A quality wristwatch is made of durable materials, runs on sophisticated and precise timekeeping, and costs at least a couple of hundred dollars. Anything below that par, end of discussion. But is it, really?
The Timex brand has a long history of filling the market with dirt-cheap watches because there’s a massive demand for them. So, are Timex watches good in terms of quality? That’s the question we’ll try to pair with a watertight response in this Timex watch review.
But before covering all the essential factors in defining the quality levels of the Timex brand, it’s necessary to look into the long history of the company for a better understanding of the business approach they’ve implemented.
- Timex History
- Where Are Timex Watches Made?
- Features & Quality of Timex Watches
- How Much Is a Timex Watch?
- Timex Reputation
- So, Are Timex Watches Good?
- Timex Watch Collections
- Timex Warranty Policy
- Conclusion: Are Timex Watches Good?
The Timex company started in 1854 under the name Waterbury Clock Company, producing clocks with brass wheels and gears in Connecticut, USA. It didn’t take long before their affordable pocket watches started to cause a buzz among the wearers.
It was in 1878 when the Long Wind, a pocket watch made of 58 punched sheet brass parts, became one of the most sought-after timepieces at that time for being much more affordable than the ones made in Europe. However, the company went into bankruptcy due to poor sales techniques that saw the watches selling under the real value.
A partnership with Ingersoll Watch Company that was famous for strong marketing skills resulted in the Ingersoll Yankee, a dollar pocket watch that gained enormous popularity at the beginning of the 20th century that it became known as “the watch that made the dollar famous.”
The real hope for successful breakthrough emerged with the arrival of World War I.
Since soldiers needed a handy timekeeping opportunity in time-critical moments, the Waterbury Clock Company took the matters into the cause and produced one of the first men’s wristwatches in the world in 1914. They added watch lugs for the straps, moved the crown to 3 o’clock position, and made the hands and numbers luminescent.
The years after the war were fierce, and since the military didn’t require watches at large quantities anymore, the company had to find a new identity.
It came from an unexpected source when a license agreement with Walt Disney in 1930 was agreed to produce the world-famous Mickey Mouse watches and clocks under the Ingersoll brand name. Eventually, this contract saved the brand as the line became the first million-dollar line for the company.
It was in 1950 when the first Timex brand watches arrived. Equipped with the V-Conic, the first high-quality mass produced watch movement, their watches became so irresistible that every third wristwatch sold was a Timex. Live televised marketing campaigns were of enormous help here. Testing the wristwear’s durability in numerous experiments proudly confirmed the brand’s slogan, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
Timex had a solid reputation for durable watches. The increased efforts that were put to quality improvements resulted in the world-famous, record-breaking Timex Ironman in 1986 – the first-ever full sports watch that we know it today.
A couple of years later, in 1992, Timex introduced Indiglo night light in the Ironman watch – a signature greenish-blue backlight so different from the rest of luminescent technologies. These days, the majority of wristwear is equipped with this distinct backlight.
Both, the Ironman watch and Indiglo backlight, have become the driving forces for Timex that, hand-in-hand with very affordable prices, have resulted in enormous sales volumes.
Where Are Timex Watches Made?
Timex watches have always caught an eye with incredibly affordable prices when the majority of watches stay conveniently under the $100 mark. But is it due to low quality and cheap outsourcing to Far East countries? Not entirely.
Timex watches are primarily made in the Philippines, where the brand has a large factory in Lapu-Lapu City. China and India are also used as outsourcing countries. However, the technologies are being developed in the United States and Germany, guaranteeing the reliability of Timex watches.
Their new collection, the American Documents, is almost entirely made in the USA using American materials but employing Swiss quartz movements.
Many watch aficionados completely cast aside the brands with strong connections to China or any other Far East country. For a lot of reasons, they’re right because the overall quality is inferior to the likes of Japan and Switzerland. On the other hand, the production sites differ from one another in numerous ways and can’t be regarded as equal.
Timex is not a brand that orders watch parts from different high-scale cheap suppliers and assembles them for the sake of easy money. The more than 40 years of production in the Philippines is transparent, void from shady tricks, and full of professionalism. High-quality machinery, along with experienced employees and know-how, is the assurance for the durability of Timex watches.
Timex has released a video you’ll see below where they introduce the watch production in the Philippines.
Features & Quality of Timex Watches
Another factor for evaluating Timex’s price-quality ratio and whether Timex watches are good enough is to look at the materials and features the wristwear comes with.
Timex Watch Quality
The vast number of watches are made of resin, a composite blend of high-impact plastic. Though it doesn’t possess the longevity of stainless steel, the resin is still a material that lasts long with proper care. The weight is probably the most significant advantage for the material, suiting well for sports-related activities.
Brass is another popular material that Timex watches employ. Again, it’s not as reliable and carefree as stainless steel, but decent enough to serve for years to come.
Higher-end lines, such as Marlin and American Documents, employ stainless steel cases. The alloy is the most widespread material in high-quality pieces in the industry.
Timex uses acrylic glass for dial covering in their cheaper-end watches, whereas more durable mineral glass is available in pricier models.
The bands are typically made of resin, fabric, silicone, and leather. Stainless steel is, again, available in pricier collections.
Watch movements come primarily from China and Southeast Asia. Despite the typical quality issues with movements coming from that part of the world, Timex has been able to employ reliable and accurate quartz movements. The majority of owners are thrilled about the longevity of batteries and the accuracy of quartz that the timepieces offer.
With the recent introduction of the U.S.-made American Documents line, the quartz movement you’ll find from the watch originates from Switzerland.
Besides quartz, some of the higher-end watches come with Chinese Seagull automatic and hand-wound mechanisms as well.
Timex Watch Features
The most notable feature a Timex watch has is the electroluminescent Indiglo backlight.
Derived from the word “indigo,” it features a unique greenish-blue color enlightening the entire dial. Activating it is easy – by pressing the crown down and holding it for four seconds, the night mode triggers. Or pressing any pusher will cause the nightlight to stay on for three seconds.
Given that Timex was one of the pioneers of sports watches, it’s no wonder many of their timepieces come with GPS for training, countdown timer, and lap timer functions. The chronograph feature with measurements of 1/20th second is also available, as are all sorts of alarm functions.
Although the brand doesn’t offer many solar watches anymore, their Expedition Gallatin Solar and Expedition Ranger Solar that are still available possess a quality light-powered technology comparable to Casio.
These timepieces are excellent solar-powered field watches to stand harsh conditions and provide ultimate reliability. You’ll find both of them featuring on our list of the best solar-powered timepieces.
So, what to conclude from the materials and functions?
Timex doesn’t employ high-class materials throughout the whole line of wristwear, nor does it use highly reputable watch movements. Despite the fact, the watches last long, keep accurate time and cost a fraction of those with similar attributes. Not many brands can achieve that, to be honest.
How Much Is a Timex Watch?
The vast majority of Timex watches are available for less than $100. The cheapest resin case timepieces cost between $30-$50. Chronograph-featured watches have a price tag of $50-$100. The automatic and hand-wound lines can cost $200-$300, whereas the priciest collection with Swiss quartz movements, the American Documents, is priced at $500.
You can check our post on the best men’s watches under $100 where several of Timex pieces are proudly represented.
Timex is one of the best affordable watch brands a man can buy. Their simplistic yet durable products have amazed the masses for decades, earning a high reputation in the watch industry.
Not many watch manufacturers who rely so heavily on Southeast Asia in their production can boast with that kind of reputation.
The proof of acknowledgment is vividly showcased in a four-year agreement in 2008 that made Timex the Official Timekeeper of the New York Marathon. Most recently, they’ve become the timekeepers of ComplexCon, a music and clothing event taking place yearly in Long Beach, LA.
So, Are Timex Watches Good?
Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean below par in terms of reliability. Timex has been able to manufacture durable wristwatches from often second-rate materials and movements for such an affordable price tag.
Most of the brands offering similar prices have failed to convince the market in delivering quality watches, but not Timex.
Without a doubt, the brand can be considered as one of the best suppliers of cheap watches. Even those that cost $30 or so will last times longer than many other watches in three-digit price categories.
To sum up, Timex watches are definitely good and worth every penny. They might not be satisfactory for die-hard watch aficionados or watch collectors for being cheaply made, but suit for anyone who requires a long-lasting and reliable timepiece at an affordable rate.
Timex Watch Collections
The Timex watch review would be incomplete without further looking into the vast collections the brand has to offer. Since the number of lines is quite extraordinary, we’ve chosen six collections that are hugely popular among buyers – Ironman, Expedition, Weekender, Waterbury, American Documents, and Marlin.
Timex Ironman, the first modern sports watch that was mass-produced, is one of the flagships of the brand. It was also the first digital line for Timex.
The collection features classic digital watches with a stopwatch, alarm, and timer functions. Pricier models have a GPS installed for real-time pace, speed, and distance, while straps are of durable resin and rubber.
One of the standout models is the Timex Ironman Classic 100 with a five-button design. The stopwatch has a 100-lap memory, while water resistance is guaranteed to 100 meters (330 feet). The watch also features a countdown timer, customizable alarm, and interval training timer.
As it is with the majority of Timex watches, this timepiece also comes with iconic Indiglo backlight that lights the full-size display.
The Expedition watches are meant primarily for outdoor activities. Rugged and shockproof, they come in various styles and colors that cover the vast array of tastes.
The chronograph feature is available in many models, giving the tickers diverse appearance. Some watches possess solar-powered quartz movement, for instance, the Gallatin Solar with a 44mm case size.
One of the flashiest in this line, however, is the Expedition Field Chronograph with a genuine leather strap that even fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference. The black dial with Indiglo technology has a three-subdial chronograph measuring to 1/20 second. Water-resistance is up to 100 meters (330 feet), while the 43mm brass case comes with durable mineral crystal.
Timex Weekender collection is perfect for everyday casual wear for being simple yet decent. The interchangeable and slip-through straps that can be changed according to moods make the collection versatile.
Case sizes vary from medium 38mm to above-average 42mm, and the backlight is available in all of the watches.
People’s favorite seems to be the 40mm Timex Weekender Chronograph watch with genuine leather strap, 24-hour time, and stopwatch feature. The brass watch case is paired with mineral crystal, while the dark blue dial is lit up by Indiglo backlight when in need.
This Weekender accepts splashes and light rain but is not suitable for swimming or showering, so make sure you take it off before any contact with water.
The Waterbury collection honors the company’s roots, promoting timepieces with very appealing looks and varied styles. Along with quartz movement come automatic self-winding mechanism watches with a 40-hour power reserve.
The models go well with a causal style but are also great for special occasions. You’ll find stainless steel cases and stopwatch functions as well in this collection.
The Timex Waterbury Classic Chrono watch stands out with matte finish and leather strap. The case is of highly appreciated stainless steel, while mineral crystal covers the dial. A reliable quartz movement powers the three-hand 40mm analog display.
As you may have already expected, this watch is no exception in possessing the famous Indiglo backlight.
Timex American Documents
Probably one of the most intriguing collections from Timex is the American Documents that is almost entirely made in the United States. The only detail outside the U.S is the movement that comes from Switzerland.
After several decades abroad, the brand brought watch production back to the States in 2019 with this collection. American craftsmen make each and every timepiece with American materials and a high-quality Swiss quartz movement.
The 41mm stainless steel and leather strap watches have an either white, grey, black, or blue dial, and the sub-second dial is conveniently placed at the bottom of the display. Brass case back coin and crown insert add heaps of luxuriousness with a golden-like appeal.
You can expect these quality timepieces to cost around $500.
The Marlin collection pairs stainless steel, domed crystal, and mechanical movements with sleek 1960s design. You’ll find some classic hand-winding mechanisms alongside with automatic movements.
Analog dials with leather and mesh stainless steel straps make the line desirable for those who wish to have a decent dress watch.
One of the classics is the 40mm Marlin Automatic watch with leather strap and stainless steel case. The power storage of the movement is up to 40 hours and can be hand-wound when it runs out. The timepiece comes with a flashy see-through case back where the mechanism is clearly visible.
Be sure to take the ticker off before going swimming or bathing as it only accepts some light immersion with water.
Timex Warranty Policy
Timex watches are warranted against manufacturing defects for a period of one year from the original purchase date. The receipt for proof of purchase is required for the watch to be serviced. The timepieces are serviced only when bought from authorized retailers.
If you’re having trouble with your watch, you can also make use of the extensive troubleshooting page dedicated to such matters.
Conclusion: Are Timex Watches Good?
Considering the price point that Timex sells its wristwear, their products are of high quality. Not many brands can provide such high standards while selling them below the average market price. Timex’s world-famous electroluminescent Indiglo is the topping of the cake, tallying the ingenuity of the brand.
We hope this Timex watch review has given you confidence that Timex watches are not merely good but excellent for such affordable rates.
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