© 2019 by The Young Horologist

Timex: "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking"

October 18, 2018

Timex is a brand that I have had a strong relationship since I was young. In fact a Timex Expedition Compass was my first ever watch, bought for me by my parents for my tenth (i think??) birthday. People regard Timex as a cheap, entry level brand, that is perfect as a first ever watch for a son or daughter. In saying that, people would be absolutely right! I do not think I am the only one who was lucky enough to have one as their gateway watch into this fantastic hobby! 

 

Timex, and a lot of people may not know this.... was started in 1854, and originally traded under the guise of 'The Waterbury Clock Company'; fans of Timex will notice a current model line which harkens back to the original name! It then became Ingersoll in 1887, before then settling with its current branding of Timex in 1954. 

 

                                                                An original Timex advert, which was first branded as The Waterbury Watch Company, then Ingersoll and then Timex... 

 

Timex still remains one of the biggest watch brands in the world. And until recently they only offered quartz movements in their watches. But, back in November of last year, Timex released a re-issue of one of their classic designs from the 60's and 70's, the Marlin. This was a very big deal for the brand, being the first offering featuring a mechanical movement in since 1987. Unlike a lot of modern 'reissues', the Marlin does not just take inspiration from the originals, but would look basically unrecognisable from its original, it is pretty much identical! Featuring a 34mm case with a 10mm depth, as well as a manual winding  movement, this watch really is a true vintage reissue. Considering this is a £200 watch in this case size, with a manual wind (all be it Chinese made) movement, with a superb silvered dial, why on earth are people still buying Daniel Wellingtons instead of this?? It is classic and versatile without being smothered in fautina or having been blown up 10mm from the 60's size. 

                       The STUNNING Timex Marlin Manual Wind...

 

And then, just a few weeks ago, Timex did it again. Hitting us with the second iteration of this series of vintage reissues. The big difference with this one is that it is automatic, so if you love the look of the manual but find manual winding annoying, which I personally do not agree with but can understand, then voila! Although the core design of this watch is the same as the 34mm manual wind, there are a few key differences. This automatic model comes in a slightly larger 40mm case. It also has a date window at the 3 o'clock position. The third, and most obvious difference is the movement (duh) which is automatic, and appears to be a Miyota 8215, which considering the asking price is £250, you cant really argue with. 

 

                                       The new Timex Marlin Automatic... In four dial colours, and now featuring a gold tone case option

 

The other difference with this automatic offering is that the automatic comes now in a range of dial colours, and a gold tone case option as well as steel. This means that you can get a bit of character with this watch now, and allows you to have a bit of individuality, which is a nice touch. My personal favourite (although I am just going to come out and say that I MUCH prefer the 34mm manual wind) has to be the steel with silver dial. Now I know that that is the most simple offering of the four, but hear me out. I think that this watch is targeted as a first watch for a young son/daughter, or for a new watch geek who needs a gateway drug watch. If this is the case, the chances are that this would be the only watch in their collection, so versatility is critical. For me you cannot get more versatile than a steel case and a silver dial. 

 

Now whilst I love this from Timex, and really hope that this is their direction of travel going forward. Having them starting to offer more automatic and manual wind watches amongst their plethora of quartz models would be fantastic! However, what surprises me is this. If you go onto Ebay (this is not a sponsored article but we would not object, so Ebay drop us an email!) and type in vintage Timex, or Vintage Timex Marlin, you will get literally THOUSANDS of hits. Most of which will be fantastic original Marlin's, or very similar styled Timex's for less than £100. Most of them can be found in fantastic condition for around £50. Some quick maths will tell you that you could actually get four or five vintage Timex's, all manual wind or automatic, for the same price as the new Marlins. Now, the reason I bring this up is because there is such a range of Timex designs, and this would allow you to have a complete collection (Dress, Diver, Field and 'Fun' piece) for somewhere between £200 - £250!? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       Some examples of GORGEOUS vintage Timex... All can be had under £50...

 

I suppose really the issue here is how informed a consumer you are. Granted if you know nothing or very little about watches, and are at the start of your collecting journey, you may not know about the possibility and variety of vintage Timex. And if that is the case, and you decide to go with either the 34mm manual wind, or the 40mm automatic Marlin as either your first watch, or as an inexpensive dress watch, then fantastic choice. Thank you for not being another Daniel Wellington owner. That being said, having read this article, definitely go and have a look on Ebay at vintage Timex and see what there is to be had for significantly less if you are only in the market for one watch, or for the same price as one of the new offerings if you fancy going mad and buying three or four... 

 

To sum up, I think the new Timex Marlins, and especially the 34mm Manual Wind; which is my personal favourite of the two, offer incredible value. To be able to pick up a watch like this, from a brand with horological pedigree, history, and a proven track record of producing absolute tanks, in the same price bracket as some of the watches below, is amazing. So do not overlook Timex, they are a legend of the industry, and they make truly fantastic watches. 

 

 

 

                                                                         A selection of comparably priced watches... From Citizen, Modaine and... Daniel Wellington...

 

 

Felix Arnold 

Editor and Co-Founder 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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