Disney &
Bradley Watch History

Bradley Mixkey Watch  Bradley Minnie Watch Bradle Time Alarm Clock

There are many Bradley character watches for sale on eBay, many of them popular Disney character watch models. If you not aware of the history of Bradley watches, these ads can be confusing. The prices, year of manufacture, and other information in these ads are so varied that it's clear they cannot all be correct. How do you know exactly how old a Bradley watch is? How common are these models? Are they worth the prices listed on these ads

Unless you're a watch collector, chances are you wouldn't know much about these classic collectible watches. Here we will try to demystify these issues for you and give you some solid background information that will help you make your own choices when it comes to purchasing these items

Disney character watch history began in 1933, when Ingersoll manufactured the first Mickey Mouse watch that is commonly considered by most people to be the first comic character wristwatch. In 1957, Ingersoll became U.S. Time, and around 1968 the name was changed again to Timex. Ingersoll/U.S. Time/Timex, therefore, had the license to manufacture Disney watches from 1933 up until 1968. From 1968 to 1972, several companies were licensed to produce Mickey Mouse watches, many of which were sold exclusively in Disneyland. These included Helbros, Hamilton, the Vantage Watch company, and Elgin.

In 1972 Timex chose not to continue with the lucrative Disney contract, and it was acquired by Elgin National Industries, Inc, on January 1, 1972. Bradley Time Division of Elgin National Industries produced most of the Disney character watches for the next thirteen years. Therefore, Disney Bradley watches were produced between 1972 and 1985.

1933 - Ingersoll
1957 - Ingersoll/U.S. Time
1968 - U.S. Time/Timex
1972 - Bradley
1985 - Lorus/Seiko

This is very surprising to many people who believe strongly that Disney Bradley watches were around in the 1960's. There are countless ads for Bradley Mickey Mouse watches from the 1960's, and even some dated from the 1950's! Obviously, these are incorrectly documented. Bradley certainly made character watches for many years before obtaining the Disney contract, including characters like Popeye, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, and the Allstar Baseball watch. However, Bradley Disney watches were produced during or after 1972. Bradley produced about 1800 different watch varieties during their contract with Disney! That's a lot of watches. Hy Brown and his wife Nancy Thomas have written a definite tome on character watch collecting, and have included a period from 1973 - 1985 called "The Bradley Years", as Bradley watches dominated the character watch marketplace with both Disney and non-Disney themed character watches.

While Mickey Mouse is the undoubted leader in the character watch parade, Bradley produced other character models that are also popular. Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Cinderella, Snow White, Mary Poppins, and Alice in Wonderland are other popular Disney models manufactured in the early 1970's. The Cinderella Bradley watch, in particular, is often misrepresented with regard to age with many ads listing a Bradley Cinderella watch as being from the 1950's or 1960's. The earliest Cinderella Bradley watch that we could find documented was manufactured in 1973. Bradley manufactured Mickey watches in nearly limitless variations with regards to case shape and color, bands, crystals, and even had pendant watches made that are very hard to find now in mint condition and in their original packaging. The Mickey Mouse pocket watches were also a big hit and are very popular with collectors today.

Some Disney Bradley watch items of note are:
~Mickey Mouse "jump hour" watches
~men's divers watch models
~Mickey and Goofy sports line of watches
~Disco Mickey watch and record set
~animated dial watches
~Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Registered Edition Birthday watches
~the "nodding head" Mickey and Minnie watches.


Bradley and Elgin also manufactured a line of high quality Mickey Mouse timepieces for men and women, some with varying shapes of cases such as rectangular, boxed, circular, and hexagonal, and many with beautiful and unique stainless steel and goldtoned steel cases and unique metal bands or premium quality leather bands. These are worth considerably more than the children's sized versions, especially if they come mint in their original box and in running condition. Many of these "adult" Bradley watches are highly unique and beautiful, and can fetch quite a sum when put up for auction. The estimated value depends on the watch and packaging condition and the rarity of that particular piece. While most Bradley watches are wind-up wristwatches, beginning in the early 1980's they began producing models that were battery operated. Most Bradley watches are distinguished by the "Bradley" logo at the top of the dial above the number twelve, while many of the battery operated have the "Bradley Quartz" logo to distinguish them from the wind-up, manual models

Bradley produced many other non-Disney character watches in this same period. Other characters include Bugs Bunny, Underdog, Cat in the Hat, Hot Wheels, Smoky the Bear, Barbie, Sesame Street, Star Wars, Raggedy Ann, Holly Hobbie, Popeye, Strawberry Shortcake, Superman, Mighty Mouse, Elvis Presley, and others. In 1987, Bradley released a line entitled "The Oldies", a series of character watches featuring never-to-be-forgotten stars in both plastic cases and higher quality, beautiful stainless steel cases in a deluxe watch box, all of which are popular collector's items. These characters included Elvis Presley, W.C. Fields, Emmett Kelly Jr., Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, the 3 Stooges, Marilyn Monroe, and Charlie Chaplin.

Many sellers want to know exactly what their item is "worth" (specific dollar value) before putting it up for sale, as though there is a specific dollar value for any collectible and retired timepiece. As any watch collector knows, there is no "set" value for any given timepiece no matter how old or collectible it is. While one buyer may pay no more than $30 for a mint condition Bradley watch, some buyers are willing to pay up to $100 for the same model. The condition of the watch is of primary importance, and is actually secondary to working condition. The packaging also plays a part in determining the price, and the condition of the packaging. Many buyers will pay top dollar for a mint condition Bradley watch in its original box, with all paperwork in a mint case with the original cardboard liner. You can get an idea of what the watches are selling for by doing an eBay search on completed listings for Bradley watches. While Mickey Mouse is very popular, other characters are not as common and therefore may command much more in an auction. For example, the Mary Poppins Bradley watch is quite rare and would fetch considerably more for a comparable Mickey Mouse watch of the same age and in the same condition.

While some reference books that give a dollar value to collectible watches, by the time these have been published, the values have usually already changed. Discrepancies noted within these references show clearly that value is in the eye of the beholder, as the values can differ by more than a hundred dollars for some models. These should be used only as guides when trying to determine a fair value for a timepiece.

  Back to Top of Page