“It was a moonless night in No Man’s Land. A man in khaki stood silently waiting in a frontline trench. In the darkness, his eyes were drawn, fascinated, to the luminous figures on the watch dial at his wrist… ”
So says the 1919 book “Time Telling Through the Ages,” a history of the Ingersoll Watch Company, as it paints a scene from World War I. The predecessors of Timex manufactured watches for Ingersoll and through the years, Timex watches would continue to be regarded as thoughtfully-designed timepieces for soldiers and civilians alike.
Now, Timex proudly continues its tradition of blending military-inspired utilitarianism with detail-focused design through the release of its new limited-edition NAM watch, created in collaboration with legendary menswear designer Nigel Cabourn.
The timeless designs of Nigel Cabourn
Using the Camper-style watches Timex designed for soldiers in the Vietnam War as a reference point, the military-inspired NAM timepiece was developed in celebration of Cabourn’s 50 years of creating generation-spanning menswear designs.
Working out of his Garden House atelier outside of Newcastle upon Tyne, Cabourn calls upon his renowned collection of more than 4,000 vintage military and outdoor clothing items and accessories for each piece he creates. Cabourn and his designs lie outside the realm of passing fashion trends, instead crafting each vintage military-inspired number with lifetime wear in mind.
Cabourn’s covetable designs are sold in six highly successful stores across Japan, a high-concept shop in London’s Covent Garden and retailers of fine fashion goods.
The NAM: An inspired collaboration
Cabourn brought his timeless design ethic to the NAM, drawing particular inspiration from Timex’s original military-spec watch, the MK-1. This Vietnam-era timepiece won the company a government contract with its simple, utilitarian, durable and inexpensive design, which featured a unique domed lens for visibility and sealed-in battery. Cabourn’s watch takes the practical, unfussy style of the MK-1 and updates it for vintage military enthusiasts.
The NAM is a stainless-steel watch with a smooth black dial that features a broad arrow at the 12 o’ clock position. Broad arrows have been used on military watches for centuries for easy readability, and the NAM pairs it with a vintage orange second-sweep hand. The timepiece comes with a L34 Ventile® strap, a sleek update to the nylon found in the vintage Campers, as well as an additional distressed leather slip-through strap that can be easily changed out for versatility. This collectible timepiece is packaged in a vintage-style cotton drill and herringbone army mending kit.
Timex and military watchmaking
Timex has a long tradition of crafting quality timepieces for the U.S. military. The company’s military involvement began during World War I, in an era where pocket watches were the style of the day. The first military wristwatches were made from welding two loops on a pocket watch to hold a strap, and then moving the crown from 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock. Wristwatches were not only more convenient than pocket models, but they also helped soldiers coordinate military advances. As such, they quickly became the standard timepiece for the war effort and soon after for the everyday man and woman.
The NAM is a covetable, limited edition watch that we’re excited to introduce to fans of Timex’s watchmaking heritage, Nigel Cabourn devotees, military-inspired watch aficionados and new buyers alike.