Timex Continues to Emulate Rolex, Now With an Automatic Movement

We asked Design Director Giorgio Galli about the brand’s vintage streak

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Batman Bezel
Is that a Rolex Batman bezel? No, it's the new Timex M79 Automatic.

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A strange thing happened to me this summer. I was at a hip coffee shop sitting near the counter minding my own business when a voice said, “Is that the Q Timex?” 

I was resting my hand on my chin and my wrist was exposed, showing a ‘70s Pepsi-esque watch Timex had recently reissued, and an older gentleman spotted it from the coffee line. He asked if he could take a look, while wearing a timepiece at least 10 times as expensive, and handed it back saying he wished he would have bought one before it sold out.

You know what that means? Timex is back, baby. Sure, they’ve always made affordable watches with designs any man would feel great wearing (their Todd Snyder collaborations come to mind), but now watch people are taking notice, and that’s a sign of something different — they’re making enviable watches again.

The latest in the company’s winning streak is the M79, which was released on Wednesday. Like the first Q Timex and its sibling the Falcon Eye, it’s explicitly drawing from their ‘70s archive (and is also likely to sell out quickly). Also like the former, it’s emulating Rolex. Here, instead of the red and blue “Pepsi” bezel, it’s riffing on the less iconic but no less coveted black and blue “Batman” bezel. 

The biggest change, however, is that instead of the quartz movement of those two Q Timex models, the M79 adds a more refined 21-jewel automatic movement. There aren’t any complications to write home about, but if you weren’t convinced enough by the previous designs to buy a quartz watch, this should do the trick.

“Vintage-style watches often come with a hefty price tag, requiring a significant portion of customers to choose between reliability, style, and price,” Giorgio Galli, design director at Timex Group, told InsideHook. “Our vintage reissues … relieve consumers of having to choose between one or the other.”

Of course, if you pay even the slightest attention to watch trends — even if that means just following one watch Instagrammer — you probably know mechanical movements and classic bezels are certainly in style right now, so is Timex simply following a trend that’ll eventually fall out of favor? Is this just empty nostalgia? 

“The key undercurrent stemming from all vintage collections released today is nostalgia, harkening back to the foundational designs of its forebears,” said Galli. “We find inspiration in nostalgia … [but] Timex relies on its rich history, over 165 years of experience perfecting timepieces.”

It’s hard to discount 166 years of watchmaking, as you’ll see when you clasp on the M79 (that is, if you can snag one before this one sells out, too).

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