Timex is a brand everyone knows because of their digital watches which have been enjoyed by millions thanks to their reliability, simplicity and low cost. The Timex Ironman is a perfect watch for an owner that is not all that concerned with their watch, save for its ability to communicate the time. While they aren’t fancy, they are a known quantity in the market. In this way, the Timex digital watch is to watches what the Toyota Corolla is to cars. They are generally bland and will likely carry out their intended duty in a reliable but fairly soulless manner. With that in mind it may surprise you to find out that Timex still makes some noteworthy watches. Consider, if you will, the Timex Military Classic:
- 45.5 x 12.8 mm
- 52.5 mm l2l
- 22mm lugs
- 3 hand quartz
- PVD stainless steel case
- Mineral crystal
- Indiglo back light
- 100m WR
- MSRP $100
The Military Classic line up extends from Timex’s long standing Expedition range of sporting, outdoorsy type watches that always seemed like they should be sold at the check out counter of an LL Bean. The Military Classic on the other hand is actually a rather cool and surprisingly stylish timepiece that can had on the cheap. The retail price of the Military Classic is $100 USD but its street price is even less, sometimes dipping below $75 brand new. $75 is what you will pay for a new-release video game, its less than the cost of a reasonable dinner for two, it may even be less than than your cell phone bill every month. At this truly bargain basement price – how good can it be?
Build quality is on par with any entry level Seiko or Citizen I have owned to date, with the possible exception of their divers as they include a screw down crown and the Military Classic does not. The Military Classic’s stainless steel case is PVD treated to carry a semi-matte finish and all of its sides carry a knurled finish that is not only reminiscent of military hardware but also makes the watch easier to grip. The lugs are nicely finished and for the price point we would be surprised if anyone is let down by the case design or its simple execution. The case measures a large 45.5 mm wide and a fairly practical 12.8 mm tall. The Military Classic is very wearable thanks to a lug to lug size of 52.5 mm which is fairly small given its large case. If you prefer smaller watches, this may not be the Timex for you it wears larger than even its over sized case would suggest thanks to a very thin bezel design. The case is fitted with a thrifty mineral crystal which is flat and quite clear. The crown at three o’clock carries the Expedition logo and has a three stage design. As this is not a screw down crown the stages are idle, date adjustment, and then time adjustment. The crown action works well and exhibits a much more robust feel than other watches at this price point which tend to wobble a bit when fully extended.
We previewed the Military Classic about a year ago and haven’t forgotten about it as the styling was just right. There are a number of color options and they can be had without a PVD case if that is your preference. We believe this version is the best choice as it features a more stealthy PVD finish as well as a lovely grey/blue dial that makes the red second hand really stand out. The chapter ring carries a minute scale, within that there is a 24 hour scale, then a 12 hr scale, and then a center dial that appears to have a metallic finish. This center dial is what lights up when the crown is pressed in from its idle position and the Indiglo back-lighting is activated. Indiglo is one of Timex’s calling card and is also the reason I bought my first watch when I was six years old. I still remember buying that Ironman specifically because it was the one from the Indiglo ad and I killed the battery in just a few months of use thanks to my fascination with the back-light. 1992 was the first year that Timex offered this revolutionary back-lighting system which replaced having a tiny bulb in the corner of the screen that would unevenly distribute light across the display. Fast forward quite a few years and Timex is still using Indiglo in their current timepieces. The inner dial on the Military Classic lights up to back-light the hands and allow the user to easily read the time (check out the included video for a look at the Indiglo in action). The hour and minute hands are also painted with a luminous paint but it does not glow brightly or for very long.
The overall styling is supposed to be reminiscent of WWII aviation equipment which is fine by us because the Military Classic is one of the very few stylish and cool watches that can be had at an entry level price. A new model will come fitted to a canvas style strap (not the nylon zulu that is shown in the photos). For under $100 the Timex Military Classic looks great, boasts a simple and reliable Timex quartz movement and even has Indiglo. For some it might make for the perfect watch, for others just the perfect beater and we don’t think you can go wrong either way.