Timex has long been the butt of countless jokes. A brand that used to take a licking and keep on ticking has been reduced to bargain bin quartz pieces with a few bright lights like the Ironman series to keep it afloat. Well, Timex has pulled a complete 180 and released a watch that I can honestly say is a step forward for the brand and, dare I say it, everyday horology.
There are three types of people in this world: sports watch lovers, classic watch lovers, and the folks who don’t wear watches at all. The TX line fits quite nicely into all three of those niches. If you like sports watches, the 730 has a compass, chronograph, and second time zone. If you like classic pieces, the styling is reminiscent of a 70s era Breitling with enough attention to detail to stand on its one aesthetic. If you don’t wear a watch, then what are you waiting for?
The 730 is made in Asia using a quartz movement designed in Germany. The concept is very reminiscent of the Tachmeister diver with a set of retrograde hands. There is a hours hand at 11 o’clock and a minutes hand at 4. There is also a main seconds hand and a sub-seconds hand that engages with the chronometer.
When at rest, the watch displays the date at 2 o’clock, the current time, and a second time zone in 24-hour time in the hours register. When the chronograph is active, the secondary hand will sweep around and the subdials register the hours and minutes elapsed, returning to 0 when they hit their limits. When you hit the button at 8 o’clock, the compass starts spinning.
Setting the watch is fairly complex. The date and time are set with the crown pulled to the first and second positions, respectively. However, setting the 24-hour second time zone requires a press of the 2 o’clock pusher in the first position and you can calibrate the secondary seconds hand in second position with the right side buttons. You also have to calibrate the compass, which I didn’t quite understand until I read the manual online.
Aesthetically, this 46mm watch is quite striking. It has luminous, skeletonized hands and hour pips along with an enameled crown. There is a compass bezel and inner markings for the tachometer. Generally, there is very little to show that this is made by the same folks who sell $5 at the local drug store.
The 730 is $549, a pretty penny for an entry-level watch. Is it worth it? Clearly, Timex has done their homework. In terms of performance, the TX 730 is on par with the Tissot T-Touch and many of the beefy sports watches like the Casio Pathfinder series. However, I think the styling and evident build quality place this above the average sports watch and on par with the T-Touch. The entire watch is well-finished and made of polished stainless steel. This model had a leather band, but the line also comes with stainless and PVD-coated bracelets as well.
The watch was extremely readable and all of the features were easy to grasp with a little futzing. The little date window has an elongated font, a nice touch, that makes the numbers get bigger as they approach the edge of the watch. The subdails are bright orange and extremely readable on the black sculpted dial.
Even the presentation is quite impressive. Timex stuffs the watch into two boxes, one standard cardboard one and another leather box with a slide-out panel. You are buying a timepiece, these boxes tell you, not just a watch. Fair enough.
To sum up, Timex has produced a high-end timepiece at a very attractive price.
Kohl’s and JC PennySaks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales will have the TX series in stores this month, just in time for Father’s Day and graduations. In creating this line, Timex has changed their traditional tagline from “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” to “Keep On,” a slogan that applies as much to the watch as to the wearer.
For 150 years, Timex stood for bold design, extreme durability, and great performance. That traditional faltered for a number of years, especially after the quartz crisis of the 1980s. However, the TX series proves they have what it takes to compete with the big boys like Seiko and Citizen.