The best watch isn’t necessarily the most expensive one or the shiniest one or the one with Bluetooth and the most apps. The best watch is the one that as soon as you strap it on to your wrist, you quickly forget about it and never take it off because you never need to. It’s simple, functional, and durable, just as naturally at ease at a wedding or a fishing trip, as at home on the wrist of a banker as it is on an Ironman triathlete––a watch that simply does its job in any situation. More than any other watch brand, these are the kinds of watches that Timex has made year in and year out, ever since the debut of the brand in 1950.

Solves the Present Problem

The origins of Timex go back about 150 years, to when western Connecticut was the epicenter of American clockmaking. One of the biggest clockmakers from this region was the Waterbury Clock Company, who eventually partnered with a New York City marketer named Robert Ingersoll to release a pocket watch known as the Ingersoll Yankee in 1896, which became one of the first nationally popular American watches that was both high quality and highly affordable.

Adsum MK1 back of Timex watch
Our entry into Timex's lineage.

During World War I, the company adapted their pocket watch to the needs of American artillery gunners abroad and created one of the world’s original wrist watches, which even featured glow-in-the-dark hands and numbers. Early in World War II, the company was bought by two Norwegian industrialists and engineers who came to America fleeing the Nazis, and shifted the brand into creating fuse timers and other precision components for the American military, and also renaming the company the United States Time Corporation.

Mickey Mantle Timex
One of the early "torture tests" Timex put it's watches through with Mickey Mantle.

When the company released the first Timex-branded watch a few years after the war, the watches represented a combination of old New England craftsmanship with military-grade attention to engineering and durability. Communicating this sort of brand message led to some of the most iconic watch commercials ever made, when the company tapped trusted NBC newsman John Cameron Swayze to subject the watches to a variety of extreme tests of durability –– strapping it to a boat propeller, a high-diver wearing it during a daring cliff jump, etc. –– with each ad ending with Swayze inspecting the still functioning watch and declaring, “Timex – it takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

The spirit of that famous slogan could also be applied to the brand itself. Over its 150 year history, it’s gone through bankruptcy, the Great Depression, multiple World Wars, and competition ranging from jewelers in Switzerland to tech companies in Silicon Valley. And yet the brand is still here, still dedicated to producing simple, functional, affordable watches that really can take a licking and keep on ticking. Their history proves it.