Timex History: Movement Exchange Plan Program, 1968

Alan N.
Alan N.

July 29th, 2005, 6:07 am #1

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
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RMF
RMF

July 29th, 2005, 12:15 pm #2

I wonder what was included in the Material System. A quantity of fresh movements, various models? I also wonder if the dealers recieved some payment from Timex for each watch serviced by the dealer under the Timex warranty (like auto dealers today). Further, I wonder how much effort Timex expended in reconditioning returned movements. Given the efficiencies of mass production, wouldn't it have been easier and cheaper for Timex to simply supply brand new replacement movements instead of having a technician troubleshoot and fix every movement? I surmise that Timex simply destroyed most of the movements returned, and that the even exchange policy insured against fraud claims for warranty repairs not actually performed by the dealers.

Also, I understand that Timex, back in the 50's and 60's (and later), uniquely marketed its watches through non-traditional retail outlets, such as drug and variety stores. I Frankly do not think that most drug store workers would have been capeable of handling movement swaps. There is plenty of opportunity to cause damage to the dial, hands, seals, case, etc., and its not quite as easy as the memo makes it sound. Could this plan have been targeted to certain dealers only?

Thanks for the post Alan. Its been somewhat slow on the board during these dog days of summer, and this is the most interesting post I have seen here in quite a while.
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Joined: May 8th, 2005, 11:38 am

July 29th, 2005, 12:42 pm #3

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
Most jeweler's did not want to carry Timex watches because they were considered difficult to service and throw away items. However, by equipping jeweler's to "swap" movements to provide warranty service to its customers, Timex may have been trying to get regular jewelry stores to feel "comfortable" with the watch so that they might actually offer them for sale. Such a watch might be the least expensive item in the jewelry store, but it could then serve to lure the low end watch purchaser into the store where he or she would see more expensive items to buy.



Back then (and even nowadays), most people felt too intimidated to enter a jewelry store because they automatically assumed there was nothing in it that they could afford. Knowing that such a store would carry and service the humble Timex watch would be an excellent way to help people overcome any fears they had and enter. And, while they were waiting to get their repaired Timex, they could look at all the other shiny babbles in the display cases...



technoguy
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RJ
RJ

July 29th, 2005, 3:31 pm #4

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
This is interesting. It seems logical that they would have done this, from a business standpoint. Back then there were probably more watch repair people at jewelry stores and most department stores.

Nowadays everything is so simplified (in all things) and cost-efficient. Fewer actual human beings are involved. You will just get a 30 day warranty from the seller, and an optional extended warranty which would probably just be a replacement of the entire watch. Or maybe Timex will allow you to send a broken watch to them, along with a payment, and they will either fix it or replace it with a "same or similar" watch.

I always thought it was funny that you would get a "similar" watch. How would they know you would even like it?
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John
John

July 29th, 2005, 3:47 pm #5

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
have first hand information on this program. One of the things I find interesting in the document is the reference to the #22 movement. According to a post by Dorsey H., in response to your post of Jun. 12, 2005 on a question of when the 100 series was made, Dorsey seemed to establish that the #22 movement was made during the time frame of 1958-1963. The document you have here is dated Jan. 1, 1968. That's five years after Timex discontinued the #22.Was Timex still taking care of five year old watches? The document you have is very interesting and I would appreciate knowing if it is a "stand alone" piece of paper or is it part of a larger book or series of papers? I also seem to remimber that someone posted that refurbished Timex movements at one time has a "RED" paint mark put on them at the factory. I'm sorry but it seems like I'm asking you more questions than I'm answering for you.
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Alan N.
Alan N.

July 29th, 2005, 8:24 pm #6

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
It is a stand alone paper that I found in a Timex Service Manuaul, you know the standard binder that you can find on eBay for 9.99

I've had a few of those, but one had tucked inside, this document.

What I really would like to find out is, what this a success. It's clear from this January 1, 1968 document, that Timex is introducing the idea to retailers/outlets. But we all know that many pilot projects, whether put on by Corporations or community organizations, have a way of either being successful or fizzling out. There's nothing to suggest, in any other communication I've ever received, that this idea took off and was successful. Maybe it had, but I just don't know, and I'd like to find out. Maybe it was too difficult and retailers just couldn't be bothered and told their customers, "you have to send it to Timex." There's nothing in the document that seems to imply it was mandatory for any retailer to be part of the program. I wonder if this really actually happened, or if retailers coudn't be bothered.

To: Timex Corp, could you please tell us the history of this program? You don't have to identify yourself as Timex, you could just call yourself, Richard or something, and say that you "used to run a small Jewelry shop in Antelope, Oregon and I used to remember that we'd..." ...
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Sevesteen, AKA Dave Johnson
Sevesteen, AKA Dave Johnson

July 30th, 2005, 1:49 am #7

In the back of my manual is a price list, including reconditioned movements and winding frames. Apparently the winding frames are the auto-wind parts. This price list is marked "Effective June 1, 1966". On the first page of the price list is a statement that
"Reconditioned movement and winding frame Assembly prices are based on four or more per order. Please add $.75 per order to cover cost of handling all orders of three or fewer." On the last page is the movement and winding frame price list:

Reconditioned Movements:
22 1.90
23 2.25
24 1.90
25 1.90
29 2.35
31 2.35
78 1.90


Reconditioned Winding Frames:

29, 31, 32, 74 1.25

It also lists credit returns--0.50 for all movements but #23, which is 0.65, and .25 for all winding frames.

The most expensive part in the catalog is the Skindiver case, at $8.60. A chrome Marlin or Viscount case is 1.80, or 2.45 for yellow.
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Bill T
Bill T

July 30th, 2005, 2:37 am #8

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
Timex was a very large company in 1968. Besides watches they were also the manufacturer of Polaroid Land Camera and Polaroid Swinger model. The first cameras were manufactured in Middlebury and then moved to Little Rock. I should also mention the Gyroscope and flight control business based in Irvington on the Hudson in New York.

A Timex stabilization system allowed U.S. Astronnauts to maneuver outside their space craft.

In the 60's Middlebury was the Headquarters and manufactured most of the watch parts for the US and European markets. Little Rock Plant One assembled watches and Plant Two provided repair and service for all Timex watches in the US. The Abilene Texas plant manufactured the 23 movement.

With sales of almost thirty million watches, I would guess that more repair outlets would be needed.

Bill T




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RJ
RJ

July 30th, 2005, 7:02 am #9

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
I wonder why they did this in 1968. Why did they wait so long? Maybe they were doing the same thing they had done (or tried to do) before but with new tactics, promising the sellers "lucrative profits." No doubt Timex was a popular selling watch many years before that time.

Or maybe it was a result of introducing jeweled watches, and getting people used to having their Timexes repaired.

I imagine the results were varied depending on each seller.

I wonder what the typical price of a Timex back then was, along with the typical repair price. Did people even consider getting a Timex repaired? People must have seen them as "disposable" watches. Many people would rather just get a new watch than to get something so cheap repaired.

But there are also people who don't understand the idea of disposable gadgets, and think that everything needs to be repaired. I admit I was a teenager before I understood that a broken portable stereo couldn't be fixed for less than it cost.

When I was in college I worked with a guy in his thirties who wore this cheap watch his girlfriend bought him a KMart. It must have been cheaper than Timex because we were talking about Timexes and he sort of raved about them. Anyways, the crystal broke and he took it back to get it fixed. It was going to cost $20 but he did it because they both loved it, and KMart had given him a "loaner" to wear while they sent it off to get fixed.

So there were people getting these kinds of watches repaired.
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John
John

August 1st, 2005, 3:18 pm #10

See the document below. Very interesting. I'll let you read it, then if you want you can read my comments, below the document. It is very upbeat and seems to "assure success" and "lucrative profits" to the jewelers who participated?



Does anyone have any bona fide inforation on this program? How long did it last? Did it begin in 1968, the date of this memo or earlier? Was it considered a success?

It's fascinating to me... the task of honoring the 1 year warranty, for Timex, must have become at some point overwhelming. People send in their watch, then they had to sort it all out, fix watch, send it back. Someone must have realized it might be more efficient to have the jeweler do it, as explained here. Jeweler gets a bunch of movements, and when guy's Timex is broken, he swaps the movement from that cache, and then when he accumulates enough broken ones, he sends back to Timex, they clean and condition them, and start the cycle over. It sounds brilliant. Did it work? Anyone have any concrete experience with this, bona fide information. Maybe most importantly, did it really benefit the watchmaker/jeweler, all the "lucrative profits" did they realize them through this program, or was this more of a "dump" of the repair problem and warranty, onto the jeweler, selling him on the deal with promise of huge profits. I wonder...
to keep this string going.The document is identified as #1 at the bottom. I notice also that no person signed the document , rather it has a "rubber stamp" . The document looks like it did NOT come from The United States Time Corporation. It appears to have been sent by a "wholesaler"--the Morris Rosenbloom & Co. material division. It is interesting that both the words "assured" and " insure" are used. The use of the "assurance" to the dealer is not much more than a promise to try to do right for the dealer. I don't think it would rise to the level of "insuring" or "guaranteeing" the dealer a profit-- only assurances of something called "success". The "lucrative profits" don't seem to be guarnteed or assured. U. S. Time seems to be keeping it's distance by having the wholesaler carry the program. If anyone has documents showing who the wholesalers or middlemen were for U. S. Time in the 1960s, some of these companies (the Co. that sent this document) may still be in business and could provide answers to Alan N's questions on the outcome of this program.Alan said he found this in a "Timex manual". With all of these manuals being used and saved has a document like this never surfaced before?
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