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S.12 Timex

Timex was an extremely well organised corporation, with modern production facilities and marketing tactics. It is a fully computerised and automated organisation. It has produced millions of watches with few personnel. In 1972 for instance, 30 million watches were produced by 18,000 employees in 20 plants in 14 different countries, under supervision of an extremely small executive staff. From 1968 until 1976, Timex had approximately 200,000 sales agents and sold the largest quantity of watches in the world. Their statutory residence was situated in the Bermudas and the Virgin Islands and established under the name Timex Limited. Their main sales and production strategy was aimed at producing relatively cheap watches for a large general audience.
Timex started to sell its watches in a very unorthodox way: at news-stands, tobacconists and drugstores. Later on, due to mass publicity campaigns mainly by television, they succeeded in penetrating the regular sales streams: the watch and jewellery shops as well as the department stores. After sales services were well-organised, for instance, just the United States had two hundred service centres available. The brandnames Saga in Great Britain and Laco in Germany were gradually replaced by the brandname Timex. Timex consolidated its market share in Great Britain and in France, but was met with reluctance and difficulty in the rest of Europe.

1914The Waterbury Clock Company, the former New England Watch Company, buys the Ingersoll Company and continues the brandname Ingersoll. The one dollar watch, the 'Ingersoll Yankee' was sold with the slogan 'The watch that makes the dollar famous'.
1933The 'Mickey Mouse Watch' is launched at the Chicago World Fair.
1940The Norwegian J.M. Lehmkuhl sells his shipping company, flees his country and comes to the USA.
1942Joakim M. Lehmkuhl becomes director and important stockholder of the Waterbury Clock Company in spite of the fact that he has never previously been engaged in watch production. During the war the company produces artillery parts for the British army.
1944The Waterbury Clock Company is transformed into the United States Time Corporation. Its main objective consisted in manufacturing cheap watches between 8 and 15 dollars, a part of the market that had been seriously neglected by the Swiss and the Americans.
1956The U.S. Time Corporation buys the brandname Timex from Timor Watch in la Chaux-de-Fonds. Nearly all the watches of the US Time Corporation are now to be sold under the name Timex.
1956The first automatic watches by Timex in the series named 'Viscount', reach the market.
1957Due to a lack of production capacity, nearly all the watches of Timex are sold in the USA. Timex starts a sales campaign in Europe.
1959The U.S. Time Corporation purchases the firm Lacher & Co. AG, Pforzheim, Germany (brandname Laco) to get access to the technique of the electric watch developed by Laco. Durowe, which had been owned previously by the Swiss firm Ebauches S.A., was also sold to the U.S. Time corporation.
1962The first electric watch by Timex is released. A watch with balance and mechanical contacts: the Laco 860 and 861 or Timex M 67.
1965The Timex Lady Electric (cal. 900) otherwise known as the M 82. This is the first lady's electric watch in the world. Timex obtains a 45% share of the American market for wrist watches. An unbelievable performance.
1966Timex buys the French brandname 'Kelton'. In France, Timex has mainly earned its fame under the name Kelton.
1969The headquarters in the USA, the 'U.S. Time Corporation' change their name officially to 'Timex Corporation'.
1971Timex introduces the first quartz watch (cal. M62) with a balance. It is based on the M40 or M41, and contains an electronic module by Microma. The year also marks the release of the first electric 'Mickey Mouse Watch' with an M 40 movement.
1972Timex had 80 % of the American market and 17 % of the world market for watches. The introduction of the first solid state LCD watch by Timex, model 75LCD.
1975In 1975, Timex sells 32 million watches of which 20 milllion are sold in the USA.


Many Timex watches produced in 1963 or later have a very small eight digit code on the edge of the dial.
The first four digits designate the Timex catalogue number. The men's electric watches start with digits 90 or 91 and the ladies' with 92. The fifth and sixth digit indicate the code number of the movement, for instance 82 for the Timex Electric M 82. The seventh and eighth digit designate the year of production, for instance 65 means 1965. From 1959 until 1967, a code consisting of one number and one letter on the inside of the caseback was also used. The number denotes the year of manufacturing: 8 = 1959; 7 = 1960; 6 = 1961; 5 = 1962; 4 = 1963; 3 = 1964; 2 = 1965; 1 = 1966 and 9 = 1967.

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Copyright by Pieter Doensen

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