TIMEX Sprite 'Military'
In the Sixties military inspired watches were very popular. TIMEX introduced their Sprite 'Military' in 1966. It turned out to be a model that kept it's place in the TIMEX product portfolio untill the early Eighties. During this period, this Sprite 'Military' was available in a non-date and a date (calendar) version and in various case forms. The dial configuration however remained unchanged.
Here is an overview of the different models and references of the Sprite Military.
Model 24 (no-date)
1966 - 1970*
1969 - 1970
ref. 1157 (champaign dial)
ref. 2307 / 23070
1972 - 1973 - 1975
ref. 23570 / 23070
1974 - 1975
1979 - 1980
* Cathedral hands - the US models of reference 1158 from 1966 - 1968 have cathedral hands where the European models have the regular dauphine hands
Model 25, 101* (date)
1971 - 1978
1974 - 1975
1979 - 1980
1982 - 1983*
ref. 21553 (champaign dial)
The calendar version of the Sprite Military only came in one case configuration, the round one.
Military or something completely different?
The Sprite is called military because of the resilience to the military watches in the past. However, as the Sprite models are boys size watches they also can have a different purpose. According to the Italian TIMEX Collezione 75 catalog this watch was 'didattico per imparare a leggere l'ora' which means they were meant to educate the youth to learn telling time by looking at their watch.
My TIMEX Sprite 'Military' collection
At first I thought having one Sprite 'Military' in my TIMEX collection would suffice. Then, when I learned that there are different case forms and different reference numbers the collector's itch took over and I found myself hunting more of these interesting TIMEX Sprite models. Here is what I've been able to collect so far.
These 5 pieces represent all available case forms TIMEX issued in their Sprite 'Military' series. Square, cushion, round and tapered. Adding one with cathedral hands would complete the collection. And then there is a special champaign dial one from 1970 ...
The Special Ones
Fun of collecting vintage TIMEX watches is the fact they've sold millions of them all over the world. This means it's just a matter of time they reach the world's or local market places. This even goes for the special ones I mentioned before. So I'm pleased te present these last two models within my TIMEX Sprite 'Military' collection, a Cathedral hands from 1967 and the champaign dial from 1970.
TIMEX Camper - the new TIMEX Military
From 1983 onwards a new military TIMEX was introduced, called the Camper. A rugged all purpose field watch in a monocoque plastic watch case on a washable strap. A well known 1983 advertisement from Italy refers to the Camper as the MARINES WATCH from TIMEX, the kind of watch equipment used by the American Marines. The narative is that this commercial model (ref. 29911) was very similar to the MIL-spec watch TIMEX produced as a trial in 1981. The mechanical Camper was produced untill the early nineties.
Although there are lot's of vintage TIMEX collectors that love and collect the Camper series, I am not one of them. I only have one of the nineties quartz models and just because I came across this TIMEX Promotion water bottle and thought it had to be accompanied by a real TIMEX Camper. So, because it was more of a gadget I bought myself a cheap quartz Camper.