Timex when was one of America’s best-selling watch brands. Now it’s make the efforts to regain that popularity.

You are watching: It takes a licking and keeps on ticking

One the the photographs by Bryan Schutmaat, commissioned by Timex to companion its American files Collection of watches. Credit...Bryan Schutmaat/Timex

LONG BEACH, Calif. — At specifically 11:30 a.m., a crowd 10 people deep by double as many large pushed impatiently against two white urgent tables, fanning out in an effort to score the latest limited-edition merchandise that had just unable to do on sale. Buyers ducked through the mob, one-by-one arising victorious indigenous A27, a small, there was no sign booth ~ above the rainbow-hued display map because that the festival ComplexCon 2019.

Some of them paused across the convention center aisle — in the retro-inspired Timex area, furnished v two set of plush chairs, a table and three times the space of the opposite booth — to examine and also store their merchandise: boy Cudi’s $150 sweatshirt participation with Cactus tree Flea Market.

“I don’t also know what Timex is,” said Tarek Othman, 25. He additionally had wanted one of the cyan hoodies, however decided the price was past his budget.

Told the Timex likewise had simply done a product autumn — the increased by wolf 40-millimeter watch at $95 — Mr. Othman just shrugged and also said, “The an are is great. I’m conference up with a friend there due to the fact that it’s so uncrowded.”

The elevated by wolf 40-millimeter watch, introduced at the 2019 ComplexCon event in California.Credit...

Timex would certainly be i m really sorry to listen that. For its 2nd year in ~ the event, the brand had six brand-new watches, an main timekeeper designation and also a space outfitted with gigantic LED display screens showing looped videos and images that Timex watches.

“This is part of the learning curve,” claimed Silvio Leonardi, the an elderly vice president of Timex Global, who invested the weekend talking through anyone the came throughout on the festival floor. “In the 1990s the company made a decision to walk all in the massive market, and also it’s not basic after 15 years to revolve around, readjust strategies and do something different,” he said. “We space acting in different way today.”

After 165 year of manufacturing timepieces, Timex is inventory its location in, well, time. That is a sobering effort for a brand that states it developed one-third of every watches marketed in the United says in the so late 1950s.

Now, it is introducing higher-priced Timexes. The company is reissuing that is own well-known models, including the 1979 Q Timex ($179); and arranging collaborations choose the one the did in August through the cult streetwear brand can be fried ($68) — all while continuing to do watches because that brands choose Nautica, Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Timex, which has actually been owned by the wealthy Olsen family of Norway since 1941, doesn’t relax sales or revenue figures — but it has actually said that the can be fried watch marketed out in less than 2 minutes. It likewise acknowledges having 3,000 employees global and selling 1,500 watch models.

“My project is to figure out exactly how we have the right to stay alive for an additional 165 years, and also to do that I require to call a new generation of consumers,” Mr. Leonardi said, a watchful eye top top every passing ComplexCon wrist. “The biggest difficulty I’m encountering today is the this new consumer is physical not even wearing a watch. Not just are lock not acquainted with the brand, yet they’re not even familiar with the category. They check out it as a useless device.”

In that increasingly digital world, and with no to plan to enter the smartwatch category, the Middlebury, Conn., based brand has been encountering a challenge.

According come the sleeve analyst NPD Group, consumers spent an ext than $9 exchange rate on city hall in the 12 months finishing March 2019, practically $5 exchange rate of which to be on traditional analog watches.

“While traditional watches are encountering some growth challenges, there are segments delivering far-reaching dollar gains to the industry,” Reginald Brack, NPD’s watches and luxury sector analyst, created in the 2019 Watch total Market Report. “The consumer is becoming much better educated around the work, craftsmanship and also detail connected in creating and also manufacturing a living, breathing mechanical movement, resulting in an amazing opportunity for manufacturers.”

Tobias Reiss-Schmidt, Timex’s chief executive since October 2015, has been trying come seize that chance with projects favor the American documents Collection. Introduced in April, the collection’s 4 watches, advertised as made in America, sell at $495 each, the brand’s highest-ever price. And also for the marketing campaign, Bryan Schutmaat, a documentary photographer, was i was delegated to catch Americana, from scan landscapes come the interplay between land and people — and his collection of downloadable photos accompanies every purchase.

“Timex certainly has a existence in well-known culture,” claimed Mr. Schutmaat, 36. “I think that the old ads. Therefore many people in mine life had actually Timexes.”

Timex also has had actually a existence in America’s clock history. It started in 1854 together the Waterbury Clock Company, producing affordable yet stylish wall clocks in that central Connecticut town, a region where much of the country’s clock production was based at the time. Practically a century later, the company, then called U.S. Time Corporation, had parlayed its job-related for the armed forces into improvements in civilian watches. And also by 1950, the brand debuted the V-Conic, marketed together the first mass-produced, high top quality watch movement made in the united States.

Many seniors in America will recall Timex’s motto the the 1950s and 60s: “Takes a licking and also keeps on ticking,” and also the television ads featuring every sorts of stress and anxiety tests, like attaching a Timex to an amphibian plane pontoon. That kind of background has attractive collectors prefer Alan Nazerian, 55, a doctor in Chicago that owns about 200 watches, 140 of which are Timex.

“Timex was and is one Everyman watch and I choose that,” Dr. Nazerian said. “They owned and also welcomed the quartz transformation and chugged along through their doldrums, the mid ‘70s through the ‘90s. Now, through partnerships choose Todd Snyder, they’ve gone from this pedestrian grandfatherly brand to something worn by world in Manhattan.”

John Cameron Swayze, a television journalist who later ended up being a pitchman for Timex watches. In the 1950s and ’60s, the often appeared in ads that stress and anxiety tested the timepieces, favor attaching them to engine rotors or plane pontoons, come prove their durability.Credit...NBC, via associated Press

Mr. Snyder, a men’s undertake designer, has actually done 12 collaborations v Timex, many recently the Marlin watch with a navy dial that was exit in October. The is working on six much more models.

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“I’ve always been someone who likes the classics but reinventing them provides both them and also you relevant,” Mr. Snyder said. As among the couple of people who have accessibility to Timex’s archives but don’t job-related for the company, Mr. Snyder creates what the calls “a well balanced approach: I deserve to dive into the history and tap right into nostalgia but likewise breathe a new, needed sense of discovery.”

Whether that approach, and the company’s other efforts, prove successful will be anyone’s guess. However Mr. Leonardi certainly intends to try.

“For us, the an attitude,” he said, adding, “we have to reinvent oneself every day, suggest something that is always brand-new and contemporary from collaborations to materials and also product categories. Us can’t stop. We won’t stop.”