Watches, Time Pieces, Fashion, Casual, Sports Training, Wearable Technology – Timex – Find it and more

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Timex Group USA, Inc. (formerly known as Timex Corporation) is a subsidiary of the Dutch company Timex Group B.V., and its US headquarters, is based in Middlebury, Connecticut. The company is the current successor to the Waterbury Clock Company, founded in 1854 in nearby Waterbury, Connecticut.

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With the American entry into World War I there were new demands for timepiece design. Artillery gunners needed an easy way to calculate and read time while still being able to work the guns. The Waterbury Clock Company met this need by modifying the small Ingersoll ladies’ Midget pocket watch to become military-issue wristwatches — lugs were added for a canvas strap, the crown was repositioned to 3 o’clock, hands and numbers were made luminescent for nighttime readability, thus making one of the first wrist watches.

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In 1922, Waterbury Clock Company purchased the Robert H. Ingersoll & Bro. company for $1,500,000, which had gone bankrupt the previous year due to the post-war recession, thereby inheriting all of Ingersoll’s and Waterbury Watch’s assets and facilities. Unable to deliver on Ingersoll’s guarantee of quality in Europe due to the Great Depression, Waterbury Clock sold the London-based Ingersoll, Ltd. to its Board of Directors in 1930, making it a wholly British-owned enterprise. The “powerful Ingersoll brand name” was continued in the United States by Waterbury Clock into the 1950s. No longer part of Waterbury Clock Company, Ingersoll Ltd. continued to produce the Ingersoll watch brand independently for the European and other international markets.

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Following the Great Depression and a period of hardship for the company, Waterbury Clock Company regained its identity in the consumer market. In 1930, a license agreement was reached with Walt Disney, resulting in the production of the famous Mickey Mouse watches and clocks under the Ingersoll brand name. The new Mickey Mouse timepieces were introduced to the public at the Chicago World’s Fair in June 1933 and quickly became the company’s first million-dollar line, saving it from financial disaster.

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In 1940, Thomas Olsen (owner and operator of Fred. Olsen Shipping Co.) and Joakim Lehmkuhl fled Norway with their families because of the Nazi invasion. Eventually they came to the United States seeking investments to assist in the war effort. In 1941, Olsen and Lehmkuhl purchased controlling interest in Waterbury Clock Company, with Thomas Olsen becoming Chairman. Though the company had fallen on hard times during the Great Depression it still had the manufacturing capability to make large numbers of timing devices. Mr. Lehmkuhl, who had studied business and engineering at Harvard and MIT, was appointed President by Olsen and, under his direction, the company became the largest producer of fuse timers for precision defense products in the United States. A new concrete plant was built in nearby Middlebury, Connecticut in 88 days in 1942 for the high-volume production of precision timers. In August 1943, the Army-Navy “E” Award for excellence was awarded by the United States Under-Secretary of War to Waterbury Clock Company for the “Anglo-American fuse”. As a result of this success shareholders in the following December voted to rename the company to United States Time Corporation.

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Following the end of the Korean War in the 1950s, sales declined because of diminishing defense orders. United States Time Corporation President Lehmkuhl was convinced that an inexpensive watch that was both accurate and durable would be a marketing success. He felt that low cost could be accomplished through the combination of automation, precision tooling techniques used in making fuse timers, and a simpler design than that of higher-priced Swiss watches. Durability was accomplished through a new hard alloy, Armalloy, developed through wartime research. Armalloy was used to produce long wearing bearings, replacing the expensive jewels traditionally used in a watch’s movement. These innovations led to the eventual public debut of the Timex brand in 1950, though the name was first used on a small trial shipment of nurses’ watches in 1945. The X suffix was used to “convey U.S. Time’s technological expertise and innovation”.

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