Meet the Timex Vintage Marlin, the brand’s first mechanical watch in a decade and one of the most proper reissues we’ve seen – as well as one of the cheapest.
By James Buttery
I’m currently wearing a mechanical watch that costs considerably less than a replacement strap for some watch brands but what’s more surprising is that I like it a great deal.
Timex has produced a reissue of its 1960s favourite, the Marlin. It’s not one of those reissues that lumps on a extra few millimetres to the case diameter or adds a date window to make allowances for current tastes. No, this watch is as close to a direct facsimile of the original as I believe it’s possible to achieve.
The case is the same diameter as the original, a diminutive 34mm. Currently we applaud the bravery of modern watchmakers producing 38mm watches for men and consider those wearing 36mm pieces as positively experimental, so a 34mm watch is likely to be divisive, but more on that later.
Aesthetically the single-piece case with push-on caseback is a replica of the Marlin but in terms of materials it’s a solid upgrade, made of polished stainless steel rather the chrome-plated brass that was used in the 60s. It’s finely polished with nice sharp edges, tapered lugs and a bezel and caseback that meet in the middle at a pencil-thin caseband. The crown sits in a little recess at the three o’clock position, preserving the integrity of the watch’s silhouette.
The dial is also a crowd-pleaser, a sunray-brushed affair in silver tone that appears to dip off slightly at its outermost reaches. The combination of sunray brushing and acrylic glassbox plays all sorts of optical havok in an utterly pleasing manner. Colours range from cold silver to warm champagne depending on the light and rays of reflected light dance around the dial as the wrist moves. It all makes for one of those dials you can’t stop looking at.
Indices are a mixture of applied straight batons for the odd hours and arabic numerals – in the original stylised font – for the even hours. The indices are reminiscent of those used on Glashutte Original’s even more ‘far out’ Iconic Sixties watch. Beneath the 6 numeral, in microscopic print, is even the original watch’s designation of 20242465, 2024 being the model, 24 the movement and 65 the year of release. The only thing that’s missing is the Waterproof wording which wouldn’t get past Trading Standards these days.
This being Timex you’d expect the watch to use a quartz movement, after all Timex last released an automatic watch a decade ago with its SL series and hasn’t produced its own manual mechanical watch since 1996. Instead of the hand-wound pin pallet Timex 24 movement found inside the original, Timex has opted for a Chinese-made manual movement, which makes sense when you consider that the Vintage Marlin is being sold for just £175.
But what’s most interesting about the Marlin is not its price but its size. For years now we’ve been wearing and buying 40mm+ watches that dominate our wrists. I’d honestly considered 36mm my personal cut-off point and had glossed over a number of potential vintage purchases online because of it. The Marlin has made me question that. Initially it felt too small but that was because the watch on my wrist before it was a 42mm divers watch. Given a couple of days ‘acclimatisation’ its proportions now feel correct, perhaps opening the door once more on a few of those overlooked vintage pieces.