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Timex M79 Automatic Watch - Retro Looks, Budget Price

18th February 2020

Get ready for another well-priced watch that Timex will not be able to keep in stock. Riding on the success of the Q Timex watches, the Timex M79 Automatic ref. TW2U29500 takes the popular retro sports watch case and the dial of the retro-redo quartz watch, and makes something new that includes a mechanical movement. Did you catch that irony? A new mechanical watch design, based on a vintage quartz watch. The times we live in…

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Price is also a factor that Timex can boast about. While not the cheapest mechanical watch around, for the money there is a huge appeal in this under $300 drive-style watch that imagines itself as the Rolex GMT-Master II Batman of yesterday (not that there was one). The Timex M79 Automatic is a product borne of today’s watch collector culture, for today’s watch collector culture. The combination of features in this timepiece is like an assortment of timepiece enthusiast memes on social media. Vintage dive-style watch? Check. Inexpensive mechanical automatic? Check. Rolex inspired looks? Double-check. Steel case with integrated lugs and tapering bracelet? Check. 

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

While the Q Timex case was 38mm-wide, the M79 Automatic goes up to a slightly more today-appropriate 40mm-wide in steel. The case design still looks great and, to be honest, with the thickness of the movement there is no way anyone would have wanted this watch to be narrower, else it look disproportionate.

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Love it or hate it, over the dial is an acrylic crystal — which adds to the vintage aesthetic (even though Timex is very clear the M79 Automatic is an original, modern design). The case has just 50 meters of water resistant, but no one was really confusing this for a serious diver’s watch. For daily wear and durability, 50 meters is just fine.

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

The dial design is attractive with good use of colors and textures. The Timex “T” that sits in the hour hand reminds you that Rolex hands are meaningfully distinct. The calendar windows even use matching black discs rather than harshly contrasting white ones. This is a really nice touch at this price point. I would, however, have liked to see the M79 automatic reference TW2U29500 pair a blue-colored (even a lighter shade of blue) seconds hand (versus red) given the blue and black colors on the unidirectional rotating bezel (aluminum bezel insert). With the red hand, I can’t help but feel that Timex unnecessarily added a color to the mix. Watches can struggle when they try to make use of more than three colors on the dial. That said, the four-color design on the M79 Automatic does offer a pleasant sportiness to it which I think enough people will enjoy.