People sometimes say this exact watch is the "first watch ever to have the TIMEX name." In the McDermott history book on Timex, there is mention that in 1945, 5 years before US TIME rolled out the Timex brand for retail sales, "a small batch of nurse's watches were made with the TIMEX name," the first ever watches with the TIMEX name. I think there is a very good chance that that 1945 watch looked much like this, possibly even identical. It seems that if US TIME had made a nurse watch in 1945, and then 5 years later when they rolled out the TIMEX brand in 1950 featuring a nurse watch, that they could be the same, maybe a different movement, or other differences.
So,I think it's very likely that the "1945 watch" looked like this, though I can't say 100% for sure. No one can. But I want to emphasize that the chance that any actual watch that anyone has in their collections, or for sale on ebay or anywhere else, is exactly a watch that was truly made in 1945 as part of this small batch of nurse watches, is virtually zero. See my synopsis of al this at the bottom fo the page.
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. Funny, the left drawing shows it upside-down!
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 hangs 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.
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.
The Famous-Barr store in Clayton, Missouri, 1948.
Here is another nurse watch, from Ingersoll. I used to own this, and really regret selling it. I think it's even more beautiful than the TIMEX one. It is larger. It is detached from the spool/chain, but you can see the metal loop where the chain attaches. Some fancy decoration on that top part, too.
I wonder if maybe that "first watch with the TIMEX name on the dial," that "small shipment of nurse watches" could have looked like this? Again, UNKNOWN.
Ingersoll was a brand of US TIME. The Ingersoll name was still used on watches made by US TIME after the advent of the TIMEX brand, but far less Ingersoll watches were made after 1950 than TIMEX watches. This Ingersoll nurse watch therefore may have been 1940s, and it's conceivable that US TIME, when making this nearly mythical "shipment of nurse watches in 1945," used this model, and instead put TIMEX on the dial. But these are theories.
What is the "upshot," about whether or not this is the "first Timex?"
Here are my thoughts:
I think it is very likely that the first 1945 Timex watch, the "small batch of nurse watches," looked exactly like this retail watch from 1950s, or very close to it. Maybe the 1945 watch was a different one, like the Ingersoll pictured, but I think this one seems more likely.
Having said that, I believe that the chance that any one of these watches ACTUALLY IS one of those 1945 "small batch" nurse watches is exceedingly small, close to zero.
If an ebay seller says that the watch they are selling is one of those that was made in 1945, I think the chance of that being correct is virtually zero. These are not in the realm of "rare Timex."
The chance that one for sale on ebay somehow ISN'T one of these retail watches that sold at countless retail outlets in the 1950s, but is somehow instead a surviving watch from a small batch of watches in 1945 is virtually zero. I mean, come on.
Having said all that, I think this is a special watch in that it likely looks virtually the same as that 1945 watch.
So, you could say it's a "continuation of commercial production and retail sale, after a 5 year gap, of the first watch that had the Timex name on the dial."
How's that, everyone happy? :)
The "very first Timex watch" ?
The very first watch with Timex on the dial (1945 most likely looked like this, though I'm virtually certain that none of the ones that anyone is selling on ebay, or have in their collections, actually is from from 1945. Seem confusing? It's all explained below.