Timex MK1 Chronograph – $79.99 ($139)
NOTE: Sierra has these for $80 at post time, but in case they run out, you can get one for $110 direct through Timex. The MK1 chrono here is shown on a green aftermarket NATO strap. Lugs are 20mm. You can find a similar strap here.
Around 10-15 years ago, someone in Timex’s design department must have been digging through the company’s archives, a lightbulb went off inside their head, and thus marched straight into a staff meeting shouting: “EUREKA. I’VE GOT IT! Our strategy moving forward? You can’t plagiarize yourself!”
And they’ve been on a run ever since by way of updating some of their timeless designs. The MK1 does just that, once again.
The standard Timex MK1 is a reproduction of a military-issued watch they made a few decades ago, except now they’re quartz and feature indiglo technology. This particular watch is basically Timex’s effort to turn that design into a chronograph. I was drawn to this design because it looks very much like a much more expensive watch from the likes of Tutima, Sinn, or some early Breitlings, and if you shop around, you can snag one of these suckers for less than 100 bucks.
Face & Crystal
As I said above, the watch is based on an older military design, and so what you’re getting is a crisp, supremely readable design with great contrast. I like that I can look down and immediately tell the time, which can be tricky with some of the busier chronographs out there. Even though the watch is equipped with Timex’s excellent indiglo technology, the triangular indicies and the main hands are also coated in a luminous material. While nowhere near a Seiko diver in terms of brightness and longevity, they are sufficient to tell the time in a dark movie theater or lecture hall. The crystal is acrylic, which many people don’t seem to care for, but I quite like. It’s very warm-feeling, and correct for the period Timex was attempting to emulate. I think acrylic gets a bit of a bad name because it scratches incredibly easy, but it’s also shatter resistant and you can remove the scratches by polishing it with toothpaste. I’ve now worn mine for about three months (including on a couple field training events), and with the occasional buffing, mine still looks new.
The case is a black coated stainless steel, with a standard caseback. For some reason they decided to keep the chronograph pushers and crown shiny, but I don’t mind. For your money you get 30 meters of water resistance. While I wouldn’t go scuba diving with it, I’ve worn it in the pouring rain and the shower with no issue. At 42mm wide, it is extremely wearable while still having a very masculine, military presence. Below I’ve included it next to a Bulova Devil Diver and one of the new Seiko 5KX/5 Sports watches. You can see that it fits right in. It stands up to being sandwiched between two robust automatic watches, although the fact that it’s quartz makes it substantially lighter. Some people might love that fact. Some might miss the feel of a bit of weight to their watch.
The Stock Strap (shown only here… shudders)
I could not get the stock strap off this watch fast enough. It’s absolutely heinous. The watch came packaged on what appeared to be an acid washed denim band that just looked and felt awful. I immediately switched it out for an olive green NATO strap, which suits the military character of the watch extremely well. Feel free to use any 20mm strap, as the dull colors of the watch make matching easy.
Would I buy this watch again? Absolutely! The quality is good, the style is great, and the chronograph function is smooth and easy to use. Out of my growing watch collection, this simple Timex still finds regular wear, particularly because my job requires a discreet and dependable watch, which this most certainly is.
About the Author: Zach S. is a United States Marine Corps Officer and Product Photographer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. When he’s not training or doing photography he enjoys reading and writing on a myriad of topics.