Timex Watches - Timex watches were
the timepieces of the 1950s and 1960s. Respected newscaster, John
Cameron Swayze was the host of the now classic "Torture Test"
commercials to prove the reliability of the Timex wristwatches
that debuted in 1950.
His first "live" test placed a Timex wristwatch in a paint mixer.
After being brutalized for a few seconds, the Timex emerged
unscathed. Swayze then delivered his now classic line: "It takes a
licking, but it keeps on ticking."
Once, one of the watches being tested in a tank of water got lost
and Swayze was caught on "live" TV trying to fish it out of the
tank. Other torture tests had watches being:
- Frozen in an ice cube tray
- Wrapped around a turtle in a fish tank
- Taped to a lobster claw
- Spun in a vacuum cleaner
- Put on the leg of a race horse
- Flopped on by a swimming dolphin
- Tossed over the Grand Coulee Dam
- Held fist first by a diver jumping off an Acapulco cliff
- Attached to the blade of an outboard motor.
- Swallowed by a farmer's cow (news story - Time 3/15/1963)
- Strapped to Mickey Mantle's baseball bat
Since the 1950s, Timex has built upon its torture test, waterproof
watches and introduced a steady stream of technological
advancements including: the first full-featured sport watch
(Ironman Triathlon); an illuminated night light watch (Indiglo);
the first watch to interface with a personal computer (Data link);
and the first watch to use global positioning technology (Ironman
speed + distance system). Timex has also introduced a variety of
watches in cool colors and shapes to attract young, hip customers.
TRIVIA NOTE: Ad historians know
that Bulova created the "watch torture test" (including one
featuring a fall over Niagara Falls-"Bulova Clipper Conquers
When Bulova dropped the idea, Timex recycled it for its own ad
campaigns. Timex, founded in 1854, began as the Waterbury Clock Co
of Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1917, the US Army asked Waterbury to
redesign their popular "Yankee" pocket watch into a wrist watch
for their troops.
As the soldiers returned home after the war, the new watch design
became a favorite with the civilian population.
Newscaster John Cameron Swayze died on August 15th, 1995.
Timex ad "Alligator Swallows Explorer" with the tagline
"Ridiculously Easy to Use". Campaign created by the
Fallon Agency. Alligator created by Animal
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