For Your Consideration: Five Timex Watches for Every Occasion
The greatest legacy of Timex watches could be its history as the most democratic watchmaker of all time, as this year it marks 165 years of bringing great timepieces to the people.
Starting as the Waterbury Clock Co. of Connecticut in 1854, Timex was famed for its ability to combine American know-how with European technical precision. Its first notable product, in fact, was mass-producing a clock that retailed for a modest $6. By the time the 1900s rolled around, it managed to make the technology even cheaper, creating the Yankee Pocket Watch that sold for as low as $1. Of course, this made it incredibly popular, selling over six million units, one of which belonged to Mark Twain.
In World War II, Waterbury created bomb fuses for the British forces. Norwegian refugee Thomas Olsen, in an attempt to flee the Nazis and safely invest his money, became the company’s majority stakeholder. He christened it with a new name, Timex—a combination of two of his favorite products, Time magazine and Kleenex tissue. (Thomas’s son Fredrik, now 90, and Fredrik’s daughter Anette still run the Timex Group today.)
By the 1950s, Timex continued to innovate in the field of bringing watches to the everyman. Its watches were equipped with the first high-quality mass-produced watch movement, the V-Conic, helping the brand achieve ubiquity, as soon, every third watch sold in the world was a Timex watch. Timex is also attributed with creating the sports watch category by introducing the Ironman digital watch in 1984, putting fitness data on your wrist long before the Fitbit.
Timex also changed the way we tell time in the dark, thanks to the integration of the glowing blue Indiglo Night Light into its timepieces in 1992. By 1994, Fredrik Olsen collaborated with Microsoft to produce the Data Link, among the predecessors of the modern-day smartwatch.
While Timex has never attempted to stake a claim among the world’s top luxury watchmakers, it certainly has cornered the market when it comes to sheer dominance and accessibility—by 2015, Timex was the second largest-selling watch brand in the U.S. And why wouldn’t it be? If you’re looking for a watch that can “take a licking and keep on ticking,” to paraphrase its memorable 1958 ad campaign, or one to slap on for pretty much any occasion (Bill Clinton famously wore his Ironman to his ’93 inaugural ball), Timex watches are a great bet.
The brand has even managed to up its cool factor as of late by way of much-anticipated collaborations with the likes of Engineered Garments, 1st PAT-RN, and Todd Snyder, the former head of men’s design for J. Crew. Some of the limited edition models, such as the Snyder collabs, have proven so popular that they sell out pretty quickly.
If you’re interested in adding a touch of Americana to your collection without losing sleep over its long-term investment value, here are a few you might want to put on your Christmas wish list.
1| Ironman Classic 30
An indispensable tool if you were to actually do an Ironman, but even if you don’t, you could still appreciate the 30-lap memory stopwatch, water-resistance of up to 100m, and Indiglo light-up dial for those late-night runs.
2| Weekender 2-Piece 40mm
Simple, no-nonsense, minimalist, with vintage vibes and an easily interchangeable strap—what’s the point of owning a Timex if you can’t have fun with changing up the look, care of the wide range of available straps? Another cool feature is the additional Arabic numerals on the dial to help you quickly read military time, so you’ll never be late for a flight again.
3| Navi Harbor 38mm
A classic military watch with design cues lifted from the brand’s archives, the latest iteration of the Navi Harbor comes with an army green nylon wrist strap—the same durable material used for military-grade bags, field gear, and parachute cords. Go ahead and put it to the test.
4| Waterbury Traditional Automatic 42mm
You don’t want to throw away your hard-earned cash on a quartz watch, you say? If, for you, it’s automatic or nothing, go for this stainless steel model with a date indicator. It’s named for the town where the company was founded, so you get a little hint of Timex heritage, too.
5| Q Timex Reissue 38mm
Here’s a watch that’s so good, it sold out in less than 24 hours—twice. If you are among the ones to get your hands on the Q, originally released in the ’70s, you’re lucky, and we’re jealous. The Q stands for quartz, a representation of Timex watches’ entry into the quartz age. We dare say that never has a quartz watch, with its woven stainless steel bracelet and red and blue vintage dive watch-inspired bezel, looked so covetable or cool.