There are many reasons to buy a vintage mechanical men’s wristwatch and if you have any sense of style you already own at least one. Rolex is probably the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of a reliable wristwatch––vintage or modern––but there’s another name in mechanical watches that, at one time, was just as well known, if not as valued: Timex.
Until the 1980’s a mechanical movement was the beating heart of most Timex wristwatches, and while the fit and finish of Timex watches certainly set no benchmarks for precision or craftsmanship––as can be seen here on this rugged 1972 automatic model that I purchased in a pawn shop for $20––the movements were unquestionably robust and earned Timex their famous (self appointed) slogan: “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
The time and date are set via the crown, which on this model has been worn down past the chrome to the base metal over decades of use. There is no quick-set date feature so should you let the date lapse you will have to wind through a full 24 hours to arrive at each new day.
Inside sits a spectacularly homely movement of pure utilitarianism and––wait for it––zero jewels! That’s right watch snobs, most Timex watches used rivets instead of jewels, which means the movement cannot be service in any meaningful way.
But before you sneer, know that this particular watch runs only +30 seconds per day after 45 years of use and no servicing. You’d be hard pressed to find an Omega, Rolex or any other vintage Swiss watch that could do the same.
But this watch is not about craftsmanship, it’s really all about classic mid-century style. A discrete 35mm in diameter, baton hour markers and hands, straight lugs. This watch could have been made any time between the fifties and seventies and unless you’re a victim of the monstrous oversized watch fashion you could comfortably wear this watch for another 45 years knowing timelessness trumps trend every time.