Your First Watch: Where to Start With Timex

Maybe you’ve truly never owned a wristwatch. Or maybe, like so many modern folks, you wore one as a kid before the mobile phone was ubiquitous — before checking the time meant pulling out your phone, checking the screen, then stashing it again in your bag or pocket.

Whatever the case, if you currently don’t own a watch and you’re looking to change that, we have you covered. From no-frills budget time-tellers to investment-worthy dress watches and even GPS-equipped running watches, Timex offers a truly wide range of affordable and accessible ways to put something practical on your wrist.

Quartz, mechanical or automatic?
Quartz watches are powered by batteries. These watches are generally the most affordable of the three categories, and are also (almost always) the most accurate. Expect to replace your watch battery every three years at the most, depending on who makes the watch and what it’s used for.

Mechanical watches are hand-winding, so to keep it running accurately you’ll have to wind it up every two days or so. Many owners of mechanical watches report that they enjoy the involvement and the connection they form with the watch as they wind, set and wear it.

Automatic watches are typically the most expensive of these three types, due to the cost and difficulty in producing an accurate automatic watch movement. Inside, a weighted rotor swings with gravity and does the winding for you; other than adjusting the time and date occasionally, an automatic watch is easy to wear and maintain.

How big should my watch be?
This is a question that used to be rigidly defined, but the “rules” of watch style have relaxed in recent years — just like most style rules. The best way to answer this question is to measure several watches (in millimeters) across the case, try them on, and assess how you feel about a 36mm field watch versus a 42mm chronograph and anything in between.

For most men, watches between 36mm and 42mm are easy to wear and just feel right; most guys say that 38-40mm is the sweet spot. Watches that measure 36mm or smaller, like our Marlin Hand-Wound watch at 34mm, tend to be more dressy. For most women, wearing a watch over 40mm may feel clunky or uncomfortable; anything down to 25mm is common, with a wide range in between of styles, sizes and shapes.

Keep in mind that a watch might “wear large” if it has a small bezel, or even no bezel; a 41mm watch from our Fairfield collection feels large and flat on the wrist compared to the Navi XL Auto, even though they’re the exact same diameter. Thickness can also influence how large a watch feels, too, and it pays to consider whether you’ll be wearing it on a fabric strap, a leather strap or a metal bracelet.


This classic endures for a reason. Worn by everyone from U.S. presidents to Bill Murray, the versatile Easy Reader now comes in multiple sizes with a few variations in dial style to dress up and down with ease, making it an excellent (and accessible) pick for watch-wearers everywhere.

From left to right:
Easy Reader Day-Date 35mm – $60
Modern Easy Reader 40mm – $65
Easy Reader 35mm – $50


We’ve been making digital watches since the 1970s, and whether you’re looking for a go-to running watch or just a bit of retro-style flair on your wrist, you’ll find something to love in the digital collection from Timex.

From left to right:
T80 34mm Expansion Bracelet – $59
IRONMAN Original 30 Shock – $67
IRONMAN Transit 40mm – $50


Timex produced crucial timing equipment for U.S. troops during World War II and at one point was involved in making field watches for the U.S. Marines (that design actually became the modern MK1). Needless to say, we’ve been doing this for a while. Our sturdy range of outdoor and military-inspired watches, designed to take a licking and keep on ticking, pay homage to our heritage in function-forward watchmaking while integrating the modern, reliable timekeeping tech you would expect from us today. Choose here from the diver-inspired Navi Ocean to an Allied chronograph informed by cockpit instrument panels and many, many more.

From left to right:
Navi Ocean 38mm – $140
MK1 Aluminum 40mm – $71
Allied 42mm Chronograph – $180
Acadia 40mm Hook-and-Loop – $100
Navi World Time 38mm – $150


With the reissue of our midcentury-iconic Marlin a few years ago, we brought back our offering of mechanical (hand-winding) and automatic watches after making only quartz watches for decades. Priced accessibly enough for budding enthusiasts and designed to become true classics, these stunning timepieces bridge the gap between casual necessity and formalwear. From the original Marlin’s slim and diminutive 34mm presence to the Navi XL Automatic’s dive-inspired bold profile and our Giorgio Galli S1 Automatic’s smart, soulful look, the range of mechanical and automatic watches now available from Timex will have you looking again and again — even when you already know what time it is.

From left to right:
Waterbury Traditional Automatic 42mm – $270
Marlin Hand-Wound 34mm – $199
Giorgio Galli S1 Automatic – $450
Navi XL Automatic 41mm – $260






In The Field: This Lost Ironman Watch Survived an Alaskan Winter

“I would like to tell someone my Timex Ironman story. I lost it and found it one year later, after snow, rain and -40 degrees, in Alaska.” – Julie Hanauer

Julie Hanauer hesitates to call herself a homesteader. But by the textbook definition, she’s pretty close; she supports herself and her two children largely on home-grown food, relying on large garden plots, hunting, fishing and a smattering of small farm animals. And this, mind you, isn’t in the middle of Wisconsin or upstate New York. This is a few miles outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, in the Denali foothills.

But the point of this narrative isn’t the Hanauer family’s official status as homesteaders or locavores or even Alaskans, although those are all compelling parts of their story. The point is that in this environment a Timex was worn, lost, then found and worn again after spending an entire year exposed in one of the harshest environments of the North American continent.


The watch in question is a Timex Ironman purchased in the mid-2000s. It first came into Julie’s possession during her husband’s U.S. Air Force assignment when the family was living in the United Kingdom. To her, the watch embodied a few specific qualities — it was simple, tough and reliable without totally lacking the dose of femininity she wanted for her wrist.


While still living in the UK, Julie remembers, she wore the watch on a hiking trip around eastern Europe. When her husband had completed his British assignment the family had their pick of locations, and Julie suggested Alaska; she had lived there for a summer in the mid-1980s working for a fishing company, and had fallen in love with the extremity of it, the ruggedness of the landscape. So to Alaska the Hanauers went, purchasing a parcel of land out where — on the clearest days, through gaps in the trees — they could see Mt. Denali.

“It’s just me and the kids now,” Julie said when we spoke on the phone at the end of August 2019. “We do pretty well for ourselves. We have 38 acres here – goats, pigs, geese, chickens, even bees. Plus plots for all kinds of vegetables.” She said between the bartering she does with other locals, guided hunts for moose and deer, and fishing, the small family’s needs are pretty well met without much store-bought food. “You have to do what you can for yourself here,” Julie said. “You’re not guaranteed anything from the land in Alaska.”

And this talk about local sustenance brings us, finally, back to the watch.

“We were out berry picking,” Julie said, “and for whatever reason, I don’t remember why, I took off the watch and set it down on the hood of our car. And then when we got home later, I was looking for the watch – it never really occurred to me what I’d done, besides that I’d misplaced it.”

It wasn’t until exactly one year later, on her family’s annual visit to that same four-acre berry patch, that Julie spotted something in the tall grass. Of all the places she could have chosen to park the vehicle and walk into the multi-acre patch of berry bushes, she’d unwittingly chosen the exact spot where the watch had first been lost. And that’s where she looked down and saw it, still ticking, waiting for her to pick it up and put it back on her wrist.

“I was so happy,” Julie said, “and I was amazed it was still working! No battery issues, no moisture inside. I loved that watch – even when the battery had died after the first several years of use, and I didn’t understand how to fix it, my husband tried to gift me a different watch and I insisted we fix the one I had. I don’t like replacing stuff; I like things I can rely on.”

With her waste-not-want-not mentality, plus the watch’s proven ability to handle extreme temperatures and water exposure for weeks on end, it’s safe to assume Julie will be wearing her Timex through all conditions for a long, long time to come. What’s a little rain and snow, anyway?


Meet Our M79 Automatic

Nearly a year after we first reintroduced the Q Timex collection with our Q Timex 1979 Reissue, we present the Timex M79 Automatic. This latest watch is something entirely new, even though it may look familiar; where the “Q” in Q Timex indicated a quartz-powered watch, this “M” labeling signifies the mechanical movement at the heart of the M79.

This watch holds the same shape that defined our earlier Q Timex watch, with hidden lugs and a rotating bezel. This time, however, that bezel is of the ratcheting unidirectional variety, and since there’s no battery involved, there’s no functional battery hatch in the case back. When you flip this new watch over, you’ll see instead an exhibition case back that displays the self-winding movement within, a stunning array of levers, gears, springs and jeweled pivot points, all working together to track the passage of time.

By combining key design elements of our much-loved Q Timex 1979 Reissue with a workhorse automatic movement, we’re delivering something that squarely addresses the renaissance sweeping the watch industry today: a return to automatic and mechanical watchmaking, and a real appreciation for timepieces with presence, soul and character.

Sign up to be notified when the M79 Automatic becomes available by clicking here.


In The Press: A Hodinkee Writer Revisits His First Watch

This nostalgic editorial looks back at an event that many of us probably remember as well — a kid’s first watch. In the case of James Stacey, a senior writer for Hodinkee, it was our Timex Ironman (a model from the beginning of the INDIGLO® era) that first sparked his love for the world of watches and led him to a career in the industry.

Read an excerpt below or get the full story here, and view a fun TV advertisement from the era detailing the launch of INDIGLO® technology.

“If you can, think back to 1994. Given the path that my life has taken, it was an important year in the life of a young boy obsessed with a great many things, including the underwater world, cameras, Playmobile, LEGO, and just about anything that glowed in the dark. 1994 was also the year I asked for my first watch.

Early in the year, I was confronted with a dilemma of great magnitude – how to spend the birthday money I received from my grandmother. For a soon-to-be eight-year-old, there is no power more nectarine in its sweetness than one’s birthday cash. Mine came in two parts. I wanted to see the 1994, large-dog comedy sequel Beethoven’s 2nd, and I wanted a Timex Ironman with the then still-new-to-the-market tech called Indiglo.

So, sometime in March of 1994, my parents and I stopped by The Bay (a Canadian department store) en route to the movie theater. Armed with a king’s ransom of gift money from my Grandma (no more than $50, which made me a one-percenter in the world of Canadian 8-year-olds), I bought my first watch. It was, and remains, a black-on-grey example of a very early Indiglo-equipped Timex Ironman Triathlon, fitted to a black resin strap. While Timex undoubtedly designed it for athletes in training, I could not so much as hope to conceal how happy I was with this little watch, and its cutting-edge electroluminescent backlight. I recall watching a VHS copy of Beethoven’s 2nd sometime later, and being surprised by just how much of the film I had missed as I endlessly engaged that smooth blue-green backlight in the dark theatre.”



The Timex Guide to Military Watches

We can thank the US Military for helping to develop a lot of things we use today — the GPS system, aviator sunglasses, duct tape, cargo pants, even microwaves.

And… the wristwatch?

US troops did, in fact, help popularize the wristwatch in the early part of the 20th century. It really got rolling during WWI, when trench warfare tactics and modern weaponry changed the face of battle. Soldiers needed to constantly be aware of the time for missions and maneuvers, but couldn’t put everything on pause and divert their attention to pulling out a pocket watch, flipping up the cover, then stowing it again during a seige. If you’re fighting in the trenches and trying to stay alive, you’re probably also trying to rid yourself of fiddly things as much as possible.

Some of these soldiers in Europe looked for help from a metalsmith to attach strap lugs to their pocket watches. Others modified the old watches themselves, so that they could be strapped to a wrist.

This obviously kept the watch far more accessible than if it had been stowed in a pocket or bag, and allowed a solider to quickly glance down to check elapsed time or running time during crucial moments (or maybe just count down the hours until he could expect a hot meal and a good night’s sleep). When these soldiers came home, they found that they preferred the wrist watch to a pocket watch, and set a trend others followed.

Many well-known watch companies have produced, and still produce, military-grade watches: Omega, Panerai, Rolex, CWC, Tudor, IWC, Casio and even Seiko. Other brands have occasionally just gone in for the aesthetic, like Audemars Piguet with their Royal Oak 14790ST (love it or hate it, at least it’s interesting to look at!). Some are simple field watches, but dive watches, chronographs and oversized pilot’s watches all have their roots in the timepieces that were developed to meet the needs of various militaries.

Pictured (and listed) below are some of our own military-inspired watches that we think you’ll like. Shop the whole category here; otherwise, scroll down to see our picks.

Pilots have always needed to keep close track of the time, and before digital controls and autopilot, you’d be relying on your watch for navigation and maneuvering as you flew above the battle zone. Pilot’s watches are usually on the large side by today’s standards — 42 to 48mm — with dials that can be read easily at a glance, even when the cockpit is vibrating or shaking. Some pilots also still wear wristwatch chronographs as failsafes, in case the cockpit instruments are damaged during flight. Also of note: pilot’s watches were originally designed with oversized crowns so their mechanical movements could be wound while wearing gloves. Since this is rarely a concern nowadays, the big-crown feature is much less common, but brands like IWC, Laco and Zenith still make modern big-crown pilot’s watches powered by mechanical movements.

MK1 40mm Chronograph

Waterbury Traditional 42mm 

Waterbury Traditional 42mm Chronograph

Among the simpler military-inspired designs, the humble field watch is a general-purpose timepiece for all conditions. These are typically 40mm or smaller, relatively lightweight, and are free of extra features or complications like a chronograph or day/date window to keep things as stripped-down as possible. However, some feature rotating bezels to help with navigation like our Navi Land watch.

Historical fact: Timex produced a watch for a contract bid with the US Marine Corps in the early 1980s. Though the contract was never fully put into action — the military ultimately went with a different watch supplier — that project developed into the 36mm resin MK1 we have today, which is almost exactly the same as that original prototype.

MK1 36mm Resin Field Watch

Scout 40 Field Watch

Navi Land 38mm

For special-operations troops and certain divisions of various naval armies, a watch that’s robust and highly water-resistant has always been a must. While a true dive watch meets very exacting international standards for water resistance, dial legibility and other factors, most needs can be met with a 100m/10atm water resistance rating, a unidirectional rotating bezel and a high-contrast dial with glowing hour markers.

Allied Coastline 43mm

Navi XL Automatic 41mm

Navi XL 41mm

LA-Based Brain Dead Collaborates with Timex

With custom Brain Dead graphics front-and-center on the dial and etched into the case back, plus a bright yellow second-hand and an eye-catching blurred-number motif on the watch face, the Timex x Brain Dead watch is a distinctive way to state your style and track your time. If the hours are slipping by lately and everything’s a blur, this watch could be the thing that helps you get a grip.

From its own About page: Brain Dead is a creative collective of artists and designers from around the world.
With its disruptive, graphic-led approach, the brand takes its cues from post punk, underground comics, skateboarding, and the spirit of subculture as a whole.

We joined forces with Brain Dead to produce a watch that’s fashion-forward in design and sturdy in construction. Based around our classic Acadia case design and shaped from matte black resin, the watch ships with two different straps in deep olive green and bold yellow to suit your tastes.


Timex’s New Watch Is Designed to Be the Most ‘Timex’ Ever


The most “Timex” TimexWhat does that even mean? Well, to Galli, it means the new watch that just released this week. The project is so close to him that it even bears his name: the Giorgio Galli S1 Automatic. It’s an elevated timepiece, especially for Timex, with a skeletonized stainless steel case housing a Miyota 9039 automatic movement, and a price tag of $450. The strap is made from an ultra-durable synthetic rubber, and finished with a riveted strap-keeper instead of a loop. Under a domed K1 mineral crystal, the silver-tone, brushed-metal face features a synthetic ruby set just above the six o’clock position.”




“To mark the brand’s 165th anniversary Timex announced today that its Milan-based Design Director Giorgio Galli has created “the most ‘Timex’ Timex ever made.”

In a release the company said the S1 Automatic is the product of Galli’s artistic sensibilities and his originality—with it, he seeks in part to tell the story of his long partnership with Timex.”




It really shouldn’t be a surprise that Timex has a way of tapping into our collective nostalgia receptors in a way that few other brands can. They’ve shown over and over again in their recent releases that they have an innate understanding of how to reach into the past and make something old feel new again. The Q, their huge hit watch from earlier this year, made you long for the 1980s even if you didn’t personally experience them. The Marlin, which in many ways reignited Timex as something more than an afterthought among contemporary watch heads, was an extremely successful take on their classic 1950s dress watch, dripping with Mad Men style and charm. And their series of watches celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing released earlier this year, with a certain iconic beagle on the dial, is another example of Timex showing up in an almost Forrest Gump-like way to make us think lovingly of the past. Their new Marlin, featuring that same beagle, feels like another well-executed play on our continued desire to commune with an earlier time.