The Timex Ironman Triathlon watch springs to mind for many when considering the purchase of a sport's watch. Understandably, as the Triathlon model has been partnered with sports since it's inception in 1984.
The connection was cemented in 1986 when Timex became involved with the famous Ironman Triathlon sporting event. Timex very cleverly aligned them with the Ironman Triathlon race which was in it's early days in a stroke of what in hindsight turned out to be marketing genius.
The original name Timex Triathlon watch was then replaced by the name Timex Ironman Triathlon watch, the diving capacity was increased to 100 meters, a few cosmetic changes were made along with the trademarked name and a new icon in watches was born.
Urban legend has it that when the original watches were taken to the first Ironman race to test the market, the watches literally ran out the door (excuse the pun). Triathlon entrants all wanted one of the originals which created scarcity which in turn fueled demand and publicity. It was in those early days that the slogan for the Timex Ironman Watch "takes a licking but keeps on ticking" was coined and the famous partnership between the Ironman Triathlon and Timex as the major sponsor was born.
Timex has since developed a number of Ironman Triathlon watches ranging from fairly basic models with limited sports functions to top of the range high tech GPS and Data Link watches to meet the ever increasing demands of the Triathlon world. The basic Ironman Triathlon Watch still includes time, stopwatch (chrono), timer, occasion alarm, and three other alarms. More sophisticated models have GPS, lap timing, iPod interface and the ability to upload and download data from and to your computer (data link) /
The first of the Ironman watches were worn by military and law enforcement personnel as the watch was considered bulletproof and had a rugged look. That's something that the Timex Ironman and Rolex have in common (sometimes the only thing apart from that they both tell the time), as Rolex watches were actually distributed during WW1 to enlisted men in the trenches.
In the early years the "Ironman Triathlon watch" was a man's watch. Due to popular demand a women's version which was smaller and also suitable for adolescents became available later in 1984. These early Ironman watches have become collectable and a quick search of eBay or collector's sites gives a good indication of the prices they fetch.
The Ironman Triathlon watch did not change until the early 90's when Indiglo was launched. This again proved to be a highly successful marketing move which was quickly emulated by competitors. Indiglo's electroluminescence was trademarked by Timex.
Indiglo lit up the entire watch face in a brilliant glow and dramatic colors which was a great improvement over the previous glow in the dark watch technology where only the tips of watch hands and numbers were able to be seen in the dark. INDIGLO technology also used less battery than other back lit watches and was an immediate hit with consumers.
Later as fashions changed Timex made Indiglo more bowl with less flouro colors. Indiglo remains a popular feature of Timex watches, particularly in the Ironman Triathlon range and the Timex Heart Rate Monitor models. The brightness of the watch face is a great advantage for sportsmen training or playing sports after dark.
The next major change to the Ironman Triathlon watch range was the introduction of data link and body link which took the series to a new level of innovation.
The Timex name has often been linked to famous people and landmark occasions. Timex watches appear classless and are not subject to the status symbol positioning of more expensive watch brands. Timex are often seen being worn by the rich and famous and an often quoted example of that President Clinton who was a favorite Timex Ironman Triathlon watch during his engagement (which he later donated to the Smithsonian museum). However, it is also true that President Clinton owned and wore a range of very elite and expensive watches throughout his term as president. Such as Panerai.
Timex Ironman Triathlon Datalink model 78401 graced the arm of astronaut Daniel T. Barry on the STS-72 Space Shuttle Endeavor. Even George W. was known to wear the durable and public relations friendly Time during his time in office when the occasion qualified. In another headline raising incident his Timex was mysteriously stolen from his wrist while in Albania.
A Timex Ironman Triathlon watch or any of the Data Link or 1440 series of watches are a rugged, long lasting watch with the respected name of Timex behind them.
In recent years other watch companies have given Timex some stiff competition, however, Timex is a household name and is synonymous with good old fashioned service and quality. Timex originally joint ventured with Walt Disney in producing the Mickey Mouse clock in 1933 and with their continued innovation and marketing magic it's hard to foresee that they will lose their reputation as the most trusted, reliable and affordable watch anytime soon.