The 1953 Timex Ben Hogan folding watch features a simple touch to a button on the side of the watch would activate a spring-loaded lid, exposing the dial—facing upward—making the reading of time quick and convenient. Worn clipped to the belt, it left the wrist unfettered to comfortably swing a golf club.
Ben Hogan is a very big name in golf, preceding such iconic players as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nickolas, and just as famous. Ben Hogan lent his name to all sorts of golf equipment, clothing, and accessories, but most especially golf clubs. One interesting item with the Hogan moniker is this watch, which was worn clipped to the belt, leaving the wrist unfettered to swing a club. Anne S. from Sacramento has such as watch, and requested a valuation for it through WothPoint’s “Ask A Worthologist” program. I received the request and this is what is was able to tell her:
A simple touch to a button on the side of the watch would activate a spring-loaded lid, exposing the dial—facing upward—making the reading of time quick and convenient. The lid snaps shut with an easy motion, leaving the view of alligator skin, perfectly matching the belt it is clipped to… very stylish!
The watch was made by Timex, which was and still is a very successful producer of cheap but functional and stylish sport watches, touted for their toughness. I can still hear those old TV commercials with Curt Gowdy espousing that Timex watches “take a licking and keep on ticking!”
The cases of these watches were inevitably made from low-cost material, like aluminum or stainless steel. This one is covered with faux alligator—possibly leather or even vinyl—to give the appearance of a more expensive watch. Golf watches have been produced since the 1930s by several different makers, the most proliferate being Movado, but some even sport the name Cartier and are made of Sterling silver and gold. Golf, until the 1950s was basically a rich man’s game. The Ben Hogan line of golf products was one of first to open the game to the working man. The mechanism of this watch will be a cheap but robust pin-lever movement with a 30-hour run time. The watch was sold along with a whole line of golfing accessories bearing the Hogan name, all very affordable and reasonably priced to appeal to a wide range of golfers. Stylish enough for the wealthy and cheap enough for the working sportsman, this watch is also a veritable boon to the collector of today.
The 1953 Timex Ben Hogan folding watch side view.
The belt clip, which allowed the wearer to know the time and keep the wrist unfettered.
The cover is faux alligator to give the appearance of a more expensive watch.
Most of the Hogan line—especially the clubs—have survived to be fairly common today, but the more fragile piece, like this watch, are a good bit more difficult to locate. Unfortunately, there’s not enough demand or quality for it to command a high price, but it’s a piece of Ben Hogan golf accessories that would make a whole lot of collectors happy.
This watch would have an insurance replacement value at $200-$300, mainly because of the difficulty in locating another with condition. Realistic value is $75 to $150, and without the Ben Hogan moniker, it would be had for $25. A Movado version would fetch in the $350-$500 range in silver, and quite a bit more in gold.
Author’s Note: Repairing a Timex golf watch—like for all Timex watches—is almost impossible short of an overhaul or complete replacement of the watch mechanism. Timex watches were never designed to be repaired and Timex used to supply watchmakers with a line of different watch mechanisms in a kit, complete and ready to replace the former broken mechanism. Quick, easy and cheap. The Timex watch was one of the original and most successful of the “use and toss” products of the “disposable Society.” Collecting Timex watches can be interesting and fun. Putting together an interesting collection can be challenging but very reasonable and easy on the pocket.
Remember, they take a licking and keep on ticking!
David Mycko is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in antique and vintage watches.
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