Quartz Watch W/indiglo Silvertone White Dial - Pre-ownedMens Expedition Ez Read Timex Indiglo Brown Strap Date Vgc .02 Nr Free ShipWow Near Mint Ladies Two Tone Timex Indiglo Watch No Box Or Papers $3 ShippingTimex Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass Watch T2n738 Stainless Steel NewLot Of 19 Vintage Men's Watches Timex, Bulova, Seiko, Armtron, Citizen,farichildVintage Mens 1974 Timex Electronic Watch Telephone Dial 78650 05174 Runs Lot Of 7 Vintage Ladie's Watches Timex,bulova,helbros,wehling, Westclox, Baylor Working Mans Watch Timex Indiglo Date WristwatchVintage Timex Manual Wind Ladies Wristwatch Red Second Hand Leather Band WorksVintage Timex Gents Calendar Wrist Watch & Strap, Working R10Vintage Timex Gents Wrist Watch & Strap, Working R12Timex Waterbury Superb Large Vintage Timex Mens Wristwatch With Original Box And Papers Gents V.rare 1970s Timex 17 Jewel Mechanical Wrist Watch. Excellent. FwoTimex Indiglo Men's Wristwatch - Day & Daye - White Face - Brown Leather BandVintage Timex S Cell Watch Spares Or RepairsTimex Expedition E-compass Analog Watch T49551 Black Leather NewMens Vintage Timex 1980 Great Britain Date, Excellent W Order And Good ConditionJob Lot Of Vintage Watches Cimier Timex Accurist Seiko Oris Spares RepairsTimex Expedition And Timex Indiglo Mens Analog WatchesMen's Timex Expedition Water Resistant Watch W/ Indiglo & New BatteryTimex Tw4b00100 New Black Tone Green Dial Men's Expedition Watch #1480Women's Vintage Timex Water Resistant, Easy Reader, Mechanical WatchTimex Expedition Men's Black Green Dial Tw4b00100 Velcro #1816Men's Timex Indiglo Alarm Watch E2 E9 Working Black Leather BandTimex Expedition Mens Analog Quartz Watch W/date Brown - Pre-ownedTimex Ws4 Carabiner Watch Altimeter Barometer Temp Compass T49816 New RareVintage Timex Sport Thin Classic Mechanical Wind Up Men's WatchTimex Expedition Women's Watch Quartz Silver Tone