Need help with your next watch purchase? You’ve come to the right place. Welcome to The Upgrade, in which we propose more premium versions of popular watch models to help you kick-start your watch collecting.
The Starting Place: The Timex Weekender
The classic Timex Weekender is a great introduction to the world of watches for many people. Widely available and ultra inexpensive, it’s built to be rugged and practical like the basic field watches that have origins in those used by soldiers. It’s versatile, approachable, and has been the beginning of untold numbers of respectable watch collections. They’re also incredibly easy to come by, available in just about every suburban mall in America, and best of all, they’re often less than $50.
Highly legible Arabic hour indices of one to 12, with smaller markings of 13 to 24 for military time on an inner dial track, comprise the defining look of many field watches, including the Weekender. With a simple and sub-40mm case size, the Weekender is an easy-wearing timepiece and one that many people find attractive. It’s available in a range of dial colors, different case sizes, and powered by a simple quartz movement. It’s also got Timex’s fun Indiglo feature that back-lights the entire dial. It’s sort of the perfect first watch.
Timex Weekender Specs
- Case Size: 38mm
- Movement: Quartz
- Date: No Date
- Illumination: Indiglo
- Crystal: Mineral
- Water-Resistance: 30m
- Price: ~$34
There’s a healthy chance that your quartz-powered friend may lead you down the horological rabbit hole into something mechanically powered. This, however, doesn’t mean you have to make the leap from Timex directly to Rolex. Seiko makes a perfectly robust wrist companion for not much more moolah than a Weekender, in fact.
The Upgrade: The Seiko 5
Still comfortably under $100, the equally cult-classic Seiko 5 provides a lot of bang for not a lot of buck. Like the Weekender, the its design is based on the field watch archetype and will provide much of the same satisfaction with its basic, no-frills, military aesthetic. Importantly, however, it features an automatic-winding mechanical movement that’s visible through a display case back.
If you find yourself fascinated by its sweeping seconds hand that powered by the the movement of your wrist as you wear it — well then, congratulations, for you’re well on your way to developing a bona fide watch obsession. (Hopefully, you’re also charmed by mechanical watches’ many foibles.)
Both the Weekender and the Seiko 5 field watch have a similar sizing, traditionally at 38mm and 37mm, respectively (the are myriad other versions offering different sizes, dial designs, and prices). Both are water-resistant to about 30m, which means they are splash- proof but should avoid submersion. However, in place of Timex’s Indiglo, Seiko uses more traditional luminous material for the hands and markers, and its mechanical movement provides that welcome symbiosis that exists between every mechanical watch and its wearer.
Pro Tip: Swap the Seiko 5’s supplied strap for an immediately upgraded experience.
Seiko 5 Specs
- Case Size: 37mm
- Movement: Seiko Automatic
- Date: Day and Date
- Illumination: Luminant
- Crystal: Seiko Hardlex Mineral
- Water-Resistance: 30m
- Price: ~$80+
There’s an upgrade at just about any level of watch, but the Timex-to-Seiko, or more specifically, the Weekender-to-Seiko 5 represents a digestible beginning. Many seasoned “aficionados” will concur, as they may have gotten their start in the same way. So if you find you’ve outgrown the watch that just about every college kid picks up in J. Crew at some point in their collegiate career and you’re ready for the next rung in the ladder, be sure to pick up a Seiko 5 — we’ll bet few have ever been sorry they have.