There is something quite magical about the sight of the Statue of Liberty that enthralled the migrants of yore. It was the promise that “the land of opportunities” held. Keeping the dream alive are quintessential American brands like Levi Strauss, Walt Disney, Coca Cola, and Ford. Right there on top of the list of brands that represent the US is Timex, representing a tradition of precise timekeeping with an all-American entrepreneurial spirit and mass appeal. While the Timex brand, like many other American brands, is now extremely popular and well-loved the world over, its roots remain firmly etched in Connecticut, the Constitution State.
Bringing home a legend
In the mid-1800s, there were almost no personal watches and most town clocks had to be manufactured and brought from Europe, which was regarded as the epicenter of watchmaking and engineering activities. The popular brass manufacturer Benedict & Burnham decided to bring home the art and science of watchmaking. Up came the Waterbury Clock Company with its own manufacturing set up in Connecticut. One of the earliest clocks manufactured by them was priced at $6 making this model a household favorite of America.
By the early 1900s, the Waterbury Watch Company was producing the Dollar Watch – a $1 Ingersoll Yankee watch. Millions could now afford a personal pocket watch. At a time when five pounds of candy cost about 35 cents, every American could own a personal watch for merely $1. Even the celebrated writer Mark Twain was a fan.
Soon after, came the wristwatch, designed for use in World War I but it was the Mickey Mouse themed wristwatch released in the Chicago World Fair 1931 that truly created the watch revolution. Over 2 million of these Walt Disney themed timepieces were sold across the country and America was truly hooked.
Through the following decades, Timex went on from being a distinctively American brand to a global icon. The overwhelming globalization trend along with the quartz crisis and market forces forced all Timex production to Asian centers and though the popularity and the quality of Times watches remained on an upward trajectory, the brand lost its “Made in America” label.
Walking down the lanes of history, right into the new age of pride and perfection, Timex has launched the American Documents – a project that intends to bring back watch manufacturing into the folds of American culture. American Documents is a series of watches that are both functionally and aesthetically appealing and what’s more is that these come with completely American-made parts, sourced from materials from the US. The initial offerings in the series are four bold and beautiful watches with white, black, grey, and blue dials. The parts and even the straps that have gone into making these watches are fuelling domestic industries, many of these from the vicinity of Middlebury where the Timex Group is now headquartered. Priced at $495 each, these certainly harness the American spirit, the pride of being an American.
The homecoming of the Timex timepieces, the remodeling of the Timex offices into an assembly line, and the launch of the American Documents series brings the brand a full circle. This is indeed a labor of love and pride for the Timex brand. Creating a stir among the buyers of men’s watches online, American Documents is much awaited in India.
Through the eyes of Bryan Schutmaat
As part of the American Documents launch campaign, Timex assigned documentary photographer Bryan Schutmaat to create a visual testament to the beauty and diversity of the American landscape. His lenses have managed to capture the stunning yet lively Americana vibe from the far reaches of the country. Bryan’s catalog of photos is available to anyone who buys an American Documents series watch. The catalog is indeed a treat for everyone who loves travel and loves the United States of America.