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Swiss vs. U.S. Watch Industry? "Click" to Login or Register 
Let me try to give you all a perspective from somebody who actually worked in the watch industry in the '65-'68 time frame.

In the early days of a lengthy engineering career, and just prior to immigrating to the United States I was the Chief Tool Design Engineer for Timex, in Dundee, Scotland for about a three year period. .

Rather than give you a history of Timex, here's a link you may find interesting.


When I worked for Timex, the manufacturing plants in Dundee employed approx. 2000-3000 people. On a daily basis we made and assembled around 25,000 mechanical watches. In addition we assembled Polaroid Land cameras and "The Swinger", members this one ? Wink

In addition to the the manufacture of complete watches, the Dundee plants were also a major supplier of all types of movement and case parts which were shipped to Canada,the U.S., Germany and France where other manufacturing and assembly plants were located. I can assure you all, in it's time,this was high volume manufacturing at it's very, very best. We imported and used the very best Swiss screw machines for making pinions,stems, screws etc.etc. In it's day Timex were leaders in mechanical automation which was designed and mainly manufactured within the company. Remember this was in the days before computers. We used air logic circuits and hydraulics and other electro mechanical technologies which were state of the art at that time.

My role and the team I managed, was to design high speed press tooling, screw machine tooling and semi- manual assembly tooling used in the high volume manufacture of movement and case parts for the Timex product lines which our Scottish plants were responsible for.

Quality from top to bottom was a primary objective throughout the Timex Corporation. Smile When you make large quantities of anything, you must build in quality, or you won't be making it for very long.On a regular basis components from well known Swiss watch companies would be put through the same type of Timex quality inspections and statistical controls to see how we stacked up. Let me simply say, our results were very favorable compared to some of these marquee names of the day. I can assure you the famous old Timex motto
"it takes a licking and keeps on ticking" was very well earned.
Big Grin

I think you can see from the Timex products which are made today that they appear to maintain the same philosophy.

During my stay at Timex the most expensive watches we made were the West German & French back set electric watches.

I'll save the rest of my story for some other day. (to be cont'd.) Big Grin

Dave Freeman
IHC Member 321
Posts: 976 | Location: Texas in the U.S.A. | Registered: January 27, 2004
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