The first Mickey Mouse watch was designed by August Shallak and manufactured by the Waterbury Clock Company under its Ingersoll brand for sale at the 1933 Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. There were two models – a children’s wristwatch which sold for $3.75 (later reduced to $2.95) and a pocket watch which sold for $1.50. The watches featured Mickey with gloved hands indicating the hours and minutes and a small dial with three tiny Mickeys indicating the seconds; the wristwatches had a leather band decorated with an image of Mickey. Although they were quite expensive for the time (the middle of the Depression), 900,000 watches were sold during the first year, saving Waterbury from bankruptcy.
Mickey Mouse watches have been made by a variety of manufacturers ever since 1933, although for a period during the 1960s only the words “Mickey Mouse” appeared on the dial.
Following the success of the Mickey Mouse watch, almost every other Disney character has appeared on watches – sometimes by themselves and sometimes with Mickey. One of the most collectable is a 1972 Goofy watch, manufactured by Helbros, which his the numbers in reverse order and Goofy’s hands moving backwards to show the time.
Since 1983, Disney Stores have given free watches with the purchase of animated classic videos.