Timex resurrects the Q, one of their first quartz watches that just happens to look like a Rolex.
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Originally published by Cole Pennington on Hodinkee.
Timex is back with a modern re-edition of a watch that represented a major pivot for the American watchmaker. The Q Timex is an almost 1:1 reproduction of an original model, right down to the screw-in battery hatch. Remember those?
It was 1979, and the horological world was in the midst of a massive change. Quartz movements had rocked the industry, and the shift had created market circumstances where it made sense for American brands like Hamilton to sell their name and IP to foreign corporations. Timex and Bulova remained American in ‘79, but in order to stay afloat they had to create products that went with the current trends, and that meant producing quartz watches.
Enter the Q Timex. The first quartz watch from Timex was produced in 1972, and by the time this model was released in 1979 it was clear that quartz was here to stay. Not only did it follow the quartz trend, it adopted some major design elements that had come to define the ‘70s, too, with a woven stainless steel bracelet, squared-off and beveled case, and a GMT Master-inspired bezel (which on the Q rotates, non-ratcheting, in both directions). The Q watches proudly displayed “Q” branding at 12 o’clock to let everyone know that everyman Timex watches had officially moved into the quartz era.
The watch is priced at an approachable $179, and I think that’s a price point that folks can appreciate more than the $495 for the American Documents series released recently. Timex has built a reputation on being the affordable American watch for everyone, and that’s where this modern Q shines. You get an iconic pepsi color scheme, which is pre-contextualized for first time watch buyers as being “cool” thanks to the Rolex GMT-Master, and on top of that, it’s an accurate re-edition of an important watch.
The first mainstream quartz watch from Timex is a big deal; it represents a massive shift in the horological Weltanschauung of late ‘70s. When quartz watches first came out, they were hugely expensive and an absolute marvel. That was in 1969 (the Seiko Astron, of course) and by the time Timex, known for affordable watches, came out with the Q, it was clear: Quartz watches were now accessible and they would become the standard going forward. If a company like Timex was doing it, it was here to stay.
The Q looks like a Rolex GMT-Master, and that’s not by accident. During the era the original Q was made, it was totally commonplace for brands at affordable price points to ape design cues from more prestigious brands at higher price points. Couldn’t afford a Rolex back in ’79? That’s okay, Timex was your way in. The reasoning behind re-introducing this watch in 2019, according to the designer Giorgio Galli, is to introduce this current younger generation of watch buyers to what Timex used to be. In other words, it’s just as much to educate consumers about Timex’s past as it is to celebrate the brands heritage. And the purpose really hasn’t changed, it’s still to get folks into the world of watches by offering something that’s affordable and looks pretty darn good.
Engineering and machining technology have come such a long way since the late ‘70s that the new steel woven bracelet actually wears nicely, as opposed to the often flimsy feeling of the old ones. The battery hatch is a novel touch as well. Some of us may be able to recall taking a dime and unscrewing the battery lid, popping out the lithium battery and trying to decipher the model number only to find that the local drug store didn’t even carry it. (To make life easier, the type of battery you’ll need is stamped on the battery hatch: a standard 377 button cell). Changing your own watch battery is a ceremony that most younger watch enthusiasts haven’t had the opportunity to experience. Maybe now they’ll have something to look forward to when the watch stops ticking.
Model: Q Timex
Reference Number: TW2T80700
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Dial Color: Navy Blue
Lume: Index, HH / MH
Water Resistance: 50M
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless bracelet reverse engineered from the original design
Caliber: PC33 (Seiko)
Functions: Time, Date, Day of week in English or Spanish
Diameter: Outside diameter 22.60mm x 22.00mm x 23.70mm
Thickness: 4.15 mm (including the battery)
Pricing & Availability
Availability: May 16th on Timex.com, select retailers thereafter