“Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” For years this is the image that has been associated with Timex watches – dependable, reliable, almost indestructible. Timex’s (www.timex.com) advertising was closely associated with the Timex image. The advertising campaign featured different attempts to destroy Timex watches that failed to stop the Timex from ticking. One memorable ad showed a Timex watch strapped to the propeller of a motor boat before being driven across the lake. The dripping watch was proudly displayed as the second hand swept past the face of the watch.
Timex has been the industry leader since 1960. In fact, Timex’s share of the Canadian and US watch market was 50 percent by the late 1960s, and as much as 20 percent worldwide. However, Timex missed several important environmental trends that changed the industry. For one thing, Timex stuck to analog technology, losing money and market share to competitors that adopted digital technology in the 1970s. By the time Timex caught on to the importance of the electronic watch, competitors had already developed and marketed far-superior products. Timex employees dubbed the first Timex electronic watches “quarter pounders” because of their clumsy, clunky appearance. In 1982, a Swiss company approached Timex and asked it to do the worldwide marketing for a new product. Timex turned down the offer, believing the garish plastic watches would be a flop. It was a major blunder for Timex. Swatches became a fashion success around the globe. By 1983, domestic market share for Timex had fallen to about 17 percent, with operating losses approaching $100 million.
Times changed and so did consumer needs and wants for watches. C. Michael Jacobi, Timex president since 1992, says that Timex’s biggest mistake was failing to keep up with the watch’s evolution from a functional object to a fashion accessory. Your watch tells the world who you are or what you want to be....