TIMEX and the Olympics
Just like many other watch brands, TIMEX made OLYMPICS versions of their models. These can be recognized from the Olympics logo as well as the crest of the American US Team printed on the dial and the year of participation. As an all American watch Company, TIMEX chose the years 1976 and 1980 to support the US Olympics Team. However, circumstances were not ideal as the Games of those years didn't proceed as planned.
The 1976 Olympic Winter Games
The 1976 Winter Games were originally awarded to Denver, Colorado. Reason why TIMEX chose to support the US Team by issuing the members a special TIMEX Olympics watch. A TIMEX Q for the men and a TIMEX Electric for the ladies.
However, the fear for environmental damage and an increase in cost made the citizens of Colorado to vote against staging the event. Denver withdrew as host and Innsbruck was awarded its second Winter Olympics. The Olympic tournament where Eric Heiden debuted before becoming world famous during the Winter Games of 1980 in Lake Placid.
the original ref. 81350
Olympics ref. 81352
The 1976 TIMEX Olympics watch was part of a special group of watches issued to the US Olympians participating in the 1976 Winter Olympics. These watches were not commercially available. However, in 1977, there seem to be TIMEX Olympics watches for the general public / TIMEX fan. Just the crest of the US Olympics Team with Olympics logo is visible on the TIMEX Q Day-Date as you can see above.
The 1980 Olympic Summer Games
TIMEX's second shot at issuing a succesful Olympics watch. A TIMEX 'Pepsi' Quartz Day-Date watch for the Summer Olympics held in Moscow. Unfortunately for TIMEX, these Games were boycotted by the US at the last moment because of the invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 by the Russians.
So I present you the TIMEX Olympics watch that wasn't issued after all. A highly sought after and hard to find timepiece that truly has been a witness of history.
Probably a handfull of these watches are still out there. A true grail watch for every enthousiastic vintage TIMEX collector. Hope to get mine one day.
The 1980 Olympic Winter Games
This time the venue was held on American soil. The Winter Games of Lake Placid, New York, became a great succes for the US Team. Not only won Eric Heiden 5 gold medals in speed scating. Also the United States men's hockey team beat the USSR for a spot in the final before beating Finland and winning the gold medal. And the TIMEX Q Olympics was a witness of these successes. HODINKEE published a great article on one of these watches coming to auction in February 2014.
A rare Canadian TIMEX issued Olympic Watch
Sometimes you are pleasantly surprised by a vintage TIMEX watch you haven't come across before. On the Instagram account of a fellow TIMEX Enthusiast I saw this beautiful Marlin Calendar, reference 27569 commemorating the participation of Canada in the 1980's Olympics. Just love the blue and white contrast and how the red hour markers interact with the Maple Leaf.