Although a lot has changed over Timex’s one-and-half-century-long history, its no-fuss approach to watchmaking is just as relevant today as it ever was. In fact, with tech companies trying to overcomplicate our timepieces and luxury brands charging steep prices for something that’s essentially just supposed to tell the time, Timex’s designs are arguably a welcomed respite.
Founded in Connecticut in 1854, Timex and its predecessors have dominated the American market with their reliable, accessible, and democratic timepieces. The heritage brand is responsible for several monumental milestones in watchmaking history, such as manufacturing one of the first widely available wristwatches and inventing the INDIGLO® night-light, which revolutionized how we tell time in the dark. Not only that, but with its range of affordable timepieces, Timex completely transformed what a watch symbolized and made time telling, once a privilege of the few, available to the masses.
Like its audience, Timex’s offering is diverse, spanning from functional military style watches to more sophisticated dress timepieces. The label’s timeless and utilitarian designs have been pivotal in defining the style and aesthetic synonymous with American watchmaking, with models like the military-inspired MK1™ and classic Marlin® now staples among menswear enthusiasts. Fortunately for them, the brand has just refreshed its offering with a brand new automatic version of the Marlin, and fresh colorways of the MK1.
On the dressier end of Timex’s product spectrum sits the Marlin watch. Originally designed in the ‘60s, it was at the center of the brand’s popular “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking” advertising campaign, which saw the timepiece subjected to a series of “torture tests” including being strapped to a boat propeller and submerged under water. It survived and has ever since been renowned for its resilience.
Still sought after today for its snazzy ‘60s aesthetic, Timex reissued the Marlin at the end of last year and has now stepped it up again with an automatic mechanical movement. A modern update to the original reissue of the Marlin, the new edition maintains defining features of the model such as minimal detailing on the face and a premium leather strap, but has been updated with a larger 40-millimeter stainless steel case, an automatic mechanical movement with 21 jewels inserted at friction points for increased accuracy, and an exhibition case back to give you a glimpse into the mechanical workings of the timepiece.
Another of Timex’s many grail-worthy models is the MK1. Originally known as the Mil-Spec W-46374B, this timepiece is the only one in Timex’s long history of producing military watches to be officially contracted by the US government and remains the most iconic today. Manufactured for two brief months in 1982 for the US Marines, it was designed to be disposable, featuring a lightweight body and simple hand-wind movement. It also came with specific instructions on how to dispose of it.
Due to its short production period and disposable instructions, original W-46374Bs are hard to come by and now a grail among collectors. In 2016, Timex reintroduced a contemporary adaptation of the watch with the slightly catchier name “MK1” followed by an upgraded MK1 Aluminum. Like the ‘80s original, this version is lightweight and functional but, unlike its predecessor, it’s built to last with an anodized case made from aluminum. It also features a domed acrylic crystal, comfortable double-layer woven fabric strap, the iconic INDIGLO night-light, and the option of a chronograph function.