Timex is one of the select brands that, for many people, has helped define the watch as a product. It doesn’t matter if your personal relationship with a watch is that of a tool, a commodity, or a symbol of craftsmanship. You know Timex. It’s the brand that can “take a licking and keep on ticking.” It introduced us to the Mickey Mouse watch in the 1930s, but it was also a champion of fin de siècle American industrialism just a few decades prior with its world-famous Yankee pocket watch that retailed for a single dollar. And today, Timex is the maker of watches ranging from glow-in-the-dark digital timekeepers to mechanical timepieces inspired by the company’s rich history. We’re excited to grow the HODINKEE Shop today with the addition of Timex, a brand with a history unlike any other.
Born as the Waterbury Clock Company in Connecticut’s Naugatuck River Valley in 1854, Timex is now an essential part of the American identity. Once considered the largest producer of mechanical watches in the world, the brand has never strayed from its core focus on building watches with mass-market appeal. This has, over the past few decades, largely meant multifunction digital and quartz watches and those born from licensing agreements. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but Timex recently made a strategic pivot back into mechanical watchmaking. It’s a development we’ve found incredibly exciting to witness and report on.
Timex has repositioned a portion of the brand’s core line-up in this new direction, one that sees the company creating watches intended for the corner of the internet the HODINKEE Shop calls home. These are Timex watches that are close to our hearts, designs we fondly remember seeing on the wrists of our parents and grandparents in our youth. They also represent the fact that, for many of us, wearing a Timex early on helped give rise to our personal passion for watches as a whole.
These are watches that, quite frankly, we can’t get enough of.
The three different Timex collections that are newly available in the HODINKEE Shop all strike at different eras in the long history of the company. You have watches like the Marlin that showcase the intrinsic design elements that defined mid-century Timex; ones like the Q Timex that recall the early years of the Quartz Revolution, when Timex – like it always has – evolved to maintain its market leader position; and watches like the Navi XL that bring to light the brand’s contributions in wartime efforts, such as when it was the largest producer of fuse timers for the American Armed Forces in the 1940s. Read on to learn more about each of these three collections, and the place they represent in Timex’s history, or discover the watches for yourself, right here.
The Timex Marlin Collection
The Marlin represented the first salvo of Timex’s approach back into the realm of mechanical watches. First released in the fall of 2017, the hand-wound Marlin was billed as the first production mechanical watch for Timex in over 30 years (since 1982, to be exact). While the launch itself was entirely unexpected, watch collectors with a fond appreciation for the original Timex Marlin from the 1950s and ’60s greeted it eagerly, and the watch promptly sold out. Something that repeated over and over again.
The hand-wound Marlin is a fairly straightforward watch to appreciate. The stylized Art Deco numerals and thin hour markers are perfectly at home on the sunburst dial. The domed acrylic crystal, the 34mm fully polished case with drilled lugs, the non-lume dial, and the textured leather strap simply hammer home the watch’s Mad Men-era aesthetic. As a result of the new Marlin’s success, Timex built out an entire collection and filled it with a variety of dial color options. And a year after the manually wound Marlin made its debut, Timex followed it up with a new series of Marlins that featured a more modern diameter of 40mm and automatic winding. The Marlin Automatic eschews the numerals found on the original watch in favor of a more symmetrical approach, with applied stick hour markers and a handset filled with lume.
There are five different Marlins in the HODINKEE Shop today that cast a wide net in terms of appeal. You have the standard, manually wound Marlin, with a silver or blue sunburst dial and 34mm case, or the 40mm variant with automatic winding and a silver dial with a slight date window at three o’clock. There’s also a pair of automatic Marlins that indicate the day and the date and come in either a silver dial with gilt accents or in a case that has undergone a stealthy black-IP treatment.
All five of these watches feature a similar design filled with the mid-century, everyman charm that personified the Timex Marlin during its heyday over 50 years ago. Clearly, there’s a lot to love about the Timex Marlin, and that’s without even mentioning the price. At $ 199 for the Marlin Hand-Wound and $ 249 for the Marlin Automatic ($ 259 for the Automatic Day-Date), these watches are an inexpensive, fun-filled addition to any collection.
To say the Timex Marlin is a hit among the HODINKEE team is, much like the design of the watch itself, an understatement.
The Q Timex Collection
While the Marlin was meant to celebrate Timex’s return to mechanical watchmaking, the Q Timex commemorates a slightly different occasion that might seem anathema to many watch enthusiasts, but it was a time of pivotal importance for Timex, nonetheless. Back in 1979, when the first Q Timex was released, a little something called quartz was all the rage. The Quartz Revolution was officially mainstream at this point in time, and while the brand’s contemporaries struggled to adapt, Timex had plunged right in, releasing its first quartz watch in 1972 and following it with the Q Timex a few years later.
With its familiar red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel and matte navy blue dial, the reissue of the Q Timex was introduced in May 2019 and, like the Marlin before it, met immediate success. The demand for the watch quickly overwhelmed the initial supply, and it continued to sell out every time retailers were able to restock (sense a theme here?). Similar to the Marlin, the charm of this watch is entirely based on a memorable design from the past, but unlike the former’s dressy, mid-century vibe, the Q Timex is the definition of a novelty – a watch with endless aplomb that serves as an unconventional reminder that quartz can be, in fact, quite cool.
There’s a sense of unadulterated joy that comes when the Q Timex hits your wrist, and it’s not just because of the much-hyped colorway (which did, in fact, appear on the original Q Timex as well). There’s the multi-faceted case with its mix of finishes and hooded lugs, the woven steel bracelet that clinches tightly to your wrist, the soft yellow lume on the dial and handset, and the non-ratcheting, friction-lock action of the bidirectional bezel. Timex even placed an old-school hatch on the caseback that can be screwed off with a coin, allowing you to replace the watch’s battery with ease. It’s a combination of so many small details that are done well and are downright fun, things that makes the Q Timex a breath of fresh air. And at just $ 179, it’s also one of the easiest ways to appreciate and enjoy the pure retro charm of 1970s watch design.
The Timex Navi XL Collection
Timex has maintained the Navi collection for a few years now, but it was only last fall that the brand added an automatic option to the mix. This collection leans on functions that are most commonly associated with dive and field watches. You have a unidirectional, 120-click bezel that gives off the impression of a watch meant for timing underwater excursions, but there’s also both 12- and 24-hour scales on the dial, something typical of vintage military and field watches. With the Navi XL, Timex is paying tribute to its military history while also imbuing the watch with what it considers the essential elements of a contemporary sports watch. It’s the best of both worlds, really.
The Timex Navi XL comes in both automatic and quartz variations, and we have two of each available today. The automatic versions come with leather straps from the S.B. Foot Tanning Company in Red Wing, Minnesota, and are available with either a black dial and red bezel or in a fully blacked-out design with a black-IP coating on the case. The quartz editions feature a single-piece fabric strap and are available with a black dial and bezel or with a white dial, green bezel, and a gunmetal-IP coating on the case. All are sized at a highly wearable 41mm diameter (what Timex terms its XL size), with cases made of stainless steel and squared crown guards.
The quartz models are an ideal addition to any collection, perfect for worry-free wear at the beach or in the pool, while the automatic versions make for a great, sporty daily-wear option. Both watches, however, have great potential to attract younger enthusiasts, who are just dipping their toes into the world of watches. The quartz Navi XL is priced at $ 129, while the automatic comes in at $ 259.
Discover Your Next Timex In The HODINKEE Shop
There aren’t many watches that have brought us as much joy in recent years as Timex’s recent efforts. They remind us just how enjoyable watch collecting can be, and they serve as an unpretentious reminder to always make sure that the watch you’re wearing will make you smile.
As an authorized retailer of all the Timex watches in the HODINKEE Shop, we’re proud to offer an extra year warranty on top of Timex’s standard guarantee (meaning two years total). Go ahead and explore our dedicated Timex page in the HODINKEE Shop for more details on all the new watches.
You know you want to.