Timex has released a new watch which draws from last year’s fan favourite, the Timex Q. It comes with an enlarged case, new bezel build and design and an automatic movement. However, is the Timex M79 a budget Rolex Batman or simply left black & blue?
Last year’s Timex Q was an unexpected sensation. Offered as a 1970s inspired quartz watch with a quirky case, simple bracelet and ‘Pepsi’ bezel reminiscent of that of the famed Rolex GMT-Master II released at Baselworld 2018. Priced at only £159, this offered all that you might need from a 38mm case to match the trends around vintage inspired watches to a simple quartz movement. However, Timex have chosen to strike back with a new piece now that the concept has proven itself.
The Timex M79 is established on the same nomenclature as the Q which was designed resemble pieces from (you guessed it) 1979. This watch gave a very rudimentary quartz movement, minimal water resistance and a 12-hour ‘Pepsi’ bezel. Here, the change is in the M: mechanical. Inside this watch, although unnamed by Timex, beats a Miyota 8200 automatic movement with no real decoration to be spoken of. This offers a 3Hz beat rate and automatic winding, but doesn’t offer hacking.
Whilst the very bottom of the pecking order for a mechanical movement, it will at least offer inexpensive servicing. That would be if, at this price range, anyone chose to service it. On the bright side, the rotor plays with the idea of utilitarian design by indicating the direction of winding and the Japanese background of its design.
However, I am intent upon not being negative about the technical aspects of a watch so obviously endowed with pleasure beyond these attributes. The concept of this watch is to be a sporty, ’70s counterpart to the Marlin dress watch.
Several notable changes appear when compared to the Q including a ‘T’ within the hour hand (perhaps a play of the iconic Rolex ‘Mercedes’ hand) and a general increase in quality as seen in applied markers. Most obvious is the change in style from a traveller’s watch to a pseudo-dive watch. I use the prefix ‘pseudo’ as, whilst the Timex M79 has a ‘Batman’ colour dive bezel inspired yet a low 5 ATM water resistance.
Consequently, the Timex M79 and its ‘Batman’ bezel feels a touch misplaced — especially since its unidirectional motion serves no purpose. For this reason, the previous Q captured the traveller feel of its expensive Rolex-made counterpart but with a much-needed light touch.
Aesthetically, though, it is undeniable that this watch adopts much of the charm experienced from a Seiko SKX. It has a lovely ’70s case, a cheap but charismatic bracelet and clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Clearly, this is a watch which will appeal to those who want a simple, enjoyable experience with a budget which doesn’t command too much commitment or worry. The only obstacle which may appear is the element of value. It would be fanciful to expect the Timex M79 ‘Batman’ to be of the same quality as a Seiko in the same £200 – £300 price range. As a result, it remains to be seen if the charm of the M79 can overcome the specifications of the new Seiko 5.
In any case, the idea of a Timex humouring the Rolex GMT-Master II is a delightful one. As a result, I wonder if this watch may sell to a different demographic than this Seiko 5: a luxury watch owning demographic.
Tell me what you think in the comment section.