If you’re a Timex enthusiast and spend any time at all on Instagram, you’re likely familiar with the work of Ark Zaydman. He runs the @heritagetimex account, and has built up an impressive following posting photos of classic watches from the Timex archive, and telling the story of the brand. As of today he’s launching a new venture dubbed Heritage 1854, a full featured website that one could easily imagine wiling away hours on sifting through mountains of Timex data.
The goal of Heritage 1854 is to be the number one resource for Timex collectors and enthusiasts on the internet, and to serve as an “online museum” to the brand. According to Zaydman, Heritage 1854 will include resources for collectors of vintage Timex to repair, restore, and better understand their watches.
Zaydman has been involved in the Timex community since 2016, and from the start he noticed that the brand and community were somehow underserved. “I very quickly realized there was a large disconnect between the horological community and what is essentially one of the only surviving American watch brands,” says Zaydman. “Yes, the community gets excited when Timex does a fun reissue, but overall, there isn’t that same reverence that other, much younger brands get.” Zaydman, through his Instagram account, takes Timex and the brand’s history seriously. “History and knowledge dies unless someone puts the work in to collect and preserve it,” he says. And since launching his Instagram account, Zaydman has noticed an increased level of interest in vintage Timex.
Heritage 1854 has three key goals, according to Zaydman. First is to take a quality over quantity approach, highlighting Timex’s history through photographs of “museum quality” watches. Zaydman wants people discovering the brand to see the aesthetic beauty in these watches, and to respect their design. Second, he wants to honor and preserve the brand’s history. This includes a cataloging of not only watches, but catalogs, advertisements, and repair manuals. Lastly, Zaydman hopes that through Heritage 1854 he can continue to play a role in building the vintage Timex community online and through his social media platform. Zaydman networks with other Timex collectors to share information, all with the intention of ensuring the brand’s story is documented and told in an interesting way.
Having a chance to explore the website prior to launch was a bit like unearthing a time capsule from the middle part of the last century. In addition to a blog that highlights Zaydman’s impression of specific, sometimes tough to find models, the website includes an extensive archive of Timex watches that goes back to 1949 (before the “Timex” brand name was officially launched). Looking through the historical archive of Timex watches, it’s striking how diverse the brand’s collections were throughout the decades, and underlines the importance of Zaydman’s scholarship and accounting of this information. As any vintage watch enthusiast knows, finding clear photographs and information on any particular reference can be quite a chore. As a collector, having a place on the internet where you can identify a watch, whether it’s a potential purchase, an attic find, or something you’ve owned for years and just want to know more about, is invaluable.
The website is divided into several distinct sections and is thoughtfully laid out and easy to browse. While a casual Timex fan will certainly be able to find a lot of useful information here, Heritage 1854 is unabashedly geared toward the serious Timex aficionado. Case in point: the extensive section of the website cataloging Timex movements through the years, complete with high resolution imagery of original movement documentation from Timex repair manuals, including disassembly and reassembly instructions (no doubt intended for watchmakers charged with servicing these calibers).
This is clearly a passion project for Zaydman, and he has lofty goals for the website. “I want to keep creating a place where the Timex watch nerds can feel safe flashing their wrists,” he says. “I want someone who grabs their first Timex and knows nothing about it to be able to go onto this site and quickly identify and even learn how to restore it if they would like.” If Zaydman reaches his goal, Heritage 1854 will be a place Timex is given the respect that he and many other collectors believe it’s worthy of, and they’ll pick up plenty of converts in the process.
While the website goes live today, Zaydman wants visitors to know that it’s still a work in progress, and more information will be added over time, including some gaps that need to be filled in the model archive. He’s also working on a section dedicated to archiving Timex catalogs through the years, which should be another helpful resource to collectors and Timex scholars. It’s all part of providing a resource to collectors that Zaydman believes is unique on the internet. “No other brand currently has something like this,” he says, “and I am glad to help build it.”
Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.