Obviously, Mickey was a ginormous star, even by 1933 when this watch was first released. It had been 5 years already since Mickey debuted in Steamboat Willie and everybody knew the Mouse. But it was a stroke of genius–or maybe desperation–that got his image onto a watch face.
The Ingersoll watch company was on the brink of bankruptcy. The country was in a recession and watches were not a necessary item for most people. So, what could the Ingersoll Company do? give people another reason to buy a watch! Their favorite animate mouse was now going to point to the right time for them!
The watches were not the first item to bear Mickey’s image (that distinction goes to a writing tablet) but they are one of the most popular of all time. In the first day (today (August 8 (in 1933))), the Mickey Mouse watch sold over 11,000 units for $2.95 each at the New York Macy’s. Ingersoll sold over 2.5 million watches in the first two years and had to raise its work force from 200 people to over 3000!
To further add to the impact of the brilliant decision, we know that Mickey Mouse watches are still popular today. Not only that, but they are typically still a high quality item, sometimes even excessively so in certain editions. Check out this bling:
Have you ever owned a Mickey watch? I have not. I don’t really wear watches since cell phones tell us the time. Maybe they need a cell phone app that just keeps Mickey’s hands moving with the time while your phone is locked? Sign me up, Ingersoll Cellular!