The first pocket watch to be made by the company was produced on a trial basis in 1887. The pocket watch was called the "Jumbo", and was retailed in New York to test it's potential popularity. The watch was an instant success which led to the formation of another factory to produce huge quantities of pocket watches under and agreement with another famous watch maker, Robert Ingersoll. Ingersoll set up a partnership with his brother Charles and asked the Waterbury clock company to produce what would become famous as the "Dollar Pocket Watch".
Around 1877 Waterbury began producing brass pocket watches in very large numbers, so many that the factory set aside for production was soon filled to capacity with machines for their newly developed watches. Since this new type of timepiece was a watch, it was decided that a new division of the company should be set up, hence the Waterbury Watch Company came into life in 1880. The company's life was to be short lived however. The company was producing too many watches at too cheap a price, and their watches quickly gained a reputation, mostly undeserved, as being a throw-away product. Eventually with sales falling the company turned to producing a higher priced and better quality product, but due to the nature of their manufacturing processes it became obvious that the workforce were not capable of working to the higher standards required by the new watch. After a company reorganization, which included a name change to the New England Watch Company, was unsuccessful in regaining lost momentum the company was finally bought out in 1914 by Ingersoll.
Things would eventually turn full circle though, and in 1922 Ingersoll failed to negotiate the post WW1 recession and ended up being bought out by the Waterbury Clock Company, including all the stock and premises once belonging to the Waterbury Watch Company. The British division of Ingersoll was sold to its management directors in 1930 while the US company was kept and developed, producing millions of timepieces over the next 30 years. In 1930 Ingersoll US started manufacturing a range of watches and clocks under an agreement with Walt Disney. It is from this range that the popular collectors' watches, including the Mickey Mouse Pocket Watches. It was the popularity of these watches that prevented the company from failing, as did many watch making companies at this time.
The company was to change hands in 1940 when two investors, Thomas Olsen and Joakim Lehmkuhl, came from Norway to the US to avoid Nazi persecution in their country. In 1943 the company was to change its name to the United States Time Corporation.
The first mention of the Timex brand name came along in 1950, after a long development of a simple but hardy wristwatch movement which was to be featured in a series of television ads that featured the timepiece being generally abused in order to show its toughness. Marketers came up with a nifty catchphrase for the watch, "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking". The ads proven to be a great success, by 1962 30% of all watches being sold in the US were Timex. Such was the success of this brand that in 1969 the company's name changed once again to the Timex Corporation.
The company is still in operation today and has succeeded in bringing new and exciting innovations in wristwatch design to the marketplace. Timex Pocket Watches do exist, but as you can see from the history of the company, most watches you are likely to find are wristwatches. As always, the best place to keep your eye on for that elusive Timex Pocket Watch is eBay.
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