For those old enough to remember the advertising campaigns of the 1950’s and 60’s, the Timex brand was reborn with the assistance of John Cameron Swayze. The company had its roots in Waterbury, Connecticut where it was founded in 1854. Over the years, names and products changed, but by the mid 1900’s, Timex was a brand synonymous with affordable, quality wristwatches.
A number of years ago, I was searching for something related to Timex when I found a collectors group that was focused on the early Timex watches. Like most collectors groups, these folks had an avid and formidable following. And as serendipitous as it might be, there is the “holy grail” of all Timex watches. It was their last hand-wound mechanical timepiece. It was issued as a limited edition in 1996 and was aptly called “The Last Wind-Up”. Well, it didn’t take me long to start searching for one of these.
A couple of months later, an eBay search notified me that such a watch was just listed for sale. Within minutes, I purchased it. Then moments later, another. Bought it too… from the same seller! I reached out and asked “How many have you got?” I bought four of them… three with consecutive serial numbers. For the collector, this was a major coup!
Some years later, an employee of mine suggested that we should consider selling the Timex line. I looked over the models and thought that there were a number of pieces in the collection that would certainly find favor in the store. We could say “from Timex to Rolex… The Last Wind-Up has watches for all”. Needless to say, with a bit of work, we managed to secure the account, and as a token of appreciation I sent the one non-sequential “Last Wind-Up” model from 1996 to the CEO with a letter extolling my passion for watches that “tick” and a recommendation that Timex get back into the ticking business.
A couple of months had passed and I’d heard nothing. Strange, I thought. Then one day last month, we discovered that Timex was issuing a new hand wound timepiece again. It was a throw-back to the 1960’s called the Marlin. Simple, elegant lines and, not to be too cheeky, an engaging timepiece of modest proportions. I immediately contacted my representative from Timex and asked if I could stock the model. In the spring of 2018 the watch will be available to brick and mortar retailers. I was hoping to catch the wave… but will have to wait for the next one.
A few weeks passed, and then a package arrived in the mail from Timex. One Marlin… and a gracious note from the CEO thanking me for the last “Last Wind-Up” and assuring me that Timex has a lot of great things planned for the future. I can’t wait!
Below are just a few tidbits borrowed from Wikipedia… interesting horological trivia:
-In 1962, the Timex brand held the number one market share position in the United States where one out of every three watches sold was a Timex.
-United States Time (Timex) was the exclusive manufacturer of all Polaroid cameras worldwide through the 1970s, totaling more than 44 million cameras.
-In 1992, Indiglo made headlines as a result of the 26 February, 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in which an office worker wearing a Timex with an Indiglo night light used its light to guide a group of evacuees down 40 dark flights of stairs, causing sales to immediately take off, leading to an increase in Timex's U.S. market share.