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Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Timex

Timex watchesTimex Corporation is the best-known American watch manufacturer, famous for half a century for durable low-cost timepieces. Timex's headquarters are located in Middlebury, Connecticut.

The company began in 1854 as Waterbury Clock in Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley, known during the nineteenth century as the "Switzerland of America." Sister company Waterbury Watch manufactured the first inexpensive mechanical pocket watch in 1880. During World War I, Waterbury began making wristwatches, which had only just become popular, and in 1933 it made history by creating the first Mickey Mouse clock under license from Walt Disney, with Mickey's hands pointing the time.

During World War II Waterbury renamed itself U.S. Time Company. In 1950 the company introduced a wristwatch called the Timex. Over the next three decades, Timex was sold through a series of advertisements which emphasised its durability by putting the watch through "torture tests," such as falling over the Grand Coulee Dam or being strapped to the propeller of an outboard motor, with the slogan "It takes a licking but it keeps on ticking." The company later renamed itself Timex Corporation, and eventually sold more than 500 million watches.

Over the next four decades Timex watches would innovate the watch world. In 1959 timex watches introduced the first women’s brand watch, the timex“Cavatina”. The 1970’s brought mechanical movement to timex watches and by the mid 70’s one out of every two watches bought in the U.S. was a Timex watch. 1986 introduced the companies Triathlon model. Within one year timex watches became America’s largest selling sport watch, which is a distinction Timex Watches still hold today.

In the 1970s, the American watch and clock industry was devastated by the arrival of cheap and reliable mechanical watches from the Far East, as well as the development of digital quartz watches pioneered by Japanese companies. In the 1980s, in a joint venture with British Sinclair Research, the company entered the home computer business, selling such computers as the Timex Sinclair 1000 and succeeding machines, modeled on the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum. After a reasonably good sales performance to begin with, Timex couldn't cope with the low-end market's eventual saturation and so the company withdrew with major losses.

Despite near-bankruptcy, Timex survived its bad times of the 1970s and 1980s. The company remains in business, although it is no longer a dominant player in the timekeeping industry outside the United States. Today, most Timex products are manufactured in the Far East. In North America, Timex sells clock radios and home thermostats, in addition to its watch and clock lines.

As of 2002, it had 5,500 employees on four continents.

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