My roommate has been on my case for literally years, since before we started living in the same house, to get into watches. “It’s the epitome of human engineering!” he’d say. And yet I’d look at the price tags, and they were more like the epitome of extravagance.
I was more than happy with my $30-something Timex. I still am—it’s gold(-like) and waterproof, and I get compliments on it all the time. But really, it’s always good to have a watch you can wear for those times that you want to look a little more formal, or at least less like you are trying to do a Marty McFly costume.
So, I was happy to hear that the watch brand I trust the most is rereleasing one of their classic 1960s designs, the Timex Marlin Automatic. It’s more elegant than the Timex I wear. More refined. And for the past few weeks, I’ve been testing it out.
The watch is simple and handsome. The leather strap and numberless face have a classic look that makes you feel fancier than you might ever have before when wearing a Timex. The crystal of the watch is domed so that it rises, what looks like, ¼ inch off the face. It’s a simple change, but striking. You don’t get that in a $15 watch, and people notice in the good way. It has the date on the face, which I always want, and it’s easy to adjust.
The real good news though, is that it is an automatic movement, which means you never have to charge the watch. It charges itself on your wrist as you walk and go about your day. If you’re curious how it works, just flip it over. Through the glass back you can see the oscillating weight (think half circle of metal that spins) go round with the smallest movement. This motion turns the mainspring shaft (that drives the watch’s hands and timekeeping mechanisms) to give the watch its charge—like you would if you had a watch that needed to be wound by hand. As it spins, you can peer past and see other mechanisms clicking, ticking, and spinning inside. I have the watch off a few times a day just to look through the back.
Watch people also notice the Marlin. I had a gentleman I was working with stop me and ask about it. He’d owned a few Rolexes but commented that he liked mine. When I told him it was a Timex he liked it more: “The Rolex always breaks down, but my Timex is always going,” he said.
It is in the automatic mechanism that you can hear the low price point. It took me a bit to realize that the soft metal-on-metal sound I was hearing as I walked around was actually the spinning of the oscillating weight. It is relatively easy to get over though, quieter than a clock’s ticking.
The domed glass surface that I love so much also means this is not a daily wear. If you’re turning wrenches or working in the house, even prone, like me, to brush your arms against walls, you’re going to have to start to be a lot more careful. A light brush against a brick interior wall left the crystal scuffed, and I had to flick some paint off after I brushed some drywall. And, as with all automatic watches, if you don’t wear it, it will die. So be ready to set the time again after a few weeks on the bureau.
The Marlin is a beautiful watch, one that I notice wearing. It fits well on the wrist, is easy to read, and, for the price point, can’t be beat if you’ve been wanting an automatic watch. If you’re looking for a gift, this would be perfect, and since it just came out, it’s unlikely you’ll bump into anybody wearing the same one. It might be a while before I can afford my next, but my roommate, with help from the Marlin, was right. I’m into watches.