Timex Sprite 1974
A mysteriously rare version
I have only seen this one
Hi, this is Alan. Contact information is below, at the bottom.
Nothing about TIMEX should really be "shocking," but I was kind of shocked when I just saw this watch come up at auction, while looking through the listings. I've never seen it before, and I've seen thousands and thousands of TIMEX watches. It is a 1974 TIMEX, purchased from the UK, seller in London and is in the category of the small-ish "Sprite" watch model that had several versions in the Seventies. Many of these Sprites were multicolored, and had interesting, bold designs.
The watch seemed to fly under the radar, at the auction. I expected much more interest and a higher final value point, but it sold for £17.66. But thinking about it later, I think seller may not have listed it without enough information to show up in searches, as it was titled something like "Ladies Timex Working Condition."
(This was their auction photo. I usually don't include auction photos in these reviews, but it was such a cute photo with the green fuzzy material, and the bright red of the watch dial, it looked like Christmastime.)
These 1970s Sprite watches were small-ish, about 30.5 mm case diameter, which may be why the seller called it a ladies watch. To be honest, I don't know how the Sprite line was marketed. This particular Sprite was clearly worn by a child. The strap is short; I can barely wear it on this strap, using the last hole, and my wrist is small. You can tell which strap hole was used by the owner, by the wear and tear around the hole, and it was close to the lugs such that only a child's wrist could have fit. Does anyone know the history of how these were marketed? I even wonder if they were meant to be "time telling" watches, helping kids learn time, with the prominent marks to show the passage of the minutes.
Now, let's take a good look at the dial. I am not an artist, a designer of any kind, or a specialist in graphics, so my descriptions may be limited. But I would describe it as having high contrast, sharp distinctions between adjacent colors and shades, and having a "bold" appearance overall. You can see the colors (I know white, black and grey are not "colors," but just allow me...) are red, black, grey, and white. I find this a kind of striking look. Has a vague "medical" feel to it, to me, but that may just be because the red and white. Maybe more, it has a kind of "fashion look." Imagine a beautifully made dress, or a handbag, with these colors. Maybe it would be an unusual dress, but it would be striking.
Anyway, have a look. Grey circle at the center, with TIMEX & WATER RESISTANT. Hour circles in black, minute circles in grey for 5 minute increments. White numerals overly the grey and black circles. The grey circles appear very subtly larger than the black. Between the grey and black circles are white dots, counting off every minute/second. Finally, at the very edge of everything is a thin white circle. All across a background of red which I am going to call a "fire engine red." Don't forget the hands. White hands, with a thin red stripe along the hour and minute hands. These seemingly small details, just like the white dots and the big white circle at the edge, are not really small things, and contribute significantly the look of the watch.
Here is an argyle pattern with red, black, grey and white, similar to this TIMEX. It strikes my eyes as a pleasing combination of "colors."
It is still a mystery to me why I've never seen this TIMEX before Sept 2018. My default assumption when this happens with TIMEX watches (either never seen before, or very rarely comes up compared with other TIMEX from the same era that show up all.the.time.) is that "it probably wasn't made in large numbers." Which I think is a pretty good assumption, and probably the correct answer.
These auctions markets are like a huge funnel, collecting all the stuff no one wants anymore. If huge numbers of these were made, in comparable numbers to other TIMEX from the same (and often earlier) eras, watches which *are* showing up, why are these other ones not showing up? Another explanation is that they may have been made in the same numbers, but the original owners either liked them so much, they don't want to sell them, or thought they were worthless and threw them into the rubbish many years ago. I don't think either of these are likely.
Above pic: Just for fun, I took some pics using a 10x loupe magnifier pressed up against the aperture of my phone's camera. This was probably the best one. Certainly distorted. Adds a bit of craziness to this dial.
Thanks for looking. I hope you will like it.
Unusual, rare-seeming 1970s TIMEX Sprite with vivid, striking dial design.
If anyone has any more information about it, or if you have one of these yourself, please me know. Thank you.