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5 Interesting Timex Watch Collaborations - A Buyers Guide

Posted on January 20 2021

Timex Watch Collaborations

 

The company that would eventually become Timex was founded on a simple concept - to make timepieces that almost anyone could afford. Beginning with clocks and then pocket watches, the American firm built its products to compete with the more expensive European competition.

It’s a mission that has remained fairly constant, with Timex producing a range of affordable watches. For me, some of the best are the collaborations that they’ve released. Watches that taken design cues and colour schemes from designers outside of the Timex stable.

I’d like to take you through a brief history of the brand, a little about their quality and previous collaborations, and then present my five favourite collab watches.

The History of Timex Watches


The Connecticut based brand introduced its first bestselling affordable watch in 1895.

The Yankee pocket watch was known as the watch that made the dollar famous. Selling six-million units, it was the cheapest watch on the market and the first to sell for $1.

The brand no longer competes at this lowest price-point, but that was where it originally won its market share.

By the 1950s Timex was being used as the company’s brand name and the watches were featured on TV being put through a series of ‘torture tests’ - stunts designed to demonstrate the watches durability.

It was at that time that they coined the memorable ‘Timex – Takes a Licking and keeps on Ticking’ slogan.

The success of this marketing, and the sales of the watches through a variety of channels, meant that by the 1960s they were America’s best selling watches. A third of all watches sold there were produced by Timex.

The current Timex range is built on the foundations of this long history and the brand’s subsequent innovations. A standout watch from this later period was the Ironman - introduced in 1986. It quickly became the best-selling watch in America and the world’s most popular sports watch.

This was followed by the companies development of the Indiglo night light and the Expedition collection. The Indiglo is a featured that you’ll find throughout the Timex range, including one of the models in this list.

Are Timex Watches Any Good?


Historically, the American consumer felt that Timex watches represented good value for money.

They no longer compete at the most affordable end of the market, although they are also far from a luxury brand. The current Timex collection is in the £50-£250 range and includes a mixture of quartz, mechanical and digital models.

When compared to other popular high street brands, Timex stands up well to the competition. While they don’t have the inexpensive automatic collections of Seiko’s 5 line, they do produce a number of exciting models that always catch my eye when launched.

I’d suggest that the build quality and design is better than most of the fashion brands that you’ll see them displayed alongside.

Over recent years I’ve been particularly impressed with their heritage watches - the Q Reissue for example - and their collaboration models.

Timex Collaborations


There are three areas where Timex are particularly strong:

  • Reissues from their own large back catalogue
  • Military timepieces
  • Collaborations

In this post, I’d like to take you through five recent collaborations that I think are worth a closer look.

These watches haven’t burst onto the market fully-formed. Instead, they’re the result of a long-term strategy by the brand to harness the power of third parties.

Arguably, the collaboration that they did with Disney - piggybacking on the back of Micky Mouse’s popularity, saved the business. Introduced in 1933, it was the brands first million-dollar watch and guaranteed the companies financial survival.

 



It was a lesson that Timex learned from, and they’ve subsequently repeated the formula.

The collaboration watches below are a mixture of contemporary designs and heritage-inspired models. They range in price and styling - but all have something special.

 

Timex x Todd Snyder Watch

 

This watch sums up the best of Timex.

They’ve taken one of their own iconic designs and with the help of a noted fashion designer reworked it. The result is a modern reinterpretation of the Timex Sprite, a popular design from the early 1970s.

It’s a memorable design - the rings on the dial display 12hrs, 24hrs and minutes. It’s colourful, yet still reminiscent of a military watch. And Todd Snyder is a great name to collaborate with, as he takes inspiration from military tailoring in his own collections.

This is part of what I like about collaborative projects. Snyder has noted that he has special access to the Timex vaults, and certainly with the Beekman, that was inspired by what he unearthed there.

It’s a new set of eyes - a designers eyes - taking inspiration from the squirrelled away watches that many of us miss.

The watch itself has an unusual coated brass case which is 40mm wide - the original Sprite wasn’t much over 30mm. It has a modern, reliable quartz movement and token water resistance. Like a lot of Timex military watches, it comes on a canvas Nato strap.

Interestingly, there’s no Todd Snyder branding on the watch itself, which makes the project seem more authentic.

Timex x Todd Snyder Red Mod TW4B05700

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Brass Case
  • Quartz movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 



Timex Snoopy Welton Watch

 

Snoopy and Timex. This is a collaboration that we all remember.

At the risk of overusing the word iconic, the original Peanuts watches are iconic and a part of popular culture. Once more, this new working of the design updates the watch to 40mm and uses the Timex Marlin as the base.

Some models from the Peanuts collection use automatic movements, but this variant is a quartz. It’s a fun watch that is very affordable and has numerals that are almost childish.

And when the hands move Snoopy swings his baseball bat.

Where the previous model took inspiration from Timex’s history producing military watches, this is more light-hearted and closer to the brands famous Disney collaboration.

Timex Snoopy Welton TW2R94900

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • Acrylic Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance

 



Timex x Nigel Cabourn Watch

 

Nigel Cabourn is a fashion designed based in my home town of Newcastle. He originally made his name running market stalls with Paul Smith, before creating his own fashion line. His clothes are inspired by vintage and military designs - particularly polar exploration and mountaineering.

This watch from Timex is really in keeping with that ethos.

Like the Todd Snyder model, this watch also manages to combine bold colouring with a simple military aesthetic.

Of course, this isn’t a military watch. The design is inspired by a referees stopwatch - the red portion on the dial measures the 45mins of football matches first half. Then there’s the 15min white area for half-time.

It’s a nostalgic watch, updated again with modern specs. It’s a familiar 40mm quartz model.

There are some nice touches here. The onion crown, for example, the leather Nato strap and the vintage-looking domed acrylic crystal

Additionally, it comes with a second strap - a claret and blue Nato that matches the watches canvas case.

Timex x Nigel Cabourn Referee

  • 40mm Diameter
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • Domed Acrylic Crystal



Timex x Keone Nunes Watch

 

There are a number of reasons why two brands choose to work together. One of the primary reasons is to tap into new markets. One brand can use the name of another to market to a fresh audience.

With this watch, Timex has teamed up with traditional Hawaiian tattoo artist Keone Nunes.

Released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Hawaii’s statehood, the collection features Polynesian art. The symbols used on the various models represent family, courage and safe passage in life. It’s a great mix of traditions - a heritage US brand working with an Indigenous artist.

The watches are very affordable and only differ from the basic Timex models in their dial and strap designs. Indeed, they’ve used the Scout Field watch as the base for the Nunes collection.

This silver variant - with the Indiglo dial - is my preferred choice. Like the others in the collection, it includes the koa’e ‘ula symbol - a bird that protects travellers - and distinctive reverse-style indices.

The traditional tattoo patterns are continued on the leather nato strap.

Timex x Keone Nunes Maka Ihe

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • 50M Water Resistance

 



Timex x Pac-Man T-80 Watch

 

In a previous post, I mentioned how little I care for computer games. But Pac-Man is different.

That game really does bring back fun childhood memories. Digital watches? Not so much.

But this is still a great collaboration and maybe one of the few times where a digital watch is the right choice. Somehow, the angular black case perfectly matches the chunky imperfect graphics of the game.

It’s the smallest watch on my list - the case is a modest 34mm wide and 10mm thick. But you’re not buying this watch for the specs, or even I’d suggest the watch design.

We’re here for Pac-Man.

And this watch delivers. It’s a straightforward 80s retro-cool watch with a bold Pac-Man graphics.

Of the watches on the ist, this is the one that would make the perfect gift.

Timex x Pac-Man T-80 TW2U91300

  • 34mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 18mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Quartz movement
  • 30M Water Resistance

 


Conclusion


Timex was one of the first brands to do a successful collaboration when they released the first Mickey Mouse watch. This first million-dollar watch saved the business and set a precedent.

Since then the company has regularly worked with other brands, and as we’ve seen, this can run from iconic comic and video game characters to internationally renowned fashion designers or indigenous tattooists.

That’s why I keep dropping in on the brand. To check who they’re working alongside and to spot the next fascinating release.

A bonus for me has been the tendency to reissue earlier models - this is most evident in the Todd Snyder collection. They gave a menswear designer - with a taste for military tailoring - access to their archives and let him run with it. The results are great.

If there’s one thing that I’d like you to take away from this post, it’s just a reminder to remain open-minded and not to ignore affordable big-name brands. Even these companies release watches that might surprise you.

Anything to add? Pop it in the comments below.

 

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