Tick a tick a Timex: It’s the Blockhead watch!

Blockhead watch - box open 3

I was delighted to receive this boxed Blockhead watch recently.

Of course the typogram on the watch face – which emerges at twelve-fifteen and three o’clock – was designed by Barney Bubbles at the behest of the late Ian Dury, who said in Will Birch’s No Sleep Till Canvey Island:

“I phoned him and said, ‘I want a logo. It’s got to be black and white and square’. Then I heard somebody in his office say, ‘Wow’ and he said, ‘I’ve done it’.”

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Barney Bubbles' Blockhead logo - What A Waste label, 1978.

Barney Bubbles' Blockhead logo - enamel badge 1978.

Barney Bubbles' Blockhead logo - badge 1978.

Barney Bubbles' Blockhead logo - Do It Yourself badge 1979.

Barney Bubbles' Blockhead logo - music press tour ad 1978 + promotional paint can, 1979.

Bubbles’ reworking of the 30s Left Book Club logo was initially used on the label and advertising for Dury’s April 1978 single What Waste.

The logo appeared in adverts and the full range of merchandise, while the watch became a much sought-after promotional item.

Manufactured by Timex, it was presented in a blue plastic silver-embossed box complete with card envelope, purple nylon lining and a guarantee.

Blockhead watch - Timex box 2

Blockhead watch - box open 2

Blockhead watch

Blockhead watch - guarantee1

Blockhead watch - guarantee2

These days the logo is owned by The Blockheads, who are making it available on badges, t-shirts and as part of the Blockhead “life membership” pack.

Read an extract from Paul Laity’s introduction to the 2001 reissue of the Left Book Club Anthology here.

Thanks to Mushi Jenner for sending me the watch.

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8 Responses to “Tick a tick a Timex: It’s the Blockhead watch!”

  1. andreas Says:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/vintage-BLOCKHEAD-70s-tour-hanes-rare-t-shirt-SMALL-S-/220678155294?pt=Vintage_Unisex_T_Shirts&hash=item3361716c1e#ht_4052wt_907

  2. Jan Vollaard Says:

    I have this watch and it stopped at exactly 3 o’clock PM.
    BLOCKHEADS forever!

  3. Luke Says:

    I’m dying to get my hands on this watch. Anyone know where I can find one for sale???

  4. Lois Says:

    I too have one of these amazing watches. No box, strap has just broke (after ALL these years) My parents best friend worked as a salesman for Timex & knowing what a fan i was managed to get me a pre production watch……arn`t i a lucky girl!!!
    I may, at the right price sell.

  5. Danny Says:

    Hi …I’ve listed one of these watches on ebay and been a bit surprised by the interest in it…it’s broken. Googled to find info and just found your post…thanks for the information 🙂

  6. sally anne Says:

    I have one of these watches that I am looking to sell – anyone know where i might start?

  7. Richard Squire Says:

    Sally – ebay is probably a good start, although I would be very interested if it is available.

  8. Richard S Says:

    Hello Sally. Ebay’s probably not a place to sell the watch. That said, I’d be interested in buying it.

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