This is NOT the "very first TIMEX ever made!" It is not the fabled "shipment of nurse watches bearing the TIMEX name in 1945." (I predict that watch will never be found, or conclusively identified as such, btw). Instead this is a very nice retail watch sold in the early 1950s, beginning in the year 1950. Click here for an archival drawing of this watch, from a March 1950 sales brochure sent out to merchants, one pic of many watches.
This is a nice watch. It is in very good shape. The case measures 27 mm across, chrome plate. The dial is clear and of high contrast. Outer minute chapter by 5 mins, in red. Black steel hands, and nice red seconds. "Made in USA" and "TIMEX."
The watch body is attached to a 10 inch fine chain. The chain pulls out from the "button" spool, which has a pin on the back for the nurse to attach to the uniform. So the watch hangs upside down, but properly oriented for the nurse to read the time, and frees the wrist from a wristwatch. The spool part is particularly lovely, with nearly perfect white enamel. The same treatment is on the back of the watch case (more.) Many more pictures below.
Note: since this page has been created, I've acquired another of these, and this page will show two different copies of this watch. This second watch has a bit more wear.
Hanging upside down from the spool pinned to a cushion. This way, it's upside down to everyone else, but as you grasp it and look at it, it's oriented correctly for you.
ARCHIVAL. Insets from two brochures. On left from March 1950, brochure for merchants, trying to encourage them to stock TIMEX. 1950 was the retail beginning of TIMEX. On the right is a pic from a large printed sheet that accompanied a wholesale delivery of a few dozen different watches and watch parts, likely sent to merchants stocking TIMEX products. Both brochures showed pics of many other watches typical for the era. While the left pic is documented March 1950, the other one has no date, but is felt to be no later than maybe 1951 or 1952 given the other watches present. "NCSM" was a code name, for the model. Early on in TIMEX, the watch models didn't even have names yet, and all had 3-4 letter codes.
You can see how far the retractable chain pulls out, wrapped around this "jeweler's pillow."
Watch number 2. The dial is really striking in both it's beauty and its utilitarian appearance. The could be the clockface of at a cafeteria, classroom, train station, factory floor, hospital ward, or anywhere where unambiguous, efficient time-telling is needed. Very high contrast, with white dial, black hands, black hour marks and hash marks. Very nice glossy red seconds hand. TIMEX and MADE IN U.S.A.
Nurse's Watch #2 came with the original box. All the tags and paperwork were present as well, see below.
Here it hands on a proper white cotton lab coat.
The TIMEX movement number 21 is used. Below stamp indicates movement 21. The other number I don't believe is model number, but may be factory/production number. You can see the numbers for the two different watches are not the same.
Here is the presentation box. There is a rounded depression in the green cardboard where the watch sits, and a slit below that anchors the pin of the spool device.
This was the tag that came with the box. Sold for $9.95 at the Famous-Barr Co. What was that. I searched it up, and found that it was a department store that opened in 1914 in St Louis, USA. It was also the first air conditioned department store in the United States. Famous-Barr is now closed.
I really love the dial and hands.
NCSM was a catalog code name for this watch model.
The backside of the spool device, showing the pin. MADE IN USA. I believe that these spools were not made by US TIME, but that they sourced them from some other company. I say this because I seem to remember seeing this exact same spool device with other pendant watches, other watch companies.
Sellers on ebay always. say. it. is. the. first. TIMEX. watch. That would be cool if it was true, but sadly it's not true.
But regardless of first, second, or fiftieth, this is a really neat little watch.
Thank you for reading. (Don't miss one more picture, below.)
This pink watch is not a TIMEX, but it's an old 1940s or 1950s watch that says JUNIOR NURSE, and shows a girl holding a tray with pink medicine.
Above email reply, from Mr Carl Rosa, TIMEX historian. It is in response to an email I sent him in November 2001, asking if the watch pictured here was "the very first TIMEX." Mr Rosa explains why the answer is "no." If this information from the historian and archivist isn't enough (and it's always good to have more data,) the fact that this watch was sold like any other watch in a St Louis department store, and the fact that it was pictured in a March 1950 sales brochure, as well as pictured along with a few dozen other TIMEX in a wholesale box of watches to a local seller the nails in the coffin to the "first TIMEX ever" ideas about this watch.