In recent years, Timex watches have caught on with young enthusiasts due, in part, to the brand’s relentless collaborating with names like J. Crew, Todd Snyder and Mr Porter. While this collaborative spirit has yielded unique and affordable timepieces — often referencing discontinued models from the Timex archive — their true vintage counterparts are easily found on the secondhand market. What’s more, these vintage watches pack the original mechanical movements Timex was using during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, rather than the quartz alternatives of most modern iterations. For that reason, they might be one of the best avenues for getting into mechanical watch ownership — especially for buyers on a budget.
Timex “Astronomy Dial”
What We Like: Forty bucks. That’s all it takes to acquire a running, vintage mechanical watch with a ton of character. This model features a gold-plated cushion case and a unique dial that displays a set of concentric circles almost reminiscent of some old-timey diagram of the solar system.
From the Seller: “Case is in great condition with just a few minor and light surface scratches to it and some small ware areas. The movement is in working and running condition, unsure of last service, however.”
What We Like: This ’60s icon is the watch that inspired Timex’s now sold-out vintage reissue. The original Marlin is almost identical to that piece — it boasts a hand-winding mechanical movement, a 34mm case and the same dial design — but you can find them online for a fraction of the new watch’s $200 asking price. This particular model is claimed to be recently refurbished by the owner and appears to be in near-mint condition.
From the Seller: “Case cleaned and hand polished, crystal cleaned and hand polished, movement removed, cleaned and lubricated per Timex Service Manual. Dial and Hands lightly cleaned of dirt and dust (patina never removed).”
Timex “Red Ball” Diver
What We Like: This early ’80s diver appears to be the inspiration for J. Crew’s own Timex collaboration, though the original piece here boasts a manual-winding movement in place of the modern watch’s quartz piece. There’s no stated water resistance, but that’s not quite the point here: the real draw is the classic diver look, completed by a legible dial, thick luminous markers and a chunky black bezel.
From the Seller: “Manufactured in 1980 from my personal collection and in phenomenal condition for its age … just professionally serviced the windup movement. Seals have also been cleaned for water resistance.”