How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby conjurer » May 3rd 2013, 2:38pm

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Worser than this? Note on Valdi's office door, Gone Fission!


Like many middle-aged WISs out there, my first watch was a Timex (younger members might have had a Casio or, worser still, a cell phone.) Timex was, in the middle of the last century, the American watch maker. Cheap as hell, durable as a Zippo--it takes a licking and keeps on ticking!--nobody probably didn't own one--or more.

Well, the old days are over, the only watches still made in the USA will cost you the price of a 1999 Honda Accord, and even Timex is made in the Far East. But they're still out there--how close they are to their American roots I have no idea, nor did I really even care, until a well-regarded collector sent me a couple of Timexs on loan to review.

Part I, the Timex Expedition Military Field Watch


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This one's the pick of the litter, all right--a surprisingly well made, accurate, and handsome watch. Done up to look kind of like a flieger, with a deeply recessed dial and a little red pointy thing on the end of the seconds hand that looks like a jet plane, the Expedition--totally surprisingly--exudes a sense of coolness one doesn't normally find in a watch that probably has a street price of under fifty bucks.

The case, stainless steel, is finished to look like titanium:

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The crown, shown here, is nicely machined and operates pretty well--it feels a little loose when trying to find the click to set the time, and the date feature goes both forwards and backwards, a feature that I've not encountered on any other watch. The caseback:

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Is a snap-on, and although the engraving (or more likely pressing) of the numbers and words is a little shabby--kind of like how the writing looks on a Vostok Amphibia--it tells you what you need to know, including the battery type, which is nice. The case and dial tells us the watch is water resistant to 100 meters, a good feature for a field watch, although how true this is with a snap caseback and pretty loose crown I can't say.

The dial also glows with Timex's Indiglow feature, which is activated with a press of the crown, here shown on the Expedition's ne'er-do-well brother:

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The strap on the Expedition is quite good, with a nylon top layer and a leather bottom, to make it a little more comfy on the wrist. I wore it for two days, and didn't even notice the feather-light watch after a few minutes on the wrist. The size is great, too; 42mm across, 45.5mm with the crown, 50mm top to bottom, and 10.6mm thick. The strap, should you wish to change it, is 20mm.

On my 6.75 inch wrist, the Expedition sits nicely and comfortably, shown here with my playful deadbeat cat Murphy:

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If you're looking for the cheapest possible military-styled field watch you can get, this one should be on your list.

Part II, the Timex Classics Expander-T2N404


Okay, so Timex got one watch right--and in the ying and yang of the whole universe thing, they had to make one so completely awful and so totally uncomfortable. And so they did, with the Classics Expander--which is possibly the worst name to nail on a watch since Daniel Mink came up with the Sporgenza.

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Nice watch, Foggy! Is that a Quartz?


Indeed it is--and it might have the same movement inside as the Expedition, but while the Expedition was a joy to wear, this one is awful--and one picture can tell the tale:

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Yup, that's right. An expansion bracelet. The worst idea to come to timekeeping since--well, there's never been a worser idea than this. I suppose this is where Timex comes up with the whole retro thing; I can imagine a group of MBAs sitting around the boardroom, picking their noses, trying to come up with a Great Idea. Then, the least smart one--although the bar is set pretty low for MBAs--shouts out I've got it! Let's make a watch with an expansion bracelet!

Well, some ideas just are no damned good, and why Timex sought to inflict the horror of the expansion bracelet on a new generation is beyond me--perhaps they were looking to cash in on the nostalgia market, to the days when men simply wore expansion bracelets because back then we didn't waste time as a nation buckling and unbuckling leather straps; the expansion bracelet was somehow a Space Age thing. If this is somebody's idea of nostalgia, I suppose it might be less uncomfortable to travel to some hellhole in Afghanistan or India and contract polio and spend nine months in an iron lung.

Anyway, about the watch. It's stainless, it's accurate (it is, after all, QUARTZ) and it's on an expansion bracelet. Case size is 38mm, 41mm with crown, 11mm thick, and it's on an expansion bracelet. It does have Indiglo, which is cool, but it's offset by the fact that it's on an expansion bracelet.

On the wrist, the Classic Expander doesn't fit well, because it's on an expansion bracelet, and the bracelet is too loose for me:

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This watch, inexplicably, costs twice as much as the Expedition; I suppose this absurdly high price comes from--wait for it!--being on an expansion bracelet.

So, two watches, one good and one a piece of shit; this is a pretty good average, actually, especially compared to many of the stuff I've reviewed for this series. Buy yourself an Expedition (which is cheaper than a good leather strap) and leave the goddamn expansion bracelets in the old shoebox filled with your grandfather's crap.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby Tzimisces » May 3rd 2013, 2:59pm

Nice write-up, as usual. Being 47, I well remember when Timex was virtually synonymous with "watch". My first few watches were Timex.
I currently have one Timex, a hand crank/auto my wife found at an outlet mall in Florida for $50 (retail $150). I use it as a work watch, and thus far it's held up well. The crown is ridiculously loose, though it works ok.
Here's a crappy pic from last summer.


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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby foghorn » May 3rd 2013, 3:26pm

You forgot to mention the unique "finish' of the case and expansion bracelet. That isn't from use-it is how they were made.
A brand new wartch wut looks skratchted to hell.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby Horse Feathers » May 3rd 2013, 3:40pm

Conj, excellent review as usual

The Field watch looks nice but I cant help thinking that for a few more bucks you could get a Seiko like the 5 series military.

Have to admit, I am a sucker for the looks and nostalgia associated with expansion bracelets and seriously considered a couple of Hamilton models with these. I had it in my mind that properly sized they would work well so I purchased a couple NOS variants (Speidel Twist-o-flex and others) as a test. I finally came to terms that comfort can only be obtained by and extremely loose fitting watch.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby JAS1125 » May 3rd 2013, 3:48pm

Horse Feathers wrote:Conj, excellent review as usual
The Field watch looks nice but I cant help thinking that for a few more bucks you could get a Seiko like the 5 series military.


Indeed....in fact I just picked one up, the beige military.....need to do some pics but they can be had very cheaply. Amazon had them for under $50 bucks a few weeks back.

I like the looks of the Classic.....a nice leather band would jazz it up.

Great review and pics John
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby Horse Feathers » May 3rd 2013, 3:53pm

JAS1125 wrote:
Horse Feathers wrote:Conj, excellent review as usual
The Field watch looks nice but I cant help thinking that for a few more bucks you could get a Seiko like the 5 series military.


Indeed....in fact I just picked one up, the beige military.....need to do some pics but they can be had very cheaply. Amazon had them for under $50 bucks a few weeks back.


Black for $55.45 now

http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SNK809-Automatic-Black-Canvas/dp/B002SSUQFG/ref=sr_1_1?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1367628675&sr=1-1
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"I did lose a pusher pulling it out of the mug however
it doesn't affect functionality"

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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby conjurer » May 3rd 2013, 5:11pm

Tzimisces wrote:Nice write-up, as usual. Being 47, I well remember when Timex was virtually synonymous with "watch". My first few watches were Timex.
I currently have one Timex, a hand crank/auto my wife found at an outlet mall in Florida for $50 (retail $150). I use it as a work watch, and thus far it's held up well. The crown is ridiculously loose, though it works ok.
Here's a crappy pic from last summer.


Image


Thanks, Tz! Yours is a cool looking watch, too.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby conjurer » May 3rd 2013, 5:12pm

foghorn wrote:You forgot to mention the unique "finish' of the case and expansion bracelet. That isn't from use-it is how they were made.
A brand new wartch wut looks skratchted to hell.


Thanks for the input, foggy! I didn't mention it because I did indeed thought it was wear from use.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby conjurer » May 3rd 2013, 5:14pm

Horse Feathers wrote:Conj, excellent review as usual

The Field watch looks nice but I cant help thinking that for a few more bucks you could get a Seiko like the 5 series military.

Have to admit, I am a sucker for the looks and nostalgia associated with expansion bracelets and seriously considered a couple of Hamilton models with these. I had it in my mind that properly sized they would work well so I purchased a couple NOS variants (Speidel Twist-o-flex and others) as a test. I finally came to terms that comfort can only be obtained by and extremely loose fitting watch.


Thanks, HF! I myself wear my watches a little tighter than some guys do. The expansion bracelets on the Hammies may well be better made than the Timex version--indeed, they can't be any worse.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby conjurer » May 3rd 2013, 5:18pm

JAS1125 wrote:
Horse Feathers wrote:Conj, excellent review as usual
The Field watch looks nice but I cant help thinking that for a few more bucks you could get a Seiko like the 5 series military.


Indeed....in fact I just picked one up, the beige military.....need to do some pics but they can be had very cheaply. Amazon had them for under $50 bucks a few weeks back.

I like the looks of the Classic.....a nice leather band would jazz it up.

Great review and pics John


Thanks for the kind words, John!
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby wottime » May 3rd 2013, 5:53pm

Timex Ironman was the first watch I owned. Replaced a number of straps and batteries on my first one. Enjoyed your review of these. The military watch is sharp. Like the stadium chapter ring on it.
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Re: How Bad Can It Be? Timex Edition!

Postby Rusty » May 6th 2013, 4:49pm

My first watch was a Timex diver 'cause Mike Nelson (Lloyd Bridges) wore a dive watch on Sea Hunt.

That may explain why most of my watches today are dive watches although the only diving I do is going to DIVES, greasy spoon places, for breakfast.
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