Talking Technology and Timelessness with Timex
posted by Maggie Zuvanich and Joy Kruse
This article is part of a series of interviews conducted by LIM students with winners of the Accessories Council’s 2019 Design Excellence Awards (DEA). Students are enrolled in Fashion Merchandising Professor Andrea Kennedy's Introduction to the Fashion Business class.
Timex has been a leading brand in timekeeping since it opened in 1854 as the Waterbury Clock Company. Located in Connecticut, they have been helping people tell time with innovative products such as the Yankee Pocket Watch and even a sports watch for athletes. In 2001, Timex moved from their original Waterbury, CT factory to their new headquarters in Middlebury, just a few miles away.
We were honored to meet with Timex’s Vice President of Marketing and Product, Amy Pflaum. She was happy to meet with us to discuss the brand as well as winning the Accessories Council Design Excellence Award for their Celestial Opulence watch.
We started out by asking Amy how she began working for one of the best known watch companies in the business. She explained to us that she grew up around Timex, so working there was “in her blood.” Her grandmother worked in manufacturing when the company was still under its original title and her mother ended up working in the corporate office. Amy spent many weekends around the offices when she was young and has appreciated its heritage and reputation ever since.
As for that reputation, Amy puts it as follows: “Making great watches at attainable price points.” They are driven by the mission of putting the customer first.
The Celestial Opulence watch stemmed from a romantic fascination with the night sky. Amy explained that after producing floral-inspired watches for spring, they really wanted to shift their focus upward into the sky and the zodiac, showing that evolution of their products. Combining this trendy design with an automatic watch, one of the more complicated watch movements, really exemplifies Timex’s heritage as a watchmaker. Beyond the award, the Celestial Opulence collection has been so well received among customers that the brand plans to evolve the concept further into the fall 2020 season.
Working in the watch business for the past 15 years, six of those with Timex, Amy has witnessed changes at Timex and in watch design, all driven by technology. The Timex system is now entirely online. They can make high resolution 3-D renderings in a matter of minutes. For the product development team in Connecticut, and their collaboration with the design team in Milan, Italy, 3D printing has brought in a new way of designing. This makes it possible to create a high-quality print that can be worn on a wrist. 3-D printing allows for them to make sure they are happy with the proportions, sizing, and dimensions of the watch, and make changes before making the metal samples.
Amy recognizes that winning the Design Excellence Award for the Celestial Opulence watch is an honor for Timex. Most importantly, she hopes it will bring awareness to all the great styles they offer and the full breadth of the Timex collection.
We were lucky enough to get connected with Amy through Jenna Becker, Timex’s Brand Marketing Manager and an LIM College alumna. Jenna took us on a virtual tour of Timex’s headquarters in Middlebury. One area we found very interesting was the American Documents Watch Lab. This is where watches in the American Documents collection are made inhouse and by hand. They call it the “heart of the building.” On the second floor, a large, open space houses desks for a portion of the 200 employees that work in the headquarters, creating many opportunities for collaborative teamwork. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for lots of natural light and a serene workspace. The company also takes pride in their ecofriendly efforts, sporting solar panels on the roof.
As students seeking advice, Jenna and Amy offered us some words of wisdom. First, to always do our best because someone will always be looking, even when you think they aren’t. Jenna also advised us to take advantage of all the opportunities LIM offers, knowing firsthand how beneficial every experience is; she knows how they can set us apart as candidates in the job world. Most importantly, given the sacrifices people sometimes make for their careers, both women told us to absolutely love what we do.
We loved being able to connect with a brand and women so genuine in what was our first fashion industry experience, and we will take all of the guidance to heart, keeping it in our minds as we continue our educations here at LIM. Jenna and Amy also generously sent each of us our own Celestial Opulence automatic watch, which we both wear in pride, honored to be representing such an innovative brand that will continue to thrive as it grows with the times.